Make Or Break Year: Aramis Ramirez

484083020100846A_Pirates_at_Cubs Despite posting outstanding numbers at the hot corner for one of baseball's best-known franchises, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez always seemed to fly a little bit under the radar. Indeed, in a six-year span from 2004-09, Ramirez posted a studly triple-slash line of .303/.368/.551, but he never finished inside the top 10 of NL MVP voting. Durability was a bit of a concern during that time, as he averaged 131 games per season, but his injuries were typically of the nagging variety rather than debilitating.

In 2009, though, Ramirez suffered a dislocated shoulder midseason, missing most of May and all of June that year, but he returned in the second half and posted his usually solid offensive numbers. It all pointed toward Ramirez being his usual self in 2010, but it didn't happen that way.

A-Ram got off to a positively miserable start in April and May 2010, posting a .162/.227/.269 through those two months, and though he rebounded from there — going white-hot during July, in particular — his numbers at season's end still weren't pretty at .241/.294/.452, let alone up to his usually excellent career averages of .282/.340/.499.

Was it age catching up to the 32-year-old slugger? Injuries? A combination?

On the plus side for A-Ram, he bounced back markedly from his horrid April and May in 2010. On the down side, though, he is another year older, and he doesn't necessarily look like the most limber of athletes.

How Ramirez will contine to age is anyone's guess, but 2011 could go a long way toward projecting how he'll finish out his career. It's the last year of a five-year extension he signed with the Cubs prior to 2007, and it includes a $16MM club option for 2012 with a $2MM buyout.

Ramirez probably doesn't have much room for decline this season with respect to the chances of the Cubs picking up that pricey option, as it'd be hard to justify paying a third baseman that much money after two down years as he heads into his age-34 campaign. On the flip side, if he returns to his old form in 2011, the option could very well be exercised, and he'll again be facing a Make or Break Year in 2012.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

35 Responses to Make Or Break Year: Aramis Ramirez Leave a Reply

  1. Giorgi Almonte 4 years ago

    if he stay healthy, this will be a mvp season for him, i know!!

    • jwsox 4 years ago

      im pretty sure at the very least tulo, cargo, votto and albert will have something to say about that. and you cant win the MVP one offense alone, you have to throw defense into the equation which aram has never even been close to good at

      • Giorgi Almonte 4 years ago

        he has a pretty good def!, so why not, and MVP season, doesnt mean you’re gonna win it…ask bautista, albert, ortiz, ect….

    • bjsguess 4 years ago

      This is a joke, right?

    • Wrek305 4 years ago

      Pujols will be MVP again for the should be 7th time.. he was screwed over by Joey Votto..who BTW lead in only ONE major Statical category.. which i believe it was BA but yet Pujols led every single other one and he was snubbed, the reason being the Reds made the playoffs..
      And Ramirez has been washed up for two years. He’ll thankfully be gone in July when the season is over in May

  2. gcheezpuff 4 years ago

    If he has a bounce back year, my guess is they extend him 3 years at like $12mil per year and throw out the option and buyout. The FA market for 3rd base sucks in 2012 and the cubs don’t have a replacement (vitters isn’t ready) ARAM has shown no interest in wanting to leave so I could see him being happy finishing as a cub. Hopefully he won’t be greedy and test the market if the cubs offer. I’m not holding my breath for the poophole coming to the cubs and would rather see them spend the money on multiple players. Let’s hope the cards trade him out of the division.

    • Redbirds16 4 years ago

      “Hopefully he won’t be greedy and test the market if the cubs offer.”

      You better not….!!

      “I’m not holding my breath for the poophole coming to the cubs and would rather see them spend the money on multiple players…”

      Ah well, okay then. Good point.

      I have been silenced by a Cubs fan with sound reasoning! Who knew such a thing was possible… 😛

    • This is going to be a make or break year for josh vitters….except in the minor leagues

    • If the Cubs have a chance to take Pujols, you take Pujols. Period.

  3. first off, not a make or break year… he has made nearly 80 mil in his career and i think if he doesn’t want to play anymore he can afford it.
    Second, cubs will not extend him. This is his last year. He is a great player and part of the reason the cubs had a good run at the division since they got him in 2003, but he represents a cubs tradition of blown Post Season chances…
    Like Lee, he is done regardless of what he does this year.
    Josh Vitters is the cubs long term plan at 3B
    if Ramirez will waive his No trade clause, expect the cubs to move him midseason and bring up Vitters if he does well this year in the minors

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      I agree. It’s definately not a make or break year for him. He’s been one of the most consistent hitters over the last 6-7 seasons. He had one bad year.

    • Ricky Bones 4 years ago

      He’s fairly untradeable b/c if traded the 2012 option becomes guaranteed.

    • gcheezpuff 4 years ago

      If he bounces back I don’t see why the cubs wouldn’t attempt to keep him… Vitters has been talked about for years but he is advancing slower then expected and there is a lot of criticism of his ability at the hot corner and many project him as a left fielder. ARAM is the best of the 2012 FA class at 3rd and the cubs are at an advantage and should lock him up another 3 years. Why let the best 3rd base option walk when you have no other option in house? Who plays 3rd in 2012 jeff baker… I don’t think so. Unless the Cubs trade for m young they need to retain ARAM.

  4. ARam has always been steady with the bat, not spectacular due to his lower than desired .obp, but he gets the job done well, at All-Star levels. Injuries have limited him somewhat as well as sometimes shoddy defense though his bat clearly makes up for those deficiencies. While he’s not a HOF caliber player and he is slipping down the wrong side of his 30’s he can still hit and play 3b respectably. He’ll be worth his contract in 2011 as long as he’s on the field and if he does well he would probably be worth having his option picked up. It would’t be the worst thing in the world having him around another two years. I hope he stays healthy and happy and productive for the rest of his career as a Cub. We shall see what he has in store. Good luck ARam.

  5. Bob George 4 years ago

    ARam struggled with a thumb injury last year.

    • jayrig5 4 years ago

      Yeah, he was hurt. And his injury the year before was a freak thing, laying out for a great catch at third, he couldn’t protect himself, and he separated the shoulder. I actually think he’ll be back as well, if he has a career average year. I guess if he blows up and has a monster season, he may decide to test the thin free-agent market next year.

      He has been really good this decade, one of the better 3B of the past ten years.

  6. Victor Kipp 4 years ago

    Other than the last 2 years he’s been very consistent. He started out horrible last year but ended up having a decent season on a bad team. Sure he makes way too much money. but I don’t see this as a make or break year. Because honestly, he’s made his money and has had a very good career. He’ll probably be looking at a move to an American League team in the next year or 2 where he can DH or perhaps a move to 1B. Aramis has had a very nice career and honestly the Cubs don’t have too much else to hang their hats on so…who cares? Let’s see the Cubs get to a World Series. As a Red Sox fan I really hope they do, as a baseball fan for life, I need them to.

  7. He’ll bounce back, but he’s started the slow decline phase of his career. I expect him to put up above average but no longer all-star level stats and miss a few too many games.

    Josh Vitters looks like he’s at least two years away from making an impact, so it leaves the Cubs in a bit of a tricky situation after this season. Maybe something will develop out of the draft or a possible Fukudome trade.

  8. He’s done. The increase in walks in 08 doesn’t indicate improved plate discipline. It meant he couldn’t pull the trigger anymore. And the word finally got around last season.

  9. jwsox 4 years ago

    once the 6 day after the world series passes if albert is for sure a free agent the cubs will buy aram out right away…If they feel they have a chance to sign albert they will for a fact buy Aram out they will need every penny they can get to get him. I would say if albert does extend with the cards after the season they pick up the option on Aram if albert is a FA and they think they have a shot they buy him out….

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Kinda what I figured as well. If Pujols hits the open market then I fully expect to see the Cubs making a massive offer and they’ll need to cut a few costs.

      • ubercubsfan 4 years ago

        Pena’s(10MM), Fukudome(14.5MM), Gabrow(4.8MM), Silva(9.25MM net), Ramirez(12.6MM) netting 51.15 off the payroll. I can see the Cubs extending Ramirez at 30-36MM/3 years while still leaving 40+ to give to Pujols and arbitration. Cotts has Cubs payroll for opening day 2012 at 62.5MM before this off seasons transactions.

        • bjsguess 4 years ago

          He’ll be an Angel :). Money coming off the books after this season …

          — GMJ – $11m
          — Kazmir – $12m
          — Abreu – $9m
          — Pineiro – $8m
          — Rodney – $6m

          That’s $46m and change for the Halos. I don’t think Pujols will land in LA. I only bring this up because there are plenty of clubs that have $30m+ coming off the books after this off-season. Money for one season isn’t really the issue. It’s whether a club has an appetite to take on a $30m commitment for the next 8 to 10 years. In that case, I don’t see many suitors.

  10. Leonard Washington 4 years ago

    I think a fresh healthy season will do him wonders.

  11. eg159 4 years ago

    If he really is “32,” he is an old “32.”

    First, I always wondered why ARAM flew underneath the PED radar. No direct connections, but lots of whispers from those who follow the Cubs closely. Something that the Cubs fans do not want to hear or accept.

    Secondly, for a guy with multiple shoulder dislocations, it is only a matter of time before it pops out again. According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, after the first dislocation, the athlete is at an 80% chance of re-dislocation. That number only goes up after each subsequent dislocation.

    For an older guy who swings so violently, it probably is not a goo thing to have to worry about / guard against his shoulder popping out.

    With all that said…. no extension!!! The Cubs are finally overcoming their bad money. Why would they fall into the same trap again?

    • cachhubguy 4 years ago

      I hate cowardly accusations. “lots of whispers from those who follow the Cubs closely”. Give me a friggin break. Either you have reliable sources or you don’t. So who are they. Come on, I’ll accept it. Give me one name of a person close to the Cubs that has “whispered” this. Unbelievable.

      • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        A homeless guy who got a quarter from the guy who delivers pizza to the cousin of the sister of a secretary with the Cubs?

      • eg159 4 years ago

        Cachhubguy, please take off the Cubbie blinders and look at his numbers before and after those magical 5 years

        1998 – 2003 averaged 15 HR and an AVG of 263
        2004 – 2008 averaged 32 HR and an AVG of 302
        2009 – 2010 averaged 20 HR and an AVG of 271

        Initial reaction will claim injury, but dig deeper. All of his peripheral stats support the same general trend.

        So if you don’t buy the PED excuse, then you HAVE to agree he is past his prime. It has to be one of two. I’ll let you pick

    • gcheezpuff 4 years ago

      I understand the future risk, but I hope you are not implying ARAM was ever “bad money”. ARAM has been awesome for the Cubs. On a side note, I much rather see them extend ARAM for another 3 years then offer Poophole 7 or 8 at “bad money”!!!! If the cubs had an inhouse replacement or the FA market looked better, I’d let him walk, but there just does not appear to be a better option at 3rd right now…. maybe a trade will present itself?

      • eg159 4 years ago

        No, ARAM has not been bad money, however extending an aging, injury risked, slugger who has questionable motivation would qualify as bad money.

        Who ever signs Albert does so with the understanding they are going to be paying him the first few years of the contract and then GREATLY overpaying him for the remaining years. Not a bad deal if he helps the team win it all, but the “Soriano” handcuff for the team if they don’t

  12. daveineg 4 years ago

    Sorry Cub fans, but it’s the middle of your order in comparison to the Brewers, Cards, and Reds that is your downfall. To expect soon to be 33 year old Ramirez, 35 year old Soriano, and 33 year old Marlon Byrd to outproduce guys like Braun, Fielder, McGehee, Hart (all in their prime) not to mention Pujols and Holliday from the Cards, and Votto and any number of guys on the Reds is a pipedream

    • Yeah, we’re quite aware of this. But thanks for the insightful analysis. Maybe you could share your thoughts on the Phillies rotation, or whether the Red Sox will be playoff contenders.

      • chicagocubs87 4 years ago

        hahahaha. plus one for Wash. FYI daveineg. Most Cubs fans arent as delusional as you think. Most of us know what problems our team has. But thanks for the heads up boss. And it doesnt matter anyways, Cards, Brewers, and Reds didnt fair to well last year either. The NL central is just a rotator for these 4 teams who make the playoffs and get sweeped the first round

  13. Smileybush 4 years ago

    I think Siesta is past his prime, and his shoulder injury will be an issue the rest of his career. He has never been one to take exceptional care of himself so I think you have be on more pessimistic than optimistic that injuries will continue to plague him. But what else can the Cubs do? They have no one to hit in the middle of the line up. If they seriously want to make a run at Pujols (and I think they do), they have to have some sort of team that Albert would want to play with (it is not all about money for him). Does anyone think that Albert would come to Wrigley when the hitters surrounding him in the lineup are Marlon Byrd, Sorryano and Colvin? Siesta has proven that he is comfortable in Wrigley (no pressure being a lovable loser) and Tommy Boy Hendry has always been loyal (to a fault) with his players. So I see some sort of deal getting done that will keep Siesta with the Cubs. Of course he has made plenty of money throughout his career and could easily retire to his cock fighting.

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