Aramis Ramirez Rumors
Scouts will be watching Brewers ace Zack Greinke very closely tonight as he makes his first start since July 13. The right-hander was given 10 days' rest in an effort to see him "recharge his batteries," as Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin phrased it. We'll keep tabs on Greinke rumors in this post, with the latest going up top.
- The Brewers' ideal scenario is to trade third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Dodgers in exchange for pitching prospect Zach Lee and then deal Greinke to the Rangers for third base prospect Mike Olt, reports Jim Bowden of SiriusXM ESPN radio (via Twitter). Bowden adds that such a sequence of moves is unlikely, however.
- The teams that are known to have interest in Greinke, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, are: the Rangers, Orioles, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Dodgers.
The Athletics, suddenly in contention with a 46-43 record, are one of the few contenders with potential surplus pitching, Yahoo’s Tim Brown writes. They could use production from the left side of their infield and appear to be interested in trading for upgrades. Here’s the latest from Brown, starting in Oakland...
- The A’s would likely trade 39-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon if they deal a starter, Brown writes. However, Ken Rosenthal reported today that a deal involving Colon is highly unlikely.
- Assistant GM David Forst said the A’s aren’t looking to sacrifice a lot in mid-season trades. "We're listening. But we're not looking to significantly change the composition of this team," Forst told Brown.
- The Dodgers have found trade discussions slow as they look to add starting pitching and corner infield help.
- The Brewers appear to be seeking Major League pitching for Aramis Ramirez, Brown writes. Brown reported last week that the Dodgers are eyeing the veteran third baseman.
- The White Sox, Angels, Rangers, Braves, Orioles, Red Sox, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Cardinals and Tigers are among the teams that are currently seeking starting pitching, Brown writes.
The Dodgers have identified Aramis Ramirez as a potential trade target in case the Brewers decide to trade veteran players this summer, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). However, the Dodgers prefer Chase Headley of the Padres.
Ramirez signed a three-year, $36MM contract with Milwaukee last offseason. The 34-year-old has ten home runs and a .272/.346/.475 batting line through 338 plate appearances so far in 2012. The 40-45 Brewers aim to establish themselves as contenders after the All-Star beak, when they play the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds.
Headley, 28, has a .267/.368/.413 batting line in 370 plate appearances for the Padres. He earns $3.48MM this year and will remain under team control through 2014. The 34-53 Padres figure to be sellers this summer, though they may hesitate to deal within the NL West.
Los Angeles has a clear need at the hot corner; Dodgers third basemen rank 26th in MLB with a combined .631 OPS. Manager Don Mattingly was relying on a combination of Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy and Luis Cruz at the position leading up to the All-Star break.
A few items on the Cubs and Cardinals..
- The Cardinals control Adam Wainwright for the next two seasons for $21MM but the hurler could be up next for a long-term deal with the team once he shows that he's recovered from Tommy John surgery, writes Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While the 30-year-old won’t be immune to future injuries, Gordon writes that his work ethic offers some promise of success as he gets older.
- Former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez defended the job that Jim Hendry did in Chicago, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. While recognizing Theo Epstein's past success, Ramirez says that it'll take time for the President of Baseball Operations to find success.
- Ramirez also touched on Carlos Zambrano's issues in Chicago and says that his ex-teammate hurt the club with his suspensions, Wittenmyer writes.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com credits the Cardinals for making smart decisions in the months following Albert Pujols' departure.
- The chances of Jimmy Rollins signing with the Tigers seem incredibly thin, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- GM Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers had "minimal" discussions with Aramis Ramirez’s representatives, Chris Iott MLive.com reports. The Tigers did not make the third baseman a formal offer before the Brewers signed him.
- Athletics closer Andrew Bailey admits that he doesn't know where he'll be pitching next year, but the trade candidate sounds prepared for the possibility that he'll be dealt before Opening Day, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Bailey grew up on the East Coast and says he has an understanding of what it would be like to pitch for a team like the Red Sox.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he's moving forward under the assumption that Ryan Braun will be in the lineup next year, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The Brewers are doing "business as normal," though Braun tested positive for a banned substance and faces a possible 50-game suspension.
The Brewers have secured a much-needed power bat, as they've announced a three-year deal with third baseman Aramis Ramirez. The $36MM contract includes a mutual option for 2015. With first baseman Prince Fielder expected to leave via free agency and MVP Ryan Braun facing a potential 50-game suspension for a banned substance, the Brewers were motivated to add a middle-of-the-order hitter. Ramirez is represented by Paul Kinzer of Wasserman Media Group.
Ramirez, 33, bounced back to hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 home runs in 626 plate appearances for the Cubs in 2011. Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry stole Ramirez from the Pirates in a 2003 trade, and the right-handed slugger solidified the position for Chicago by hitting .294/.356/.531 with 239 home runs over eight-plus seasons. His defense is below-average, based on UZR. Aramis, MLBTR's eighth-ranked free agent, finished a five-year, $75MM deal when he declined his side of a mutual option in October. The Cubs will receive a supplemental draft pick for their loss.
After Francisco Rodriguez accepted arbitration from the Brewers last week, it wasn't clear whether the Brewers would still be in the mix for another expensive player like Ramirez. The Brewers have revamped the left side of their infield, announcing a deal with shortstop Alex Gonzalez Monday.
Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago first reported the agreement, with Ken Rosenthal adding details. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
The Brewers grabbed headlines on the trade and free agent market yesterday. Here’s more news from Milwaukee...
- Before signing Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers pursued Jimmy Rollins and told agent Dan Lozano that they'd be willing to offer a four-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. "We can’t and sit and wait like other clubs," GM Doug Melvin told Rosenthal.
- Ramirez will earn just $6MM in 2012, according to Rosenthal. He'll earn $10MM in 2013 and $16MM in 2014 with a $4MM buyout on a mutual option for 2015, Rosenthal reports. The 2014 salary includes $6MM in deferred money.
- Melvin explained to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that a small market team such as Milwaukee doesn’t generally sign top free agents such as Prince Fielder (Twitter link). "We have to face the reality of the smallest market and the best young player in free agency and how does it work," the GM said.
- The Boras Corporation put together a 73-page binder detailing Fielder's accomplishments and ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explains how it ended up in the slugger's 'man cave' beside his Sliver Slugger awards. One unnamed GM admits to looking forward to annual books on Boras clients: "I think they're a curiosity," the GM said. "It's kind of like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar," the GM told Crasnick. "You look forward to it coming out each year. But you're not really going to do anything about it."
GM Doug Melvin confirmed this evening that the Brewers won’t bid on free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Here are more details on the Brewers, who agreed to terms with Aramis Ramirez and obtained Jose Veras for Casey McGehee today...
- The Brewers have already committed more than expected to the 2012 payroll, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). "We've stretched it well beyond where we wanted to go," Melvin said.
- The Brewers will proceed with Mat Gamel at first base and they also intend to give infield prospect Taylor Green a chance to make a contribution in the Major Leagues in 2012, Haudricourt reports (Twitter links). The Brewers won’t sign a prominent free agent first baseman this offseason.
- Melvin declined to comment on the possibility that Ryan Braun will miss 50 games in 2012, Haudricourt notes. The 2011 NL MVP tested positive for a banned substance and may face a lengthy suspension.
- Ramirez is a reasonable solution for the Brewers, but they'll likely need more to repeat as division champions in 2012, ESPN.com's Keith Law writes.
Newsday's Ken Davidoff shares his winners and losers of the Winter Meetings, with a twist -- he includes winners with downside and losers with upside. The Cardinals top the latter list, as Davidoff notes that losing Albert Pujols means they're "liberated of an albatross contract." Here are a few more Sunday morning NL Central links:
- The Brewers are still talking to Aramis Ramirez, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The Brewers appeared to be favorites for Ramirez, with the Phillies' interest fading and the Angels having spent their money elsewhere. However, Francisco Rodriguez's acceptance of arbitration may impact Milwaukee's pursuit of the third baseman.
- In light of Ryan Braun's positive PED test, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains why MLB will never be as clean as the league would like.
- There's a lot at stake for Braun, the Brewers, and the league, says Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who received a text message from Braun saying the positive test was "B.S."
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recognizes the Marlins' strategy of significantly boosting payroll as they begin playing in a new stadium. As Biertempfel writes, the Pirates tried the same thing when they moved into PNC Park ten years ago, albeit with less impressive signings.
The Brewers are on the hook for a likely salary in excess of $11.5MM for reliever Francisco Rodriguez next year, after K-Rod accepted their arbitration offer. The latest on the team after GM Doug Melvin met with reporters:
- Melvin said he doesn't have to trade Rodriguez to clear payroll space, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Brewers feel good about the back end of the bullpen now, and Melvin noted that Rodriguez's added cost should be considered less the $3MM he would have had to spend to sign two compensatory draft picks. That estimate doesn't hold water if you assume the Brewers would have received, say, the Padres' second-round pick plus a supplemental choice. Slot for two picks of that nature would probably total $1.25MM.
- Asked about Aramis Ramirez, Melvin said, "Anybody that's still a free agent is a possibility."
- Melvin hopes to zero in on a shortstop early next week. Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, and Rafael Furcal are the candidates, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Melvin gave some parameters to Takashi Saito's agent Nez Balelo, which didn't change post K-Rod. It's not an official offer, but Melvin expects Balelo to try to get more from another team. Six to eight teams have shown interest in Saito, Balelo told WEEI's Alex Speier yesterday.