Aramis Ramirez Rumors
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.
Earlier tonight, Francisco Rodriguez accepted arbitration from the Brewers, making him one of three free agents to do so (David Ortiz and Kelly Johnson being the others). Rodriguez now stands to earn approximately $13MM via salary arbitration, a decision which isn't without impact on the dealings of his team.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that GM Doug Melvin says the club did not make a miscalculation in offering Rodriguez arbitration. According to Melvin, he and owner Mark Attanasio were prepared for the possibility that he would accept the offer and considered it a "no-lose situation."
Melvin confirmed that the Brewers had a potential deal with LaTroy Hawkins agreed upon, but that Hawkins signed with the Angels for one year and $3MM rather than waiting for Rodriguez's decision, a move which Melvin "didn't blame him" for. According to Melvin, his offer to Hawkins was worth less than the $3MM that Hawkins signed for.
Beyond that, Melvin added that the Brewers are likely withdrawing their pursuit of Takashi Saito "for now," and that it's "possible" that this will have an impact on the club's ability to pursue Aramis Ramirez, for whom they were a reported favorite.
Haudricourt also points out (via Twitter) the irony of the fact that the decision of Rodriguez, a Scott Boras client, essentially further guarantees that the club cannot afford a reunion with Prince Fielder.
37 free agents were offered arbitration in November, but Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes, Matt Capps, Bruce Chen, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Mark Ellis, Frank Francisco, Freddy Garcia, Aaron Harang, Ramon Hernandez, Jose Molina, Jon Rauch, and Mark Buehrle have already reached agreements. The deadline is tonight at 11pm central time. For MLBTR's handy chart that can be filtered by team, type, and whether the player was offered and/or accepted, click here.
- Based on Heyman's tweet indicating only three players accepted arbitration, we can deduce that Prince Fielder (A), Albert Pujols (A), Jimmy Rollins (A), C.J. Wilson (A), Francisco Cordero (B), Octavio Dotel (B), Raul Ibanez (B), Edwin Jackson (B), and Darren Oliver (B) declined their respective teams' offers.
- Derrek Lee (B) has turned down the Pirates' offer, tweets MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
- Kelly Johnson (A) has accepted the Blue Jays' offer, tweets Jon Heyman.
- Michael Cuddyer (A) and Jason Kubel (B) have declined the Twins' offers, tweets Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
- Francisco Rodriguez (A) has accepted the Brewers' offer, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Ryan Madson (A) will decline the Phillies' offer, tweets Jon Heyman.
- David Ortiz (A) will accept Boston's offer, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston confirms that Ortiz has officially accepted (Twitter link).
- Aramis Ramirez (B) officially declined the Cubs' offer, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Josh Willingham (A) will decline Oakland's offer, MLBTR has learned. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Willingham has officially declined.
- Dan Wheeler (B) will decline Boston's offer of arbitration, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Cherington confirmed the decision to reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
- Carlos Pena (B) has decided not to accept the Cubs' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Cubs president Theo Epstein recently told reporters he did not expect Pena to accept, as he's likely to find a multiyear deal on the open market.
Here are today's Aramis Ramirez rumors, with the newest updates on top:
- The Angels' early offers to Ramirez have been "on the low side," tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, who wonders if that signals a lack of money or interest focused elsewhere.
- Jon Heyman of MLB Network says the Brewers have been the most aggressive suitor for Ramirez. Meanwhile, the Phillies' interest appears to be fading, but the Angels are still involved, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to Ramirez's agent, Paul Kinzer, who said he considers the Brewers a "favorite" to sign his client. There are three teams with serious interest, according to Kinzer, so presumably the Brewers and Phillies are two of the three.
- The Brewers haven't made Ramirez an official offer yet, but the third baseman is definitely interested in Milwaukee, says Kinzer: "He likes that team. He wants to go to a team that has pitching and gives him a chance to win a ring. He thinks the Brewers can do that."
This would seem to indicate optimism about re-signing Jimmy Rollins, as we heard earlier that the Phillies would be interested in trading Polanco and acquiring Ramirez if they were unable to bring back Rollins. However, Rosenthal says this decision is unrelated to the club's negotiations with their longtime shortstop.
The Angels and Brewers are among the teams still in on Ramirez, tweets Rosenthal.
TUESDAY, 2:19pm: Phillies advisor Pat Gillick met with Ramirez last month in the Dominican Republic, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Gillick also scouted Yoenis Cespedes on the trip, though the Phillies are unlikely to bid.
MONDAY, 9:32am: The Phillies are strong players for free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, tweets Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki confirmed the interest, and guesses Ramirez is a backup plan for Jimmy Rollins.
A week ago, Ramirez's agent Paul Kinzer named the Angels as one of four or five teams with serious interest in his client, and an offer from the Halos seems likely after Ramirez visited the club. The Brewers are also in the mix. Kinzer said in November that Ramirez seeks a four-year deal or three-year contract with an option.
The Phillies have third baseman Placido Polanco under contract for 2012, though the 36-year-old had double hernia surgery in October.