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Aramis Ramirez Signs with Milwaukee
With the fate of Ryan Braun's drug test results in limbo the Milwaukee Brewers made a move that's apparently been in the works for weeks. Unable to make it official due to a pending physical examination, the Brewers have signed longtime Chicago Cub Aramis Ramirez to a 3 year deal reportedly worth 34 - 37 million dollars.
Back in the late 1990s this would have been a huge, blockbuster move for the small market Brewers. Today, its just the norm for GM Doug Melvin to keep his team atop the NL Central.
Ramirez hit 26 HRs, drove in a team high 93 RBIs and batted .306 for a Cubs team that just couldn't get it going last season. Not a bad stat line for someone that had virtually no protection around him in the batting order(Carlos Pena hit .225 behind him). He also led the team in slugging percentage and on base percentage, which will be key to this lineup hitting behind Braun and in front of 2B Rickie Weeks. He won't replace the production that Fielder brought to the table, but its not a bad start.
The team also sent 3B Casey McGehee to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for RP Jose Veras. Melvin addressed three needs to his ball club this week. Earlier in the week, the Brewers signed veteran SS Alex Gonzalez to replace the departure of Yuniesky Betancourt. Then Melvin signs Ramirez for some much needed power production to compensate for the loss of Fielder and trades for some bullpen help by getting Veras for McGehee.
You have to hand it to Melvin for continuing to use his creative juices on moves like these. McGehee was arbitration eligible this year and was due a significant pay raise. Milwaukee was going to sign another reliever, it was only a matter of time. So, with this move, Melvin "dumps" a bit of salary by trading McGehee and gains a RP in return without having to go "shopping" for one. Not a bad days work for a GM that has to be nervous about the impending "Braun Doping-Scandal".
This also opens the door for Mat Gamel to be an everyday player. In the end of the year press conference Melvin more than hinted that they were going to give Gamel an opportunity to play 1B. With the trade of McGehee, Gamel's chance has been cemented. Taylor Green should also get a shot at 1B and probably to be an all around utility player as well.
We're going to have to wait a few weeks for any sort of new development in the Braun controversy, but its looking as if the heart of the Brewers' lineup will be drastically different to open the 2012 season. Apart from Weeks at 2B, the whole infield has been totally revamped since the last game almost 2 months ago.
Here's a look at the batting order with Braun in the lineup.
Projected 2012 Batting Order
1. Corey Hart RF
2. Nyjer Morgan CF
3. Ryan Braun LF (Possibly after a 50 game suspension)
4. Aramis Ramirez 3B
5. Rickie Weeks 2B
6. Mat Gamel 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez SS
8. Jonathan Lucroy C
9. Starting Pitcher