Under the Radar Move: Signing 3B Ramirez
Aramis Ramirez has always played in the National League Central and its safe to say that he knows this Brewers Organization quite well. The 90 mile or so journey from Chicago to Milwaukee has been a trip Ramirez has done time and again.
In my opinion, Doug Melvin saw the writing on the wall with Prince Fielder and preemptively signed Ramirez, not only for damage control, but to stay contenders in the NL Central. This was a subtle canonball splash of a signing and really lends to Melvin's legacy to put forth a competative, successful team on the field in a city that craves, as well as supports a winner.
Now, that trip has become a permanent one. Well, maybe not permanent, but for the next three years at least, he'll call Miller Park his home ballpark.
I know no one expects Ramirez to slot in to the 4th spot in the lineup and replace Prince Fielder's numbers, but I have to say, with all things being considered, Doug Melvin and the Brewers could have done a whole lot worse plugging in a power bat other than this guy.
Let's not kid ourselves. Ramirez is past his prime, yet he's not a dinosaur. He's 33-years-old and although his best years may have been with the Chicago Cubs a few years ago, the slugger could still put up a 30+ HR, 100+ RBI year and nobody would be the least surprised at that.
Fielder is just entering his prime and he could go for 40+ HR, 120+ RBI, but really, who knows what will happen this season?
My point is I think we all know its unrealistic that any one player could replicate Prince's numbers on a good year. What I think we could all see as being in the relm realistic possibility is not just looking at it as replacing our No. 4 hitter in the lineup, but rather looking at improving the culmination of production from the 4-5-6-7 hitters in the lineup.
Last season, besides Prince, the 5-6-7 hitters were having problems maintaining consistant productivity. They show glimpses here and there and Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt did have over 60 RBI a piece when everything was said and done. But I think Manager Ron Roenicke would tell you that he wanted to see more from that part of the lineup last season.
So, if we can compare Fielder, Hart(I know Weeks took over the No.5 spot in the order down the stretch, but for arguments sake, we'll use Harts stats), McGehee and Betancourt to the Brewers' projected 2012 4-5-6-7 hitters, it'll give us a better perspective of what needs to made up with Prince's departure.
Ramirez, Hart, when he comes back, Gamel and Alex Gonzalez are expected to to be this years prmary 4-5-6-7 hitters.
So, let's get into some number crunching, shall we? We shall.
Mat Gamel's numbers are a projected total based on his minor league stats.
I averaged out the totals to give everyone a better idea of how close the production is between the two lineups. The wildcard will be Gamel. If he has a monster rookie year, they will be very close to replacing Prince's lost production. If he has a down rookie year, then Prince's missing bat in the lineup will be greatly felt.
I think Gamel will have a year close to or a bit above those projected numbers as long as he stays healthy. I just think he is one of those players that needs an opportunity to play everyday in order to gain a rhythm and confidence. His minor league stats and small major league sample remind me of former Brewer Nelson Cruz, now an All-Star OF for the Texas Rangers.
The Ramirez signing should alleviate the load from the rest of the lineup. Without the slugger, I think this group would have been under a lot of pressure to try and relpace Prince's production.
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