In the single biggest piece of Milwaukee Brewers news to date, the Brew Crew agreed to a three-year deal with free agent “third basemen” Aramis Ramirez. Some (such as Ken Rosenthal) have the contract’s value in the $34-37 million dollar range. Not bad for the last of the type Bs.

Ramirez represents a significant offensive upgrade over incumbent third baseman Casey McGehee, who hit a miserable .223/.280/.346 in 600 plate appearances this season. Consider the .373 wOBA Ramirez just posted, I’d say the Brewers just got better.

Aramis Ramirez is 33 and coming off an excellent season and, it seems, an excellent decision. In early November we covered Ramirez’s decision to decline a $16 million dollar pay day and concluded this, now extremely prescient fact:

Even at a lower average annual value, the years are the thing. As a type-B free agent, Ramirez doesn’t cost prospective teams a draft pick. This designation could free him up to sign a more lucrative deal as the pool for potential signing teams increases.

The Cubs net a supplemental pick but the signing costs the Brewers nothing (other than all the money). Obviously the signing benefits Aramis Ramirez as he now has:

  1. An additional $20 mil to spend on rocket cars and heavy cheeses and
  2. two extra years of guaranteed income.

Not a bad piece of business for Ramirez, even at a lower AAV.

The Brewers defense gets worse, sort of. The Brewers defense is so bad as to be considered an afterthought, so bringing in a creaky offense-first, fall-down-range corner infielder is no big deal. The Brewers added Alex Gonzalez on a one-year deal earlier today so defense isn’t a complete non-issue.

Some suggest the Ramirez signing effectively ends the Brewers interest in Prince Fielder, as the ageing former Cub may slide to the other side of the diamond sometime during the life of this contract, not to mention the prospect of McGehee moving to first unless he is moved.

The Brewers also added former Giants infielder Travis Ishikawa on a minor league deal today. Never much of an offensive threat, he at least provides credible defense in what is becoming a very unBrewers-like trend.

As it stands, the Brewers went from a (very aggressive Bill James projected) .264/.322/.410 with 12 homers guy in Magehee to a (much more conservative ZiPS projected) .280/.340/.474 with 21 home runs guy in Ramirez.

All they must do now is address the gaping hole at first base and the 5 WAR they annually received from Prince Fielder. Shouldn’t be a problem. There are plenty of guys like that kicking around.

Comments (6)

  1. I was kinda hoping he would go back to Pittsburg….I want Pitt to be competitive again, I like their hats and don’t want to be ashamed about wearing one.

  2. And, of course, the ~2 wins they lose with Braun gone for a third of the season if it turns out that he is indeed guilty.

    Is there even anyone in that division who’ll be able to pretend to contend with the Cards?

  3. If the deal was worth 34 million, I’m not sure how that was a good move on Ramirez’s part financially.

    If a GM wouldn’t have been willing to offer him a 2 year deal at 9 million/year after this season, I would have been shocked. And that’s all he’s getting after the 16 million is accounted for. It’s likely he left at least 5 million on the table walking away from the Cubs as he did.

    Maybe it made sense for personal reasons (wanting to win, not wanting to play for the Cubs anymore), but it’s just plain wrong to say that it made financial sense.

    • That above statement needs some qualifications.

      For starters, I probably tipped the scales unfairly by working from the 34 million number. Let’s be fair and say the figure is 36 million, so 12/year. That means next year (after earning the 16 million) he would have needed to sign a 2 year contract for 10/year to earn the same amount as he’s currently set to earn. Based on his current value, that would mean that he walked away from 4 million.

      First, he could play poorly enough that his value gets reduced by 4 million.

      Second, there is the prospect of injury.

      The financial question is whether or not the 4 million loss is a worthwhile insurance premium to pay for an additional 20 million in guaranteed dollars. My answer is still no (I don’t think the % chance of his value cratering through performance or injuries justifies that premium), but I can at least see the conservative argument for it when using more generous numbers and accounting for the qualifications.

      • I think he wanted out of Chicago. The local broadcasters were criticizing his clutch ability and there has been a fair amount of chaos there. I don’t blame him.

        • I agree 100%. He did it for personal reasons (primarily wanting to win) and he sacrificed finances in order to do so. It was not a sound financial decision in and of itself.

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