The Aramis Ramirez “Ship Has Sailed”

The ship was already drifting away from the dock, untied. But now, it’s sailed.

That’s the metaphor used by Aramis Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, when describing the likelihood of his client returning to the Chicago Cubs.

Instead, Ramirez is looking for a multi-year deal from another team.

“Aramis is going to be fine,” Kinzer said of Ramirez. “We’re not in any hurry. I’m just feeling teams out.

“As the market establishes itself and people find out if they’re in or not on [Albert] Pujols or [Prince] Fielder, and who’s in on [Jose] Reyes, Aramis is going to be there,” Kinzer continued. “He’s not looking at an eight-year contract. He’s going to be looking in the four-[year] range, and maybe three [years] with an option. It’s going to be his choice.”

Ramirez, as the top free agent third baseman on the market, will probably get that three or four year deal, and will be paid handsomely for it. Whatever resentment exists related to Ramirez’s refusal to accept a trade this year, and his back-and-forth comments with respect to a return to the Cubs in 2012, I’m hopeful that it will soon be squashed. I’d like to go forward remembering Ramirez fondly – as the best Cubs’ third baseman since Ron Santo.

Fond memories, however, isn’t likely to be the expression on Bob Brenly’s lips when he thinks on Ramirez – and vice versa.

The Cubs broadcaster had some harsh words for Ramirez last month, describing him as a “numbers gatherer” who is bad defensively, bad on the base paths, and not a leader.

Kinzer says the criticism was inappropriate, and maddening.

“I’m not real happy about the stuff that came out negative about Aramis,” Kinzer said. “For a broadcaster to come out and say that I think is very low-class. We didn’t come out and say a word about it, but that bothered Aramis and it bothered me a lot.

“If [Brenly] had something to say to him, he should’ve said it to his face when he was a Cub and not when he hits free agency and then come out like that,” Kinzer said. “You can talk to Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker and if [Ramirez] isn’t a producer and he was as bad as he said, and not a clutch hitter – they don’t give Silver Sluggers out to punch-and-Judy hitters.”

I can’t say I’ve heard that expression connected to baseball before, but Kinzer’s point is simply that Ramirez has been a productive hitter in his time with the Cubs, and he has been.

Kinzer noted that there are no hard feelings between Ramirez and the Cubs or the city of Chicago. It’s just time to move on.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

74 responses to “The Aramis Ramirez “Ship Has Sailed””

  1. DRock

    Fine with me. I only want players who actually WANT to be on the Chicago Cubs…Guys like Kerry Wood. Sign Fielder and trade for David Wright now.

  2. marc

    Bye! I wont miss you! We need to get better defensively and this is a great first step.

  3. Fishin Phil

    Why does the phrase “Ship of Fools” keep going through my head?

    1. Wilbur

      Because while tragic it is totally appropriate … one damn depressing movie and analogy!

  4. Aaron

    Yeah, its sad when we can get a guy with comparable offensive numbers and much better defense for the league minimum salary (or close to it). Aramis’ ship has sailed, and some team is going to get saddled with his bloated contract into his late 30s. DH anyone?

    1. CubFan Paul

      who can we get with comparable Offensive numbers for the league minimum salary??

    2. TC

      Who exactly is this league-minimum, comparable numbers guy you’re talking about?

      1. Aaron

        There are guys on the roster currently who could produce more – as a total – than Aramis does (or will, rather). He’s not going to be good enough for a multi-year deal worth anywhere near what he wants. He’ll get that contract from someone, but not the Cubs this year. Aramis hit well at the end of the season and really salvaged his batting numbers for the year.

        Bottom line: Aramis doesn’t fit with the Cubs anymore, and replacing him will not be hard. At all.

        1. hansman1982

          Who on the cubs can currently hit .300 with 25-30 homers?

          1. Jason

            Nobody but that’s not completely the point – Ramirez was the second worst defensive 3B in MLB last year. Much of the value that he brings offensively is erased by his bad defense. All in all, he’s a 3-3.5 WAR player. We don’t currently have that on our roster, but that isn’t an irreplaceable number. Headley could be a 3 WAR player in Wrigley at a minimum.

            1. Aaron

              Exactly. 3-3.5 WAR for ~$15mil/3-4 years, with that WAR number likely declining… No thanks.

              1. Dumpman

                Thats the story right there. Too bad he didn’t have a glove at all. Could have been a 5 WAR guy had he.

            2. TC

              Yep but you’re also giving up something in a trade. Trading for Headly is going to cost a haul of prospects, who themselves are also worth a certain amount that needs to be factored into this.

              1. Jason

                You’re right – I was just using him as an example because he is a player who will obviously not provide the offensive production of Aramis but is just as productive of a player because he is much better defensively.

                I agree with the premise that we do not currently have a 3 WAR 3B on our roster. All I’m saying is that it isn’t as insurmountable of a number to replace as people seem to be suggesting here. We could use Baker as half of a platoon and he could give us 1 WAR versus lefties alone so we’d then just have to find a partner for him that can give us the other 2 versus righties.

                I’m not a Ramirez hater – actually, I used to love watching Aramis hit and think he was integral to our success in the middle of last decade – he just doesn’t fit here anymore for a number of reasons.

        2. TC

          No, there is no combination of bench players right now who will provide .280/.340/.440 with a bunch of dingers this coming year. Aramis doesn’t quite fit with the club any more, but you’re kidding yourself if you think we’re gonna replace his production. It’s just not feasible this year.

          1. Aaron

            It can be done. The guy can hit, that’s not in dispute. I just think he’s overvalued and doesn’t fit with the team any longer. The team exercised the option for this year, which obviously shows that we value him – just not in a multi-year deal.

            But let’s not kid ourselves thinking that Aramis is the best 3B out there. Who knows who we’ll acquire or who will have a break out year. Remains to be seen.

            I just think its incredibly unwise – which doesn’t surprise me with the way the Cubs have managed contracts in the last decade – to give him a multi-year deal for gobs of cash.

            1. TC

              First, we exercised his option so we could get a draft pick in compensation, but thats beside the point. Yes, it is incredibly unwise to pay him a lot of money, but that’s because we will not contend this year, and we should just save the cash. But if we wanted to put the best product on the field, that includes Aramis at 3B. If he’s healthy, he hits .280-.300 with 20-30 HR, that’s *extremely* tough to find in baseball right now out of third basemen.

              No internal option or combination of internal options will come close to his offensive numbers. David Wright is not a guarantee to be good if we trade for him, and there are few FA options who appear to be worth even 1 WAR in the coming year. Aramis IS the best available option at 3B in baseball right now. It’s why his production will be irreplaceable, but also why he commands so much cash that we should not sign him.

              1. Jeff

                “Aramis IS the best available option at 3B in baseball right now.”

                I strongly disagree with you.   He is the worst statistical defensive third baseman in the game.  Everyone is always saying how bad Prince Fielder’s defense is, but ARam defense was so bad the last couple of years that it offset his offensive numbers.  His defense kept him from being a type A free agent, even though he was more productive offensively than any other third baseman in baseball.

                If you look past the free agents, and actually look around baseball, there are several guys who could be better options for the Cubs than Ramirez.  We’ve already talked about Chase Headley, his offense is questionable, but he is excellent defensively, he has high OBP numbers, and he hits very well away from PETCO.  Martin Prado can play all over the field, he is good defensively, and his offense has been good.  The Cardinals have kind of a logjam at third and prospect Matt Carpenter could be a good fit for the Cubs at third, he has excellent peripherals.  The only issue is that he plays for the Cards.  They could take a flyer on Ian Stewart, who has excellent power potential and could be had at a “buy low” price.  It’s also possible Milwuakee could look to move Casey McGehee. There are alternatives out there for people who don’t want to hold out hope for ARam circa 2007 to show up for more than 30 games a year.

                The worst part about ARam is his personality and his me first attitude.  The guy gets criticized by an announcer and it causes him to cry and throw a fit.  Now he’s 100% sure he’s not coming back to the Cubs, which will probably only be the case for a couple of days until he changes his mind again.  The Cubs don’t need that kind of “leader” on their team setting examples for young guys.  I’ll be happy to see him sign elsewhere, which is sad, he used to be one of my favorite players.

                 

                1. Kyle

                  I agree that his defense and baserunning give back enough of his offensive value to make him a poor value for a 4/$60 type deal that he’s looking for.

                  But the rest of it? Disagree almost entirely.

                  His injuries and missed playing time had a lot more to do with his B designation than his defense, although that was a part of it.

                  Headley will be very expensive in terms of prospects if he’s dealt and is probably not going to be dealt at all, Prado is a BABIP mirage, and the Cardinals aren’t trading a quality 3b prospect to the Cubs. I don’t mind Stewart as a flyer, though.

                  As far as personality and me-first attitude, I am beyond tired of hearing about that garbage from Cubs fans. Most athletes have selfish, me-first personalities. The ones who don’t are very rare, and most of the time you never hear about them. The players who get labeled as selfish probably really are selfish, but many of the players who avoid that label are every bit as selfish and avoid it for various reasons (usually because they play nice with the media, who then write glowing stories about them).

                  1. hansman1982

                    Agreed, so what that Ramirez isnt a clubhouse leader?  He isnt a Milton Bradley style distraction.  You CAN NOT have 25 leaders on the team or it will tear itself apart.

                  2. Jeff

                    I can only go by what I hear the guy say, and from the words that come out of his mouth, I can tell 100% that Aramis Ramirez cares more about getting paid and making himself look good than he does about winning baseball games.  He acts and talks like his defense is a non issue and took offense to Brenly calling him out on it.  Alfonso Soriano is painted in a very negative light by the media and fans, but I also know how hard he works and how much he helps with the younger guys.  I listened to Marlon Byrd this year talk about how he wants to help Brett Jackson learn to be a great center fielder.  I read about what a positive influence that Carlos Pena is on the rest of the team, even when he was struggling.  I also watched Albert Pujols and how he handled his upcoming free agency.  It’s a far cry from the wishy washy crap that Ramirez tried to spin.

        3. CubFan Paul

          who are these guys currently on the roster who could produce more than .306/.361/.510/.871, 26HR 93rbi??

          if that were possible, then losing Aramis wouldn’t be an issue

          1. Kyle

            Jeff Baker could certainly put up his half of those numbers against lefties. Just need a good lefty platoon partner.

            1. Luke

              I think Ryan Flaherty would be a good place to start looking.

  5. Ronnie A.

    Yoennis Cespedes. That’s who.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Cespedes will be in AA, prison, or stuck in the Dominican next year

      1. TWC

        Yeah?  He’s going to be extradited from the Dominican Republic back to Cuba?

        Riiight.

        1. CubFan Paul

          or AA or in another country not spelled Cuba ..yeeees

          1. hansman1982

            better be careful, not sure that limb can support all that weight

          2. TWC

            Uh-huh.  But you said prison.

            Frankly, if signed, I’d be surprised if he didn’t start the year in AA.  It’s less fluff than AAA, and he’s likely not ready for ML.  You’re not going out on much of a limb there, Pauly.  Except for the prison nonsense.

            1. CubFan Paul

              i didnt say JUST prison. i said “AA, prison, OR stuck in the Dominican next year”

              multiple choice bud, multiple choice ..and that was in response to Ronnie saying Cespedes could replace Ramirez’s production

  6. johnbres2

    Theo already early on had made perfectly clear that Ramirez was history.   Love seeing that $16 million back on the books.  Aramis had a good career with the Cubs, and was a big part of 3 playoff teams.  There is no doubt he should be fondly remembered.  DIdn’t we get him for a song?  The guy who dropped the big flyball against the Brewers, Brant Brown–that almost blew the ’03 season (wait, maybe that season should have been blown…)

    1. TWC

      If by “big part of 3 playoff teams” you refer to his 0 for 13 in the 2007 sweep by Arizona, or his 2 for 11 performance the following year in the sweep by the Dodgers, then yes, I agree that he was a big part.  Of the losses.

      But to avoid the inevitable argument, I would certainly agree that the Cubs would have had a very hard time reaching those playoffs without him.

      1. hogie

        We don’t get to the playoffs any of those years without Ramirez’s regular season production. Yes, he choked in the playoffs (like the rest of those teams), but let’s not pretend that we didn’t get on the edge of our seat everytime he would come to the plate with runners on. He was never the great leader type, and after his shoulder injury he never really seemed to care as much, but he was one of the best bats on the team for his whole career in Chicago.

        1. Jeff

          This year I was on the edge of my seat every time he came up with runners on for the first three months of the season.  Then I fell of my seat as I watched him swing weakly at a low and away breaking ball every time.  The guy had 2 hr’s and 19 rbi’s the first three months of the season, why is everyone now acting like he’s the second coming of Mike Schmidt?   If that’s not enough to convince you, go back to 2010 when he was hitting .210 with 23 rbi’s through JUNE.  You can even go back and look at his “excellent” seasons of ’07 and ’08, and see that he is terrible for three months pretty much every year, and because he gets hot for a month or two, his numbers make him look like an all star.  Were you guys not paying attention the last couple of years?

          1. Kyle

            It’s completely normal for a hitters’ numbers to look bad if cherrypick their worst months.

            Ryno was pretty famous for his terrible starts to the season, too.

            1. Jeff

              It’s not really cherry picking when it happens a couple of months every year.

              1. Kyle

                It is quite precisely cherrypicking when you only picked those months because they were his worst. That’s pretty much the definition of cherrypicking.

                As I said, every player looks terrible if you pick out his worst months.

                1. Jeff

                  We’re really not going to agree on this.  I see what you are saying, but the months that I saw him struggling in when I went and looked back at his stats were all months that the Cubs still had a chance to compete.  His numbers were bad at the worst possible time the last couple of years, and his good numbers came after the Cubs were out of contention.  It hasn’t only been the first couple of months that he ‘s had trouble.  I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not, but I do know that his body language was terrible, and he didn’t look like he was putting forth much effort.  I can’t say 100% that he was loafing, I’m just taking everything into context.  He seems like he doesn’t care if the team was losing.  He seems like he only cared about getting an extension this year, and when it became clear that wasn’t happening, he all but packed his bags.  I am certain that Aramis Ramirez made the Cubs lineup better when he was hitting well.  I am also certain that he made the team worse when they were struggling, not only when at the plate, but in the field, and on the base paths.

      2. Kyle

        What about his excellent 2003 playoffs?

    2. Kyle

      Brant Brown was 1998, not 2003.

      We got Ramirez and Kenny Lofton for Bobby Hill, Matt Bruback and Jose Hernandez, which turned out to be an absurdly great deal for the Cubs.

  7. Ramy16

    Totally agree with you Paul!!! He’s worth a 3 yr deal!

    1. TC

      Without a doubt. He’s one of the most dominant 3B bats in the game, and even if his numbers slip a bit over the next three years, given the dearth of good third basemen in the league right now he’ll still put up above league-average numbers through the length of the contract.

      1. Luke

        The problem is that he isn’t a good third baseman. He’s a good hitter who plays third base, and happens to be bad at it. At this point he should be on first or playing DH. If the Cubs are going to improve on defense (a priority under Epstein), they aren’t going to do it with Ramirez on the diamond.

        I agree that he probably does have three or four good years in him. If he signs with a team where is not expected to carry an offense, he may even have another All Star Game or two left in him. Anaheim might be a good fit.

        1. Jeff

          That’s an idea I haven’t heard kicked around too much.  He may be a much better defensive first baseman.  The ship has sailed though, so he’s someone else’ problem.

          Anaheim says they aren’t interested in him.

  8. Mom's A Cubs Fan

    Bye,Bye Aramis. Funny how he started playing a little better after Brenly’s comments!

    1. TC

      Brenleys comments came after the season was over. Even if you didn’t know this, it says so in the article. Can people please pay attention once in a while?

      1. CubFan Paul

        Brenley also had some in-season comments about Aramis also that questioned his leadership, defense & motivation

        1. Kyle

          Brenley was trying to up his old-school, angry-guy street cred to position himself for a run at the manager’s gig when Quade left.

        2. TC

          Yep I thought the comments in question were his ones post-season. Either way, comments from the color guy aren’t going to make a guy play any better like, say, finally being fully healthy after some really gruesome, lingering shoulder injuries…

      2. Mom's A Cubs Fan

        OK, done commenting so I won’t have to bother you anymore. Brenly said many things about Aramis throughout the season.

        1. T C

          ….and Aramis played well the entire season, so I dont understand why his comments would have had any affect…

  9. BFM

    It’s too bad he left like this. I liked Ramirez, but it was time to leave.
    I can understand him wanting a 3-4 year deal…..after all…this is business.
    I hold no ill will towards him but in his declining years, he needs to go somewhere else and let the Cubs change without him.
    He would probably benefit by signing with an American league team and becoming a DH.

    Goodbye #16!
    Best of luck!

  10. Toosh

    Bye, Aramis. You were a good 3B for a while with the Cubs. Moving forward, they’ll have a 3B who plays defense and doesn’t cost as much.

  11. chris margetis

    There’s a very old saying Mr. Kinzer should be reminded of regarding Brenly’s commentary on Aramis. It goes a little something like this:

    “Truth hurts.”

  12. nonesuch

    Aramis was a truly great find in ’03. Most would agree he was the 3rd basemen the Cubs had been looking for since Santo. He could hit and was often the best clutch hitter on the team. His defense was shoddy, got better for awhile then got ugly, mostly after his shoulder injury (maybe that was the reason he slacked, to save the body for hitting). He couldn’t run and wasn’t a team leader but he was what he was. People seem to want to slam him for not being more. Now, he would be best going AL and maybe DH and the Cubs are best going younger and defensive. Best of luck, Aramis.

  13. chris margetis

    The more I think about it Kinzer’s quote “That ship has sailed” maybe there is a chance Aramis will re sign with the Cubs and here’s my logic: If Aramis is actually “the ship” that is being referenced in the quote, I assume with the anchor he has strapped to his ass on a daily basis, he really can’t get that far away can he?

  14. Polar Bear

    I think some people are losing sight of the point trying to to be made here. Nobody is questioning what his worth was to the Cubsin the past, its his value going forward. With his decline in defense and lack of leadership skills, this is not a player this team will spend money on. This is in no way advocating what Brenley said to be the complete truth but, probably pretty close. I for one, was a hugh Ramirez fan and felt like he was definitely a missing piece when we traded for him but, that time has passed and so has his stay with the Cubs. Its time to move on to the chapter.

    Good luck, Aramis!

  15. Curt

    Just two words are needed here (common sense) well there are more like about time ask kinzer about Ramirez production early in seasons or in the playoffs he wasn’t anywhere to b found when he was needed most and oh yeah two more words good riddance

    1. Kyle

      Come on, Cubs fans, 2003 wasn’t *that* long ago.

      1. TWC

        Perhaps — and I’m not sure if I believe this — but it’s possible that folks’ memories of 2003 had much less to do with Aramis and much more so with Sosa/Wood/Prior.  Aramis came late to the Cubs in ’03, and regardless of how well he performed in those playoffs, he was still a relatively unknown quantity.  By 2007, 2008, he was an established quantity, and his ability to hit in the clutch powered them to the playoffs both years (let me pause for a minute while the chills pass from that HR over the Brewers in ’07).  But his playoff performance was dismal, and much, much more disappointing than his great performance in ’03 was exhilarating.  Again, just a thought.

  16. brian

    I care more about the Goonies pic than I do about Aramis not coming back.

  17. hawkboy64

    am i the only one who thought that the only time tht ramirez was productive was in blow-outs or mostly solo homeruns i know this an exaggerration but it just seems that way, i think it be poetic justice that he would end up in boston or st.louis and help damage their teams

    1. Kyle

      That’s something people have said about every disliked good hitter in history. It’s just a way of trying to justify that they don’t like him despite his good offense. It’s pretty much never true.

  18. JB

    I can’t believe that anyone didn’t comment on the awesome Goonies picture…

    Sloth love Aramis