What was looking like a robust third base market this offseason just shrank by one Aramis Ramirez.
Rather than heading into free agency, the 36-year-old third baseman elected to pick up his half of a mutual option today – the Brewers exercised their half of the option last week – and he’ll make $14 million in 2015.
The decision is significant in a number of respects, as it’s a huge chunk of money for the Brewers to devote to a 36-year-old who has posted a 1.3 and 2.1 WAR each of the last two years*, but it does preserve a bat for them in 2015 after recently adding Adam Lind.
*(My guess? They expected him to decline the option, but they were also trying to avoid the $4 million buyout. That made the decision, from the Brewer’s perspective, just $10 million.)
Although all are aging and in decline phases, if Ramirez, Lind, and Ryan Braun have decent years next year, and you add them to Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy, the Brewers could once again have a very nice offense. With the Cubs hoping to compete in the NL Central in 2015, the Brewers’ talent level is notable, if not quite approaching troubling.
As for the market impact here, you’ve got to figure that Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley are happy. For the Cubs, there’s probably not much impact, unless they opt to get crazy with some maneuvering and pursue one of those two guys, or unless they opt to shop someone like Luis Valbuena, now that the third base market is reduced.