Aramis Ramirez just had one of the best seasons for a 34-year-old third-baseman in the history of MLB. However, it seemingly went unnoticed. Playing with the Milwaukee Brewers after nine seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Ramirez had one of the finest seasons of his career.
Throughout his 15 years in the majors, Ramirez has never been the most consistent player. However, what gets overlooked very often is the fact that Ramirez has been one of the 10 most productive third-basemen since 2000. For one reason or another, Ramirez is criminally underrated.
From 1998-2005, Ramirez played on some very bad Pittsburgh Pirates and Cubs teams. However, despite all the losses and often seeing harder pitches than the other hitters in the same lineups, Ramirez led the Cubs to the playoffs in 2003 and was nominated to the National League All-Star team in 2005.
Ramirez never has played great defense at third base but his rare combination of good plate discipline and power makes him a very valuable player. Ramirez’s seasons from 1998-2005 made him one of the best young third-basemen in the league.
Ramirez’s next five years, all of which were Chicago, were inconsistent, yet fairly productive. Despite barely playing league average defense at third, Ramirez managed to become an above-average third baseman. In his finest seasons, 2007 and 2008, Ramirez was worth a combined 9.8 Wins Above Replacement.
After the 2006 season, Ramirez was rewarded a five-year, $73-million contract from the Cubs. Even though he had a terrible, unproductive 2010 season and the players around him were never good enough to win very many games, Ramirez was probably worth his large contract.
Over the last two years, Ramirez has rejuvenated his career and proven that he can still play third at a very high level. In 2011, still with Chicago, Ramirez posted a 135 wRC+ and .204 ISO in 149 games. Only one third baseman in all of Major League Baseball had a higher wRC+ that year. Simply put, Ramirez’s bounce back season in 2011 bought himself a new contract.
After the 2011 season, Ramirez signed with Milwaukee for a three-year, $36-million contract. Nobody expected Ramirez to replace Prince Fielder’s spot in the lineup but he was still a major free agent coming in at the same time that Fielder left. The expectations for Ramirez in his first year were definitely pretty high and he met all of them.
In 2012, Ramirez was fairly unnoticed by most of the country, but he hit .300/.360/.540 with twenty-seven homers and decent defense at the hot corner. Ramirez performed like one of the top hitters in the league and he was very underpaid for what he did.
Ramirez is one of the better third basemen in the league and he has been for over a decade. Why Ramirez will continue to get no respect from national media will continue to befuddle me. The future looks as bright as it gets for a thirty-four year old in MLB.
After two more years and $24 more million dollars, Ramirez will likely become a Designated Hitter for an American League ballclub. Aramis Ramirez’s last two years have been nothing short of miraculous. Ramirez has managed to turn around his career and have some of the best offensive seasons he’s had in the majors.