2009 Recap: Aramis Ramirez
For all the bad moves Jim Hendry has made over the years, one stands out above the rest. When the Cubs were in need of a 3B and OF during the 2003 season, Jim reached out to the Cubs Farm team in Pittsburgh and plucked Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez has worked out just fine, and besides the shoulder injury, played really well this season. Ramirez, long known for sub-par defense, seperated a shoulder diving to stop a Ryan Braun smash. He made the play, but thus ended the Cubs playoff hopes. The Cubs never really got rolling after that injury, even though they were in contention most of the season.
Ramirez turned in his lowest HR (15) and RBI totals (65) of his Cub career, but he did that damage in just 82 games. He actually hit .317 this season with an OPS of .890, but it was obvious at times that he had trouble with his power after the injury. Hopefully, an entire offseason of rest will help Ramirez and he will roll to huge numbers in 2010.
The biggest question following Rameriz is, "will he stay healthy?" He turns 32 this year, and we've seen that players are down declining in their 30's without the help of PEDs. Will this happen to him? Or does he have a few more years in the tank. My guess is that he will turn in a couple more solid years, before giving way to Josh Vitters in 2012.
Overall, it's hard to judge Ramirez's year for the Cubs. He played well when he was in the lineup, but his missed time really killed the Cubs since they didn't have a guy like Mark DeRosa. Instead, we had to trot out Aaron Miles and Mike Fontenot in the same lineup. He was able to play late in the season with a little pain, so the Cubs have to figure that he will be just fine. Still, I would love to see a capable backup plan that doesn't include Fontenot gettting the majority of time at third base.