Now that the managing staff, er I mean coaching staff, is in place, the next order of business for the Phillies is finding a third baseman, a number five hitter who can protect Ryan Howard and another power hitter if they finally move Pat Burrell.
The most intriguing player out there, one who could solve all of these problems, is Aramis Ramirez . But the word on the Cubs third baseman is not all positive.
The blog Cubbiepalooza noted prior to the 2006 season that Ramirez frequently suffered numerous lower body injuries, missed a lot of games, had a questionable work ethic, and was a mediocre fielder. The author concluded his post by announcing that despite all that, he expected Ramirez to have a “monster” year at the plate, improve his conditioning and appear in more games. The author was on the money.
A suburban Chicago newspaper columninst echoed the negative portions of the preceding assessment after the 2006 season, one in which Ramirez appeared in157 games, batted .291 with 38 homers. 119 rbi’s and an OBP of .352. In his piece Mike Imrem described Ramirez this way:
If Ramirez stays, the Cubs have his 38 home runs and 119 runs batted in. If he goes, they’re rid of a guy who appears lazy and disinterested until a new contract is at stake.
Admittedly, that’s a whole lotta’ baggage for one player to carry, but the Phils should take a chance anyway if Ramirez opts out of his Chicago contract and makes himself available. The prospect of an infield of Ramirez, Rollins, Utley and Howard, all in their late ‘20’s, is too good to pass up.
The whole point might be moot if Ramirez chooses to re-sign with the Cubs. I imagine Pat Gillick has to tread very lightly here to avoid the slightest whiff of tampering, but I hope someone from Philadelphia has Ramirez’ cell phone number if not his ear.