Bob Brenly has never been a big fan of Aramis Ramirez. And with the third baseman on the verge of free agency, Brenly said it might be time to let Ramirez go.
"He's a numbers gatherer," Brenly, the Cubs television analyst, said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He gets his stats at the end of the year every year but defensively he's just fallen off the face of the earth. As a baserunner he kills you, he's a log jammer on the bases, and I'm not buying any of this leadership for Starlin Castro stuff at all.
"That combined with the fact that he did statistically have a good year, he needs to maximize this. If this is going to be his last big contract, I think it behooves him and his agent to go out there and see what they can get in the free market. It should be a pretty sizable contract."
Ramirez played eight and a half seasons with the Cubs, and led them with 93 RBIs to go along with 26 home runs and a .306 batting average this season. He decided he would opt out of the $16 million option year, if it was picked up by the Cubs, and test free agency. He is in the final year of a five-year, $75 million contract.
Brenly said Ramirez has been a productive hitter during his time in Chicago but Brenly said Ramirez struggled in the clutch and defensively at third base.
"It's hard to think back recently, especially last year, and remember any big RBIs that he had or any period of time where they won a lot of games because of the way Aramis was swinging the bat," Brenly said. "There's no question about it, you look at the stats and he's the best third baseman they've had since Ron Santo, maybe the only third baseman the Cubs have had since Ron Santo.
"A lot of pitchers would never go public with this information ... double-play balls that aren't turned because Aramis takes so long to get rid of the ball to get it to second base. He's gotten a number of second baseman just clobbered out there on double-play attempts. In the grand scheme of things it may seem like a small thing but over 162 games, the double plays that you don't turn that lead to more pitches for your pitcher, that lead to more opportunities for the opposition.
"Everything has to be tightened up. And at this stage of his career he's not going to get better defensively. For me I think maybe it's time for him to move on and go somewhere else. I'm sure he still has a number of good years left as an offensive player, but if you're looking to re-tool the team in a different image it might be time for him to go."