Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is no longer with the Chicago Cubs organization. Ramirez has been the team’s starting third baseman since the Cubs acquired him from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2003 season. There is no question that Ramirez was the Cubs’ best third baseman since the days of Ron Santo. But, there was always something more to be desired from Ramirez while he was with the Cubs. Sure, Ramirez put up numbers that were strong enough to make him one of the top National League third basemen in the past decade. But despite his strong output with the Cubs, Ramirez was always the type of player to keep to himself and at times one would wonder if Ramirez was solely focused on himself rather putting an overall focus on the team. Whether is was the numerous occasions that Ramirez would “dog it” out of the batters box, or contributing to a divide within the clubhouse; Ramirez did not seem comprehend the idea that baseball is 25-man sport.
Ramirez heard the criticism during his tenure with the Cubs, and like with his teammates, the third baseman remained silent and to himself through it all. Last season especially. Ramirez was the subject of many trade rumors during the 2011 season, and his generic statements would make it difficult for former General Manager Jim Hendry to determine whether or not Ramirez would waive his no trade rights. Despite the rumors that surrounded Ramirez in 2011, the third baseman finished the 2011 season with the Cubs.
However, 2011 was Ramirez’s last season with the Cubs. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer were not interested in bringing back Ramirez for the 2012 season, and Ramirez likely was not interested in returning to the Cubs’ organization. With a return no longer in the fold, Ramirez opted to stay in the National League Central and sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. With his new contract, it would seem that Ramirez has discovered his voice. Now that Ramirez is sitting comfortably with the Brewers, the third baseman felt now is the right time to address all the criticism he faced while being a member of the Cubs’ organization. God forbid he showed a little emotion and addressed the criticism while he was actually still a member of the Cubs’ organization.
As for the critics:
‘‘You can’t make everybody happy,’’ said Ramirez, who sees his old team for the first time since leaving when the Cubs play the Brewers on Saturday. ‘‘All you can ask from a player is to go out and do his job and produce and do what he’s supposed to do, and I did that. All I have to say to those guys is go out and look at the numbers, and you realize whether I did my job or not.’’
For Ramirez, it means critics saying he didn’t care enough to give full effort on every play or every game.
‘‘You talking about Bob Brenly?’’ Ramirez said of the Cubs broadcaster and former big-league catcher who has been his most vocal critic. ‘‘I ain’t going to get into a war with Brenly or any other guy. Brenly played the game. He knows how it is. And if you want, you can put my numbers right next to his and see who did better in their career.’’ Chicago Sun-Times
As I mentioned, Ramirez’s numbers at the end of the season always seem to confirm the thinking that Ramirez was a top-tier National League third baseman. But the stats that are not on the back of baseball card are the times that Ramirez struggles when the Cubs need him the most; the times in the early months of the season while the Cubs’ are trying to off to a strong start and Ramirez looks like he does not know what the bat making contact with the ball sounds like. Neither does the back of a baseball card keep a tally of the amount of times Ramirez lackadaisical mentality cost the Cubs a hit, which in turn could have affected the final score of the game.
Ramirez’s comments about Brenly in the Sun Times article were actually kind of modest. Ramirez previously criticized Brenly for not being a player/manager/or general manager when the Cubs’ broadcaster would be doing his job and calling out the many times that Ramirez’s efforts were questionable at best. Ramirez may not know this, but Brenly is a World Series winning manager–remind me, how many rings does Ramirez have?–and was a catcher in Major League Baseball for nine seasons. Granted Ramirez is a much better offensive player than Brenly was during the course of his career, there is no question that Brenly was hands down the better player when it came to overall knowledge and fundamentals of the game. Ramirez can be seen and heard from now that he is with the Brewers, but where was this emotion when he was with the Cubs? Don’t ask me, I am still looking…