The Pirates have acquired 37-year-old third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league right-hander Yhonathan Barrios and cash. The Pirates, who are looking to make a postseason run, have a three-game lead above Chicago Cubs for the first National League Wild Card spot. And they are currently six games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. Six games is not an impossible mountain to conquer but it may be behind the team with Major League Baseball’s best record.
For the Pirates acquiring Ramirez, fills one of the holes on the left side of their infield. With both starting third baseman Josh Harrison and starting shortstop Jordy Mercer out with injuries, this trade was imperative for the Pirates to make in order to remain ahead and not lose ground in the Wild Card race. The trade was made official with an announcement by the Pirates official Twitter account:
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 23, 2015
For Ramirez, this signals a return to his roots during what he has said will be his final season. Both he and the Brewers exercised the mutual option for Ramirez to play this season and he is owed approximately $5.2 million for the rest of the season. It’s fitting, then, to see Ramirez return to Pittsburgh, the team who signed him as an amateur free-agent back in 1994.
He made his debut with the Pirates in 1996 and played with the team for parts of five seasons. His best season with the Pirates being in 2001 when he batted .300 with 34 home runs and 112 RBI in 158 games. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Kenny Lofton in July 2003 for Jose Hernandez, Bobby Hill and Mat Bruback (minors).
Ramirez spent his best years in Chicago, making two All-Star appearances, finishing in the top-ten in the MVP voting twice and batting over .300 in five of his eight seasons with the Cubs. He averaged 28 home runs a season while on the North Side, hitting a career-high 44 in 2008.
He was granted free-agency after the 2011 season and signed with the Brewers. In three full seasons with the Brewers Ramirez batted .291 with an average of 18 home runs and 73 RBI a year. This season hasn’t been Ramirez’s best with his average being at just .247 but he has hit 11 long balls and driven in 42 runs on the year. That’s not bad for a player who will be retiring at the end of the season.
Now, that Ramirez is on the Wild Card leading Pirates, his final season will likely be extended, possibly even all the way to the World Series.