While cruising Baseball Reference the other day, I stumbled across a couple of interesting notes:
- Back in June, Carlos Gomez passed 2000 career plate appearances as a Brewer and now qualifies for the team's Wall of Honor outside Miller Park. He'll be inducted post-retirement.
- The next Brewer to reach 2000 could be Aramis Ramirez, who currently sits on 1512 plate appearances over his first three seasons in Milwaukee (Jean Segura is another interesting candidate, but would likely need to bat high in the order and play every day to get all of the 657 PAs he'd need in 2015).
Ramirez has averaged 125 games and 504 plate appearances over his first three seasons as a Brewer, but has been slowed or sidelined by injuries in each of the last two seasons and turns 37 in June. He's not a lock to reach 488 PA this season, and his ability or failure to reach that milestone may tell us a lot about the Brewers' chances.
Ramirez's offensive numbers dropped dramatically in 2014, with his .757 OPS representing the second-lowest single-season mark he's posted in the last eleven years. He still almost certainly represents the Brewers' greatest offensive threat at third base, however. I suspect even Luis Jimenez and/or Jason Rogers' strongest supporters will admit that Ramirez's understudies have a very limited likelihood of matching his production. Furthermore, if either of those guys are big league-ready they may be needed as backups or fill-ins for Adam Lind.
The Brewers have put a lot of payroll eggs in one basket with Ramirez, who will receive $14 million on the mutual option year of his three-year contract, and his ability to remain healthy and effective enough to stay on the field will go a long way towards determining if this team has any chance at contention. As an added bonus, if he plays well enough to help Miller Park witness relevant baseball in September he'll also probably earn a spot on the wall outside.