Twelve years ago, the Pirates made what many fans considered to be the worst trade in franchise history when Aramis Ramirez departed the team for the Chicago Cubs. Prior to Thursday’s game against the Washington Nationals the Pirates reacquired Ramirez.
“We felt like he was a good addition to our club to come in and stabilize third base for us for a while,” Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said. “We like what he has done offensively and obviously he’s had a great career. The last six to eight weeks he’s been swinging the bat well after a great start.”
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was the first to report the deal and the Milwaukee Brewers official player development twitter reported that Yohnathan Barrios would be going to the Brewers in the trade.
“Our goal going into every trade deadline is to find ways to make the club better and with the two injuries it became easier at least on paper,” said Huntington.
Ramirez fills a void at the third base position following the injury to Josh Harrison and allows for Jung Ho Kang to focus the majority of his time at shortstop.
“That’s the team that gave me the opportunity to be whatever I am today,” Ramirez said to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “It’s good to go back.”
Though Ramirez has a .247 batting average this season with 11 home runs and 42 RBI, he is batting .352 in July with two home runs and nine RBI. Ramirez also has a .333 batting average since June 19.
Ramirez first joined the Pirates in 1998 and was a part of the infamous trade with Kenny Lofton on July 22. He had 542 hits and 76 home runs during his first stint with the Pirates.
Going to the Pirates in the 2003 trade were Jose Hernandez and minor league players Matt Bruback and Bobby Hill.
Thus far in the season Ramirez has a -0.2 WAR and a -0.6 defensive WAR. He confirmed to Brewers reporters following the trade that this will be his final season.
Barrios has spent time with both the Bradenton Marauders and Double-A Altoona Curve this season. He has combined to post a 1-3 record with 11 saves and a 2.68 ERA in 40.1 innings of work. Barrios is not considered to be a top-30 prospect in the Pirates system.
“If we feel good about the move we made now, that’s the trade off, that’s the risk and we’re willing to take that,” Huntington said. “Barrios is a really good arm that probably will help the Brewers for years to come probably well after Ramirez has moved on.”
To make room on the 40-man roster the Pirates designated Steve Lombardozzi. An additional corresponding move will have to be made when Ramirez joins the Pirates.
The Pirates will also receive cash considerations in the deal as Ramirez is owed roughly $5.2 million for the rest of the season. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Pirates will cover $3 million of Ramirez’s contract.
Ramirez is expected to be in Pittsburgh Saturday in time for the contest against the Nationals. The Brewers are in Arizona to face the Diamondbacks and Ramirez will fly back to Milwaukee on Friday.
They said it: “I think he can have a very positive impact. What we wanted to get was an established and experienced player that’s been a run producer and is looking to do something significant in his last season. He’s probably coming back to a place that has a lot of fond memories. There’s some people within our organization that still speak very highly of the man.” – Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle on Ramirez
“They want to win as much as we do. It’s no surprise for me personally. We want to win, so that’s been the change in this team.” – Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen on how quickly Pirates management went out to improve the left side of the infield following injuries to Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer.