CINCINNATI -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is as surprised as anybody to see his name popping up in trade rumors."I just signed here, a three-year deal, so the last thing I expect is to be traded" Ramirez said. "Rumors are rumors. I've been traded before, so I know how things go. I've been around for a while, and I can't let that bother me at all." He knows anything can happen. The Brewers have fallen further out of the National League Central race, and Ramirez doesn't have any no-trade protection. "I could be gone tomorrow," he said. The Dodgers are among the teams interested in Ramirez should the Brewers decide to sell, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The Dodgers could also be a fit for Zack Greinke, and have had a scout at recent Brewers games even though Milwaukee and Los Angeles do not meet again this season. But Ramirez would be a tough trade for the Brewers considering his value as their starting third baseman and cleanup hitter. They signed him in December to a back-loaded deal of $36 million over three years. Ramirez has been productive at the plate, batting .274 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs, though he's dropped off in on-base percentage and slugging percentage from his final season with the Cubs. Ramirez entered Sunday second in the NL with 30 doubles, on pace to challenge Lyle Overbay's club record of 53 doubles in 2004. Ramirez has also been solid in the field, with five errors this season and none since May 15. His .970 fielding percentage trails only the Phillies' Placido Polanco among Major League third basemen, and Ramirez's ultimate zone rating on Fangraphs.com places him right in the middle of the pack. "His hands are great, his arm's great," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Almost every single throw is perfect. He hurt us in the field last year [with the Cubs]. He made some diving plays against us. He didn't miss anything." The Brewers would not have an obvious replacement for Ramirez should they opt to trade him. Taylor Green struggled in inconsistent duty during the first half and was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Minor League journeyman Andy Gonzalez has been playing third for the Sounds.
Roenicke aims to keep Brewers focused
CINCINNATI -- Brewers-related trade rumors are sure to pick up after their series loss to the first-place Reds, a fact of baseball life that manager Ron Roenicke conceded will pose an additional challenge to his team."Oh, sure, it's a possible distraction," Roenicke said. "These guys talk all the time. They watch ESPN and MLB [Network], and the talks are going on every day. You can't not ever think about those kind of things. "I think [players] get used to so much talk going on. Some things do happen, most of the things don't happen. They realize a lot of it's speculation. They realize they still have a job to do." Losses in the first two games of a weekend series in Cincinnati dropped the Brewers 9 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central. The real trouble is that they trail three teams: The Reds, Pirates and Cardinals. "It's really hard," Roenicke said. "If you're just trying to chase one team, you're OK. You just have to get hot, they get a little cold spell, and maybe play a lot of games head to head. When you're facing three teams and you're down by a bit, it makes it difficult." Roenicke remains hopeful of a turnaround. "You never know when your team's going to click," Roenicke said "You look at last year with St. Louis and what they did. You can take it all the way to the last month of the season and be 'out of it' basically, and next thing you know, you do what they ended up doing last year." The 2011 Cardinals added players during the summer, including shortstop Rafael Furcal and a group of relievers.
Brewers agree to deal with prospect Leal
CINCINNATI -- The Brewers reached an agreement earlier this month with 16-year-old pitching prospect Yosmer Leal, a right-hander from Venezuela who still must pass a physical exam and Major League Baseball's age investigation.Leal received a $370,000 bonus, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, which would be one of the richest deals in Brewers history for a Latin American player. Assuming he passes MLB's investigation, standard procedure for all Latin American signees, Leal would begin his career at the Brewers' new academy in the Dominican Republic.