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Aramis A Quiet Distraction?

By bullpenbrian at 08.18.2011 Leave a comment.

Two reasons my ears perked up last week when Todd Hollandsworth ripped Aramis for a lack of effort this season.

1.) Aramis has been a long time favorite player of mine.
2.) Aramis has been one of the few bright spots, on the field anyway, during a dismal season in Chicago.

But according to Hollandsworth, a Comcast SportsNet analyst, Ramirez’s veteran leadership isn’t living up to the expectations of his contract paying him a handsome $14.6M.

“…then you bring into question effort and that’s one thing in the game of baseball that really is inexcusable.  One hundred percent effort all the time, there’s really no reason for you not to have 100 percent effort,” Hollandsworth said. 

“He’s got impressionable kids around him right now: Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, these kids are growing up, they’re watching it and you know what, they’re not getting any better…It’s lasting, it’s long-term. I mean, that’s the way that it works.”

I’ve grown to respect Hollandsworth’s opinions. He’s been fair, candid, and observant analyzing the Cubs. When he talks, I listen.

So if Hollandsworth’s criticism of Aramis is true, which I suspect it is, then the Cubs have an easy decision this off season not to bring Ramirez back, especially not at his club option of $16M.

The troubling part is the Cubs certainly had offers to deal Aramis at the trade deadline. He was, after all, one of the majors hottest hitters in July.

Ramirez, however, chose to enforce his no-trade clause, which now knowing Hollandsworth’s view point, that decision seems a bit strange on Aramis’ part.

Make no mistake, Ramirez has earned the right to decline a trade, and I respect that right. But if Ramirez isn’t happy, isn’t giving his best, isn’t making the Cubs a better team…why pass on an opportunity to join a contender?

Family reasons, as Ramirez stated, is the much overused politically correct answer, but as usual, I figure money was the real issue at stake.

With a $16M dollar club option in place for 2012 vs. a $1M dollar clause for getting traded, Ramirez stands to earn more money playing out the string with Chicago. And if the Cubs are enabling him to play at his own pace and by his own rules, why bother moving?

Ramirez has it good with Chicago…and according to Hollandsworth, maybe too good.

+++

What the hell’s happened to advanced scouting?

Why would any respectable pitcher in the Major Leagues throw Aramis a first pitch strike?

He leads all of baseball with 11 first-pitch home runs, including his 2-run blast against Bud Norris Wednesday afternoon.

If there was ever an exception to getting ahead in the count, throwing a first pitch ball in the dirt to Aramis would be it.

Seriously, how many first-pitch home runs does the man need to hit before advanced scouts take notice, and pitchers execute it?

No wonder the Astros stink.

+++

Aramis hit two more HR at Houston this week giving him 40 career dingers at Minute Maid Park– the most among Houston’s opponents.

I’d love to know what it is he loves so much about hitting in the heart of Texas?

It can’t simply be Houston’s poor pitching, the Stros have only recently slumped to the league’s worst club. And of course the Cubs play at Houston several times throughout the season, but 40 home runs is still a lot.

I guess as long as Ramirez keeps swinging it there, who cares? I don’t need to know how a microwave works to understand it cooks my morning coffee. Home run, fresh perk…whatever, I’ll take it!

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