Aramis Ramirez, the two-time All-Star third baseman, is in his 16th major league season. June has arrived, and his Milwaukee Brewers are last in the National League Central.
He knows the trade rumors are coming.
“If we don’t turn this around, sooner rather than later, it’s going to happen,” Ramirez told FOXSports.com Friday, before his team began a weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies. “It’s part of baseball. When teams don’t perform, you see changes. If we don’t turn this around quick, it’s the natural thing.”
Ramirez, who turns 35 in late June, could become part of those changes. He’s scheduled to earn $16 million next season in the final year of his contract. And he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, unlike his final years with the Chicago Cubs.
Whereas Ramirez said publicly that he would block any effort by the Cubs to trade him in 2011, he acknowledged Friday that he would have “no choice” but to accept a trade if the Brewers dealt him now.
“I can’t control that, so I can’t worry about it,” he said, standing at his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park. “The only thing I can control is playing the game down here. If I get traded, that’s part of baseball.”
Ramirez carries a certain amount of injury risk; he missed 23 games earlier this season while on the disabled list with a sprained left knee. But he’s been productive since his return, entering Friday with an .899 OPS in 24 games.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds are among the teams that could look to upgrade at third base before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Teams with left-handed-dominant lineups would have particular interest in Ramirez, who has a career .895 OPS against left-handed pitching.
“That’s up to the GM and front office to decide,” Ramirez said. “I’ve been in trade rumors before. I’ve been traded before. Nothing surprises me. I’m ready for everything.”
Ramirez said he will fulfill his contract by playing the 2014 season but isn’t sure if he will continue his career beyond that. “Next year is the last year of my contract,” he said. “We’ll see what happens after that. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. After next year, I’ll see how my body feels.”
Ramirez has indicated in the past that he prefers to play on the eastern half of the United States or Canada, within a reasonable flight of his native Dominican Republic. “For every Dominican guy, they like to stay on the East Coast,” he said. “But I’ve played everywhere and been around for a while, so I’ll manage.”
The Brewers’ other corner infielder — Corey Hart — could become a trade candidate if he produces after he comes off the disabled list. Hart has yet to play this season because of a torn meniscus in his right knee but is expected to return before the trade deadline.