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MLB Trade Rumors: Should the Phillies Sign Aramis Ramirez?

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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Chicago Cubs connects for a RBI double during the game against the Cincinnati Reds on September 12, 2011 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 12: Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Chicago Cubs connects for a RBI double during the game against the Cincinnati Reds on September 12, 2011 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
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It is no secret that the Phillies offense struggled this season and in the postseason, and they were shut out at home in the decisive 5th game of the NLDS by Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter. Not only did they get shut out, they lost their first baseman, Ryan Howard to a torn achilles, that will result in him starting the 2012 season on the DL. He could miss the first month of the season, and possibly longer.

Before the 2011 season started, many questioned the impact of the loss of Jayson Werth to the big money in Washington, as he was one of the few right handed hitters in the lineup, and maybe they missed him more than we all know. Some wanted the Phillies to trade for a right handed hitter at the trade deadline and they went out and traded for Hunter Pence, but even he could not help the Phillies get past the hot Cardinals in the NLDS.

More on the Phillies possibly targeting Aramis Ramirez after the jump:

The Phillies did win a team record 102 games in 2011, even after dealing with injuries to Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Howard. I have previously written about Utley's decline here and Howard's decline here, so it might behoove the Phillies to upgrade their lineup this offseason. With the drop in power for Utley, Howard, and even newly acquired Hunter Pence this season, could the Phillies look to sign a power hitter in the offseason? Phillies manager Charlie Manuel certainly hopes so, and he is targeting a third baseman. This from from Nate Link over at MLB.com:

After the Phillies struggled to keep their everyday third baseman on the field the last two seasons, manager Charlie Manuel voiced his support of an upgrade on Wednesday.

"If we need to upgrade and we can, we should do it," Manuel said on Wednesday.

Placido Polanco is guaranteed $6.25 million next season, but that shouldn't handcuff the Phillies from exploring other options. Manuel doesn't think the Phillies necessarily need a power-hitting third baseman, but age and durability are factors they will consider when assessing the offseason shopping list.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro will deny the idea of upgrading at third base a few times and then he will go out and sign Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez has had a solid career in Chicago and will turn 34 next June, but he has never hit less than 25 home runs or driven in less than 83 runs when healthy. Here are his yearly HR/RBI/BA stats since joining the Cubs back in 2004:

2004- 36/103/.318

2005- 31/92/.302

2006- 38/119/.291

2007- 26/101/.310

2008- 27/111/.289

2009- 15/65/.317- played only 82 games

2010- 25/83/.241

2011- 26/93/.306

Ramirez has averaged 28 HRs, 96 RBI and around a .290 BA while in his 8 seasons in Chicago, and could improve upon those numbers hitting in Citizen's Bank Park in 2012. He isn't great in the infield, but the Phillies have Placido Polanco as a late inning replacement, and utility player, should they sign Ramirez.

Signing Ramirez gives Manuel his upgrade at third base, and improves the middle of the Phillies lineup that will need a cleanup hitter until Howard is healthy in 2012. The Phillies lineup could look like this, assuming they resign Jimmy Rollins:

Jimmy Rollins

Chase Utley

Hunter Pence

Ryan Howard

Aramis Ramirez

Shane Victorino

John Mayberry Jr.

Carlos Ruiz

Rollins returning to Philadelphia is a story for another day, as there will be plenty of teams looking to sign him, but maybe not for 5 years.

Should the Phillies sign Aramis Ramirez this offseason?