Cubs analyst Todd Hollandsworth slams Aramis Ramirez

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Whether’s it’s Manny, Hanley, Ramon or now Aramis, slamming a Ramirez is simply the in thing to do in baseball these days.

Cubs analyst Todd Hollandsworth, who works in the studio for Comcast Sportsnet, decided to take on Aramis Ramirez on “The McNeil and Spiegel Show” this morning.  The Chicago Tribune has the quotes:

When you’ve got your best player — he’s your best hitter, we’ve watched it for years now — and you can’t seem to have a positive effect on the guys around you in your clubhouse, getting them to step up or play to a different level, it’s just hard for me to swallow, especially when you’re being paid to be that guy.

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. 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.

How much better are they supposed to get, Todd?  Barney has performed better as a rookie than his minor league numbers suggested he would.   Castro made the All-Star team as a 21-year-old sophomore.  If Hollandsworth is saying that they haven’t gotten any better from April through August, then maybe he has a point.  But who makes judgments based on such things?

Ramirez has taken more than his fair share of criticism this year.  He got off to a terrible start, he opted out after being asked to the All-Star Game as a last-minute replacement and he decided to use his no-trade clause rather than accept a trade that might help the Cubs in 2012 and beyond.

Yet, here he is in mid-August with 21 homers and 71 RBI.  In a year in which pretty much every NL third baseman has gotten hurt, he’s played in 110 games and posted an .830 OPS.  The only third basemen with higher OPSs are Pablo Sandoval, Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez, and two of those guys have missed big chunks of the season.

Maybe Ramirez could be a bigger influence in the clubhouse, but the Cubs knew exactly what kind of person he was when they re-signed him after the 2006 season.  It was the second big contract they gave him, and he’s lived up to it with his play on the field.  To suggest that he’s the problem just doesn’t make any sense at all.

Padres are the “clear-cut favorites” for Eric Hosmer

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Diego Padres and Eric Hosmer have had two face-to-face meetings in recent days and that, as a result, they are the “clear-cut favorites” to land the free agent first baseman.

This would be a pretty big splash for a team that has not, in recent years, made many big splashes on the free agent market, instead focusing on rebuilding from within. The Padres, however, are reported to view Hosmer as a “culture-changer,” who they believe can be the leader of a club they think is ready to turn the corner. If they did sign him, his deal would eclipse — maybe even come near doubling — the largest contract ever handed out by the Padres, which was the $83 million deal given to Wil Myers a year ago. Signing Hosmer would also force Myers off of first base and back to the outfield, which is something he has said recently he’d be willing to do to help the team.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year in 2017, hitting .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers. There have been suggestions that he’s still open to returning to the Royals, though they are about to embark on a rebuild. He has also reportedly had discussions with the Red Sox, who Nightengale says are “still lurking.”