Brewers agree to three-year deal with Aramis Ramirez

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Milwaukee may not have Ryan Braun for the first 50 games of 2012, but it looks like there will still be a right-handed slugger in the middle of the Brewers’ lineup.

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the Brewers have agreed to a three-year contract with Aramis Ramirez, pending a physical exam.

Milwaukee has been linked to Ramirez for weeks now as a middle-of-the-lineup replacement for Prince Fielder, although there was some speculation that Francisco Rodriguez accepting arbitration could have eaten up the payroll space necessary to sign Ramirez.

He won’t be able to fully replace Fielder’s production, of course, but Ramirez is coming off a very good season and has posted an OPS above .850 in seven of the past eight years. He hit .306 with 26 homers and an .871 OPS in 149 games this year, while Fielder batted .299 with 38 homers and a .981 OPS.

Ramirez declined the Cubs’ arbitration offer, so they’ll receive a supplemental first-round pick for him signing elsewhere.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com confirms the deal and says it’s expected to be worth $34-37 million.

UPDATE II: Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the deal includes a mutual option for a fourth year.

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

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The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.