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.