The Dodgers and shortstop Hanley Ramirez could get a contract extension done over the winter, reports Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes. Ramirez has one more year and $16 million remaining on the six-year, $70 million extension he signed with the Marlins back in May 2008.
Ramirez turns 30 years old in December. Despite injuries limiting his playing time in 2011 (shoulder surgery) and 2013 (thumb surgery, strained hamstring), he is rated as the second-best hitting shortstop in baseball since 2011, according to FanGraphs. Going by weighted on-base average (wOBA), Ramirez’s .353 mark trails only Troy Tulowitzki (.390).
Ramirez was a big reason why the Dodgers were able to get past the Braves in the 2013 NLDS. In four games, Ramirez had eight hits (six of them for extra bases) in 18 trips to the plate. Unfortunately, he was hit in the ribs by Cardinals starter Joe Kelly in Game 1 of the NLCS, which rendered him ineffective for the rest of the series. However, his post-season performance will be yet one more factor in Ramirez’s favor when negotiating a new contract. Also relevant is the contract shortstop Jhonny Peralta just signed with the Cardinals — $52 million over four years — as Ramirez is considered to be of a higher grade.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.