Jason Beck has confirmed an earlier report that the Tigers have inquired about former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but he says there have been no negotiations as of yet. I thought at the beginning of the off-season that the Tigers might have interest in Ramirez for for some good and not so good reasons.
Dave Dombrowski has said that he wouldn't be uncomfortable with a platoon of Don Kelly and Brandon Inge at third, but they could certainly use more offense at the position. It would become even more of a need if they are unable to upgrade at second. The right-handed batting Ramirez can hit for both average in power batting .306 with 26 homers and a .871 OPS in 2011. Over the last three years, he has hit .286, averaged 22 homers and posted a .835 OPS.
On the negative side, Ramirez is 33 years old and has been injury prone averaging just 118 games per year since 2009. By all accounts, he also is a below average defender. His advanced fielding statistics were not pretty in 2011(-9 Total Zone, -9 UZR and -12 DRS) and have been sub-par since 2008.
Ramirez would seem to be the type of the big name hitter that Mike Illitch earlier suggested he would like to see, yet would not approach the $20 million per year contract which the Tigers probably can't afford. His shortcomings - lack of patience at the plate and poor defense at a corner - are ones which the Tigers have been willing to tolerate if the offensive production is sufficient.
It would probably take at least a three-year deal at over $40 million to sign him. If Illitch is willing to add that kind of money and still allow Dombrowski to make a couple of upgrades elsewhere, then it might not be an awful move. However, if their payroll stays the same, it doesn't sound like a move that would work out well.