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updated: 12/15/2011 6:23 AM

How will the Cubs survive without Ramirez?

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  • Aramis Ramirez did very little the last two seasons for the Cubs to make him irreplaceable.

      Aramis Ramirez did very little the last two seasons for the Cubs to make him irreplaceable.
    STEVE LUNDY | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Rozner on 2012 Cubs resolutions

 
 

The Cubs probably shouldn't play the 2012 season.

No, seriously.

Based on the reaction of some Cubs followers, they probably ought to fold the franchise after the loss of future Hall of Famer Aramis Ramirez.

Yes, they are going to miss him that much -- if you believe the response.

Next thing you know we'll hear they can't live without Reed Johnson and Koyie Hill.

If the Cubs had a chance to win the World Series next season, perhaps you could make a case for keeping Ramirez on a one-year deal.

But he wasn't going to take that and -- by the way -- the Cubs aren't going to win the World Series next year.

So what exactly did the Cubs accomplish with Ramirez the last two seasons that makes him so irreplaceable? And spare me the "lousy team" argument. You're fighting your own case because that's the whole point.

The Cubs are so far away that they don't need to waste any more money on a dog like Ramirez. If Ramirez stayed and played up to his typical performance, it wouldn't put them any closer to the World Series.

So they'll miss Ramirez?

With him they finished 32 games under .500 the last two years and 41 games out of first, and if they spent $36 million for three years on Ramirez as the Brewers just did, what could they hope for next season?

Consider how Ramirez performed the last two seasons, when he averaged 136 games with a .277 average, 26 homers, 88 RBI and an .814 OPS, numbers good enough to fool most MLB execs.

But anyone who actually watches the games -- as most Cubs fans do -- knows that in 2010, Ramirez through the first three months hit .178 with 6 homers, 23 RBI and a .538 OPS. By then the Cubs were 11 under and 11 out.

The final three months with the Cubs firmly out of it, Ramirez caught fire, hitting .294 with 19 homers, 60 RBI and a .922 OPS.

And most Cubs fans know that in 2011, Ramirez through the first half hit .291 with 9 homers, 38 RBI and a .790 OPS. By then, the Cubs were 16 under and 12 out.

In the second half, with the Cubs firmly out of it, Ramirez tore up the league, hitting .322 with 17 homers, 55 RBI and a .954 OPS.

Few can forget the 2007-08 playoff seasons, when he went 2-for-23 (.086) with zero homers and zero RBI against Arizona and Los Angeles. He did, however, score 1 run while the Cubs were getting swept in both series, so that's a positive.

Maybe you'll miss his defense, where he has the range of Ron Cey at third base. No, not bad Ron Cey circa 1984. We're talking Ron Cey today at age 63.

By just about any measure, Ramirez is among the worst fielding third basemen in the game.

Let's see, there's also the part about him being selfish at the plate and in the clubhouse, a bad example for the youngsters, and he rarely -- if ever -- hustles on the bases, while taking time off whenever he feels like it. His late scratches were the stuff of legend.

Yes, this is a baseball player who should be truly missed on the North Side of Chicago.

It's so disheartening with Aramis Ramirez gone, Tom Ricketts ought to consider petitioning for a canceled season.

Or, throw a party.

Maiden break

Horse racing fans are going to enjoy HBO's "Luck," which ran a special premiere Sunday night and returns Jan. 29 for its first full season.

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina, to name just a few, and written by thoroughbred owner David Milch, it has a chance to be very good.

It also gives us a chance to wonder again when Milch is going to write that long promised conclusion to "Deadwood."

Backup QB

Besides explaining to the team website that there wasn't a single decent backup QB anywhere on the planet the last three years, GM Jerry Angelo said that for next year, "We'll address that."

Of Caleb Hanie, Angelo said, "We've lost three games with Caleb as our quarterback, and I've said from the onset a big part of judging a quarterback is based on winning … For me to say anything other than he needs to improve would be wrong. He's got to do a better job, make more plays and help us win a game."

Tebow fatigue

Barrington emailer Steve Hilmer: "Can we move on, please? The Tim Tebow story is now officially as annoying as the Kardashians."

Just wondering

The Marlins signed Aaron Rowand. Can Pablo Ozuna be far behind?

Just thinking

The U.S. politely asked Iran to return the drone. If this works, the Cubs should politely ask Carlos Zambrano to return his salary.

And finally …

Omaha World Herald's Brad Dickson: "Brett Favre said he has 'no plans to play organized football.' So apparently he's going to the Indianapolis Colts."

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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