Brewers will look at all angles to find Ramirez's replacement

Brewers will look at all angles to find Ramirez's replacement

PHOENIX -- Brewers officials weren't surprised Friday when Aramis Ramirez announced he intends to retire after this season. Club officials had already been thinking about who's on deck to play third base.

"You'd like to have a young guy [to take over]," GM Doug Melvin said. "We just don't have him right now. You never know. We've got depth at shortstop."

Here are some of the Brewers' options:

• If they look to free agency to fill the position, the list of available third basemen next winter is not particularly strong. It's led by Gordon Beckham, David Freese, Casey McGehee and Juan Uribe. Adrian Beltre might have joined this list, but the Rangers exercised his 2016 option this week.

• Internally, the Brewers' top backup to Ramirez for this season appears to be Luis Jimenez, claimed off waivers from the Angels in October after he hit 21 home runs at Triple-A last year. He's currently right behind Ramirez on the depth chart, and will also see action at first and second base in the Cactus League.

"We know he hits left-handers. He's always hit left-handers well," manager Ron Roenicke said. "But is he a guy that can play every day off righties and lefties? I don't know."

• The Brewers could also move one of their many promising young shortstops to third. Coaches plan to evaluate incumbent Hector Gomez and organizational newcomer Luis Sardinas at both second and third base this spring to see whether they can be bench options. And there's been speculation about an eventual move to third base for Gilbert Lara, who last year signed with the Brewers out of the Dominican Republic for a club-record $3.1 million bonus. But he's years away from the Majors, and Melvin indicated the Brewers plan to leave him at shortstop for the time being.

Entering this month, the Brewers' top third-base prospect was Nick Delmonico, the player acquired from the Orioles for Francisco Rodriguez in 2013. But Delmonico ran afoul of MLB's drug program and was released just before Spring Training. He re-signed with the White Sox.

"He didn't have it together," Melvin said. "That was the plan when we got him, that he was a guy who could play first or third."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.