By Bruce Levine–
(CBS) — Three third basemen who were in the Cubs organization were a part of the 2014 All-Star Game. Of course, none of those are playing for the Cubs today. The team is still trying to fill the role with a great player 41 years after Hall of Famer Ron Santo was traded to the White Sox.
MIlwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez and Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison played for the National League All-Stars, while Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson started for the American League. Ramirez, who played for Chicago from 2003-’11, likes what he sees when he looks at his former club now.
“I see some very good young talent coming over there,” Ramirez said. “They have added (Javier) Baez to the talent that is there while (Anthony) Rizzo and (Starlin) Castro are having nice years. They appear to have some nice pieces now.”
Ramirez, playing in the last season of a three-year, $33-million contract in Milwaukee, isn’t sure how much longer he will continue to play. The Brewers and Ramirez both have options for the 2015 that can negate each other.
“I am not sure how much longer I will play,” Ramirez said. “I have a young family that needs me to be home more. I will play one more season but will probably look one at a time after that.”
Looking back at his Cub days, Ramirez is happy to see former teammate Castro having a resurgent 2014 season.
“He looks like the guy I played with over there,” said Ramirez, who is also represented by agent Paul Kinzer.
“You can tell he is having fun again. Last year he was out of sync, not looking like himself. He looks like he is more relaxed and he made the All-Star team again. That tells you he is back to enjoying the game.”
Ramirez, who has put up big numbers in his career, may be short of Hall of Fame numbers — but not by much. He ranks sixth all-time in home runs by a third baseman with 363.
The 37-year-old Dominican native also has his eye out for the next wave of outstanding third basemen.
“The Cubs have a good one coming in (Kris) Bryant,” he said. “I have not seen him but people who have tell me he will fit right in with these other young players the Cubs are developing.”
A three-time All-Star, Ramirez became the first Brewers third baseman to start an All-Star Game with his appearance in this year’s Midsummer Classic.