I take Aramis Ramirez’s claim that he’s ‘probably’ played his last game at Wrigley Field with a grain of salt.
If anything, Ramirez and his agent, Paul Kinzer, are posturing for a new deal with Chicago, likely in the area of three to four more years, knowing the Cubs are without a viable option to fill his departure at third base.
Although Aramis appears peeved with the Cubs front office in a state of flux, he’s clearly the top-billing for free agent third basemen entering the offseason.
That alone should keep Ramirez patient enough to see who Ricketts hires as his new GM, and what offer, if any, is presented to him following the season.
Going the free agent route to replace Ramirez is hardly an option for the Cubs. The 2012 F.A. class is mostly a mix of washed-up veterans and journeymen including: Wilson Betemit KC, Casey Blake LAD, Eric Chavez NYY, Mark DeRosa SF, Greg Dobbs PHI, Edwin Encarnacion TOR, Wes Helms FLA, Melvin Mora ARI & Miguel Tejada.
Given the year Aramis has put together offensively, .306, 25 HR & 92 RBI, you can see why he’s in the driver’s seat at the bargaining table this winter, which further explains his grandstanding tactics as the season draws to a close.
So the question is whether or not Aramis, at age 33, is worth another big contract? In the short term, I believe the answer is yes.
But depending on who the new GM is, Ramirez may be viewed as a casualty of cutting payroll in favor of going the youth route.
Aramis has fairly earned the right to leverage a new deal, but how he figures into the Cubs plans is yet to be determined.
If Aramis truly wants to return a Cub, as he claims to, then like the rest of us, he’ll just have to wait and see where Team Ricketts wants to spend their money.
Knowing Ricketts desire to win, and soon, that should be worth waiting around for, grandstanding aside.