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Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs online sphere blew up reporting that third baseman Aramis Ramirez was likely to exercise his $14.6 million player option at the end of this year, to remain with the Cubs in 2011.

I did not immediately report this factoid. Why? Because I’ve been assuming he’d exercise the option since he was hitting a buck-fifty in May. In fact, I thought it was so obvious that I was assuming you all were assuming the same. But now that it’s being reported everywhere like it’s the hottest scoop in town, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it.

Ramirez, who was named National League Player of the Week on Monday, stopped just short of assurances that he’ll pick up the option.

”I want to stay here, but I’ve still got two months,” he said. ”I haven’t talked to my agent about it. But everybody knows I want to stay here. I guess I’m staying here [in 2011].”

Between baseball’s salary recession and Ramirez’s miserable first half, it would be shocking if he opted out of the contract.

His agent, Paul Kinzer, is well respected, has several Cubs among his clients and has a good relationship with the team.

”And he has a place in Chicago,” Ramirez said. ”He don’t want me to leave here.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

Even if Ramirez continues to blow up the rest of the year, and even if the market changes dramatically, there’s no way he gets more than $14.6 million next year from another team (plus at least another $2 million in 2012 associated with a buyout that kicks in if he exercises the 2011 option; so it’s really more like a $16.6 million option).

Could he get a multi-year deal totaling more than that? Of course. But would he risk leaving all that money on the table? He’d be crazy to do so.

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