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When third baseman Chipper Jones went down last week with a torn ACL, the Atlanta Braves began scrambling to replace his production as they fought to hold onto their lead in the NL East.

And that scrambling has taken them to the Chicago Cubs and third baseman Aramis Ramirez, according to sources at Braves blog Talking Chop. Ramirez, as we know, is plodding through his worst season since before he joined the Cubs in 2003. A deep bone bruise in his left thumb has seemingly robbed him of both his power and his preternatural contact ability. Still, he’s put up an OPS over .800 in each of June, July, and August, and he remains one of the preeminent third baseman in baseball, so the Braves’ interest is not shocking.

Ramirez is due another $3 million or so over the rest of this season, and has a $14.6 million player option for 2011 (plus a $16 million team option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout; so he’d be owed at least $16.6 million if he exercises the 2011 option). Clearly, if the Cubs make a move, it will be all about saving money, because they do not have a third baseman of the future waiting in the wings. Former first round pick Josh Vitters is still not close to making his Major League debut, and Blake DeWitt, a natural third baseman, does not have a big league bat at third base. Dumping Ramirez, no matter how much money the Cubs “save” in the deal, is going to make 2011 that much more difficult.

As for the technicalities of a Ramirez trade, the Cubs would first have to put Ramirez on waivers (if they haven’t already), and hope that a team with a worse record than the Braves does not claim him. Then, if claimed by the Braves, the two sides would be free to work out a deal.

  • Dean

    Next year could be worse than this year, even with Ramirez. The Cubs first order of business has to be shedding payroll so they can rebuild. Moving Ramirez for prospects would be another step in the right direction. If you keep him for next season, you are going to lose him to free agency at the end of the year. There is no way the Cubs should re-sign him once he contract is up.

    The best thing the Cubs can do is look to 2012 and beyond, because the payroll hole that Hendry has put them in has completely handcuffed them for next year.

  • jstraw

    Hendry says he’s not rebuilding and if he can’t or won’t offload Soriano or Fukudome (or Zambrano, for that matter) then I don’t really see the point in dealing Rami unless he can package at least one of those other contacts in the deal. Sure…if Vitters was ready to play but he’s not and shouldn’t be rushed. This is not a good idea.

    • Tanner

      I agree with you. If he really isn’t “rebuilding” then he wont trade him. It will be a LONG LONG year next year if aram isn’t there. They look so long for a good 3b and they finally got him, and they would want to trade him? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Tanner

      I agree with you. If he really isn’t “rebuilding” then he wont trade him. It will be a LONG LONG year next year if aram isn’t there. They look so long for a good 3b and they finally got him, and they would want to trade him? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

      • brian

        I know that previously I’ve said shit about Ryne being our next manager… well if he is not i will boycott the Cubs, not deny my fandom but boycott. I know, I know, no experience, but he has been bred to be our next manager and if Rickets loses him then he is more than willing to pass on this team and return them to the lovable losers. I WILL RIGHT IN CAPS BECAUSE I DO NOT LIKE LOSING…give Ryne a chance, I’ve been debating on starting a petition but people need to sign

        • jstraw

          Lose him to who?

          • brian

            Do you honestly believe that if Ryne is passed up he will remain within the Cubs organization, as soon as an offer is given I have to believe that he will take it.

            • Ace

              I agree with both of you. I think if Sandberg doesn’t get this gig, he’s not going to be content to stay in Iowa. Either he’ll settle for a bench job with the Cubs, or he’ll campaign heavily for another ML opening.

              • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/5852bc213455ece7bea7cbbb56eaf333.png Lokanna

                Wasn’t there talk about him considering Baltimore before Buck took the gig? I think that just shows how hungry he is to coach pro ball. I’m all for 23 coming up and gracing Wrigley with his presence. It was a fun ride while he played, and I for one can’t wait for him to be our coach!

                • jstraw

                  I think he’d be a great coach. Or did you mean manager? You know he is managing in pro ball, right?

              • jstraw

                I don’t think he’s on anyone else’s short list. He’s only on the Cubs’ because of his history. Being groomed in this organization doesn’t mean a thing to other clubs in my opinion.

                • brian

                  I just don’t want to see him on some other club that ends up contending, I would be heartbroken and so would everyone else. I just think that the Cubs are entering a rebuilding phase and Ryne knows most of these kids. If he is passed up I just don’t see anything good coming from it. Besides, there is no one out there currently who will be coming here, Girardi will be the Yankee’s skipper (especially if they win), Torre will not come to Chicago, LaRussa will NEVER coach the Cubs (F$#k him anyways), and I could go on but it doesn’t matter bring on Ryne.

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