Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez has missed the last five games with a sore right quad, and as he rests, he contemplates his future. His contract runs through this season, but contains a player option for next year – at the princely sum of $14.6 million (with a team option for 2012, which itself contains a $2 million buyout, so by exercising his 2011 option, he actually gets a minimum of $16.6 million). He’d be crazy not to exercise the option, right?
He’s still thinking about it.
Ramirez has a player option for next year. Given what for him has been a down year, some of it due to injury, it would seem sensible that he’d pick up the option. However, he remains publicly noncommittal.
“That’s going to be after the season,” he said. “I don’t know exactly when. I haven’t talked to my agent about it. They’ve got a lot of other things they have to address. I’m still under contract. We’ll see.”
When asked how much longer he would play, he gave what may seem a surprising answer.
“It won’t be very long,” he said. “I’m missing a lot of time away from my family. I’m 32, and I’ve got 12 years in the league, so I don’t know exactly how long I will play, but it won’t be very long.” Daily Herald.
Could Ramirez sign a free agent deal for more than $16.6 million? Of course. But over how many season? Two? Three? It still seems overwhelmingly likely that Ramirez will take his big paycheck for 2011, and then try to sign one final contract in 2012 – with the Cubs or otherwise.
So what could be holding up his 2011 decision? He says it isn’t the managerial selection process, so what else is there?
My guess is that it’s the makeup of the team. Right now, the 2011 Cubs are a mystery – not so much in terms of core personnel, mind you, as so many guys are still under contract for next year. No, the mystery lies in the complementary pieces, the total money spent, and the overall competitiveness of the club. Maybe Ramirez wants to spend as much time as possible gauging what the team will look like next year before he agrees to be a part of it – big money or no big money.