If the Chicago Cubs fall out of contention by mid to late June (10 games or more out), I’ve heard from more than one source that they’ll be pulling the plug on 2011, and planning for 2012. That means, among other things, they’ll start dumping players who aren’t in the plans for 2012.
One such player that may not be back is third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez, who is a free agent after the season (unless the Cubs exercise their $16 million option (yikes)), has underwhelmed so far this year. His lack of power and production have been rivaled only by his apparent lack of desire. No player looks more uninterested in baseball right now, which is, on some level, an unfair criticism (how can you really tell where a guy’s heart is?). But, fair or not, Ramirez simply doesn’t appear to be interested in playing.
So, for a number of reasons, the Cubs would probably love to move Ramirez around the trade deadline if they’re out of the race. But, Jayson Stark says, it’s not likely to happen.
If the Cubs don’t get back on track, one potential trade target we’ve heard people speculating about is Aramis Ramirez. But you can wipe him off your list right now.
First off, Ramirez has complete veto power over any trade. Second, if he gets traded, it vests his $16 million option for next year, but still gives him the right to opt out of his contract in search of a multiyear deal. So any team interested in trading for him would, essentially, have to pay him long-term free-agent-market dollars to get him to stick around, plus give the Cubs a significant prospect or two. Chances of that happening? None, we’d say.
It’s possible that a team would be willing to trade for Ramirez knowing that they’re either not going to have him for 2012, or they’re going to be paying hime $16 million. It’s also possible that the Cubs could send some money along with Ramirez, and he could agree in advance not to opt out.
Ramirez’s passion for the game could become a real issue, though. If he’s not interested in playing beyond this year, as he’s suggested at times in the past, he’s just as likely to veto a trade so he can finish out his time in Chicago, and then move on.