Finally, a definitive answer.

For weeks, it has been reported and assumed by everyone (except Bruce Levine) that Aramis Ramirez’s weighty 2012 club option ($16 million) would automatically vest if he is traded. If true, Ramirez’s 2012 option would prove a significant stumbling block to trading him this year. While a number of teams would like to add his bat, how many would be willing to take him on for 2012 at $16 million is uncertain. And, even if the Cubs could find such a team, the return they’d receive for Ramirez would be greatly reduced.

But now Bruce Levine is stating unequivocally something he’s been suggesting for a while: “Contrary to what has been widely reported about Ramirez’s contract, there is not an option year that kicks in if he’s traded. Here’s the thumbnail sketch of Ramirez’s contract. He has roughly $7 million left in salary for 2011. He, as well as the Cubs, hold[s] an option for 2012 at $16 million dollars. If the team doesn’t exercise its option, Ramirez is owed $2 million as a buyout. If he’s traded to another team, Ramirez receives a $1 million relocation bonus.”

So, the total financial commitment remaining to Ramirez, if he’s traded, is just about $10 million for the remainder of the 2011 season. Obviously that’s better than having the $16 million option attached, but it’s still a pretty significant chunk of change for a few months of play. I suspect that, in order to trade Ramirez, the Cubs would still have to kick in some cash if they wanted to receive a worthwhile set of prospects.

Levine adds that, while Ramirez has said he will not waive his no-trade rights, there are “rumblings” that he would do so in August, after his family has returned to the Dominican Republic for the Fall. I’ve read that elsewhere, as well. If the Cubs were to try and trade Ramirez in August – after the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 – he would either have to pass through waivers, or, if he is claimed on waivers, the Cubs could trade him only to the claiming team. If it comes to that, here’s hoping teams think his salary is too high for them to claim him on waivers.

  • Jeff

    I can’t see any scenario where it’s worth it to eat any portion of his salary unless the Cubs are getting a couple of high level prospects in return. Regardless of our opinion of his lackadaisical play in the field and seeming indifference to winning or losing, he is one of the hottest bats in the game right now and there aren’t many other options for teams that want to upgrade 3rd base. I’ve been all for trading him for the past two seasons, but it is definitely not worth it unless the Cubs get a haul back. It might just be me and my negative perception of all things Cubs this year, but all I seem to be hearing around the league is other teams wanting to pick the Cubs apart like vultures, and seemingly only willing to do so in order to offer the Cubs salary relief, and not give back any real package of prospects.

    • Brett

      So… you can see a scenario. :)

      For what it’s worth, the kinds of prospects I’m hearing being discussed (not quite yet solidly enough to report, mind you) would qualify as high level prospects.

      • Jeff

        I have read some reports with a more positive outlook. so I can see some scenarios. I am just baffled by some of the reports I’ve been reading. I think it was Jon Heyman who wrote the list ranking the trade value of some of the guys available. He had Josh Willingham higher than A-Ram and Carlos Pena, and I just wonder in what universe did Josh Willingham become an all star caliber bat? It seems more of the similar story of the Cubs valuing their own guys more than others do, but there doesn’t seem to be any common sense behind it. I can’t think of a better available first baseman than Pena, or a better third baseman than A-Ram, both can DH, and neither is bound beyond this year, how are more teams interested in Willingham if the Cubs are willing to eat salary? I just dont’ understand these type of things sometimes.

        • Brett

          I could be wrong, but I think that Heyman piece was from about a month ago. I think Ramirez’s value has skyrocketed since then.

          But it’s a good point – there isn’t a better 3B available (and some might say Ramirez is the best overall bat available, better than Beltran), or a better 1B available.

      • Cheryl

        I hope that the prospects the cubs are seeking are high level pitchers with whoever they trade.

  • die hard

    trade Pena…move Ramirez to first and keep him for next year….LaMehiu up from minors to play third….solves two problems

    • Ron Swanson

      Nope, pretty sure you’ve just created two new ones there, Die Hard.

  • http://BleacherNation Ramy16

    I think hendry and Ricketts are utterly complete fucking idiots and complement each other that away! Aramis is a huge fucking mistake! Look what he did today 3 more rbis trading your RBI guy is stupid

    • STG3

      Ok I understand he is your favorite player. Grace was mine and they got rid of him for nothing in the expansion draft and I was pissed. But if we can trade Ramirez for some Pitching and offensive prospects that can help us (because his trade value isn’t going to get any higher) it is worth the trade.

  • JB

    I think you have to trade ARAM…the only reason ARAM does’t want to waive his no trade clause is because its the only piece of negoiating he has to sign for a long term contract. If he doesn’t bark, he is at the whim of the Cubs and I can’t think of any organization that I would want running my life.

    To bring back ARAM, its going to be too expensive for what he is worth to the ballclub. Even if it sets the Cubs back, I think the most important thing here is a culture change. Ricketts needs to clean out the organization top to bottom and find baseball people to run the organizations. Look at the people that have been running this organization for that last 20 years…Hendry, McFail and Ed Lynch(a Met come on). I don’t think that any of the three of these general manager will have an opportunity to be inducted into the hall of fame with the moves they have made with the Cubs.

    Its easier for the Marlins, Rays and Rockies to start from scratch than it has been for the Cubs to turn the organization around. The Cubs are the team spends lavishly , while other organizations spend with a plan. I think moving forward that we should take a strategy(an it pains me to say this) but would the Cardinals do it? You are talking about an organization that has been a consistent winner with far less resources than the Cubs have for DECADES….why?

    Why have the Cardinals kicked the Cubs ass for the last half century?

    I think it’s culture and its not going to change until Mr. Ricketts decides to change it…

    Is he up for it?

  • Brett

    WOW: Ken Rosenthal now says that the 2012 option DOES vest if Ramirez is traded, but Ramirez would ask that the option be DROPPED as a condition to him approving a trade (so he can be a FA at the end of the year)! More on this later, but, like, wow. That’s shocking.

    • MichiganGoat

      If he’s asking that then it means he is open to being traded. If he doesnt want the option to automatically vest then we should be able to move him and get a decent return, this is good news.

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  • http://BleacherNation Ramy16

    Wow..aramis is doing great…you guys need to look at the overall picture..there’s is nobody to play 3rd base..THINK ABOUT IT

    • MichiganGoat

      Learn to except the inevitable, ARam will not be here next year, he won’t finish the season as a Cub. He clearly wants to be a free agent next year, he wants to get 5/80 (ala Beltran) contract, he isn’t giving any hometown discounts, he is not the Cubs future. We may not have a player that can produce like ARam has over the past month and half, but we will never know what we have if ARam is still start. Start going through the stages of grief now, and say your goodbyes.

  • http://BleacherNation Ramy16

    Believe me Michigan Goat iam:(