First, Aramis Ramirez indicated that he wouldn’t be accepting a trade out of Chicago. He loved the city and the team, and he wanted to stay a Cub forever.
Then, Ramirez softened, and suggested that he might be willing to accept a trade in August, after his family had returned to the Dominican Republic.
Then, Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said that not only would Ramirez definitely consider a trade in August, but also suggested that Ramirez might well consider one before that time. In fact, Kinzer went so far as to say that Ramirez would agree to waive his 2012 option in order to help a deal happen.
Then, Ramirez and Kinzer met with Cubs brass, who left feeling like Ramirez would not accept a trade at any time. Ramirez even said he wanted to sign an extension to stay in Chicago.
Then, yesterday, Ramirez said the Cubs hadn’t approached him about a trade, but, if they did, Ramirez would consider it.
Then, last night, Kinzer said Ramirez hasn’t changed his stance (which time?), and does not want to be traded. Confused/frustrated yet?
“He doesn’t want to go anywhere,” Kinzer told FOXSports.com after speaking with Ramirez on Thursday night. “It didn’t come out the way he meant it to.”
“Nothing has changed,” Kinzer continued. “[Ramirez] said if [the Cubs] go young, he would do it. But he doesn’t want to leave Chicago. He isn’t going anywhere. [Ramirez] has never wavered as far as wanting to stay in Chicago. If he had his way, he would sign an extension and stay right there.”
Those words, of course, are a near opposite of what Ramirez said after yesterday’s game. The money quotes were: (1) “They come to me with a trade, we’ll see, but nobody has talked to me about it;” and (2) “I understand it’s a business. If they’re looking to rebuild, I can’t fit in. So we’ll see.”
It’s not like it takes seven layers of parsing to conclude that Ramirez is saying he’d consider accepting a trade. Now, his agent says Ramirez’s words came out wrong, and Ramirez meant the exact opposite. If your head is spinning, you’re not alone.
I’m told by a Major League source that Ramirez’s comments struck a chord with a number of teams, who started lighting the Cubs’ phones back up to check on Ramirez’s availability. I haven’t heard the impact of Kinzer’s statement last night, but the Cubs are growing weary of the back-and-forth being played out in the media. So much so, the source says, that the Cubs might be to the point where they will do what they can to force a trade.
It’s hard to understand Ramirez’s perspective on this thing. I try to take what people say at face value, and I try to remember that these are real people, with real families, and real lives that exist outside of the baseball diamond. So I recognize that there could be some internal conflict. But, at the same time, get on the same page with your agent, and get a clear message across.
At this point, despite his statements, I still don’t feel like I know what Ramirez’s real endgame is here. Is he trying to tell the Cubs that he wants an extension, and thinks that by yo-yoing them, he gains leverage? Is he trying to force his way out so that his 2012 option goes away, and he enters a really weak free agent market? I truly can’t figure it out, and maybe Ramirez doesn’t fully know what he wants either. Maybe he’d prefer to stay with the Cubs long-term, but, if that isn’t going to happen, he’d think about accepting a trade. So the message comes out garbled. I’m just spit-balling here.
Whatever the case, the Cubs better make sure to be on the same page as Ramirez in the next two days. If he would accept a trade, the Cubs need to know that, and to act on it. If he absolutely will not accept a trade, the Cubs need to figure out what they want to do at third base in 2012 and beyond.
They’re running out of time.