After weeks of apparent flip-flopping, yesterday, Aramis Ramirez did his best to put out the definitive statement on his desire to remain with the Chicago Cubs through the trade deadline and into 2012.

Problem is, the statement didn’t really sound much different than the confusing will-he-won’t-he remarks he made on Thursday.

“I think I was misunderstood yesterday,” Ramirez said. “I haven’t read the paper, but a couple of people have told me that the way it came out was like I want to leave, like I was ready to so somewhere else, and that’s not the case. All I want to say is, what I tried to say yesterday was, I talked to Jim a couple weeks ago, and we were on the same page. If he wants me here, then I want to stay here.

“I know I’m not out there; they’re not shopping me around. My whole point is I’m not on the market, as far as I know.”

But when asked flat out, if the Cubs came to him with a trade, would he veto the deal, Ramirez once again suggested he might accept a trade.

“That has to happen first. After that happens, I’ll see what’s going on.”

As for Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry, he was a little more pointed. But, even his comments suggest there’s more than meets the eye going on behind the scenes.

[Ramirez] has always expressed to me this is where he’d rather be, and his preference is to stay, and that’s really all there is to it,” Hendry said. “He won’t be traded by 3 o’clock on Sunday, and that’s his right. And that being said, he knows there’s no guarantee he’ll be back next year. And there’s no guarantee that he won’t be.”

Doesn’t that strike you as an odd way to say “we’re definitely not trading Aramis Ramirez this year”? Why say “he won’t be traded by 3 o’clock on Sunday” unless the possibility of an August trade, at a minimum, is being left open? Why say “he knows there’s no guarantee he’ll be back next year” unless you’re nudging him to accept a trade?

To me, Ramirez’s statements – all taken together – sound like someone who genuinely would prefer to stay in Chicago long-term, but who realizes that may not be possible (in part because his GM may not be back next year, and may not have the authority to commit to Ramirez beyond this year – more on this below). So, Ramirez wants to make clear that he’s not looking to leave. But, if the Cubs were actively pushing him out the door or looking to do a total rebuild next year, he would consider specific trades that they might bring to his attention.

Hendry’s statements sound like those of a guy who would like to make some moves – perhaps including pushing Ramirez out the door – but, for reasons unknown, cannot.

So, the question is: why aren’t the Cubs pushing Ramirez out the door?

I’m not entirely sure, but I have my guesses.

Primarily, I’d point to the parenthetical in the earlier paragraph. Imagine for a moment that everyone in the Cubs’ organization knows and accepts that Jim Hendry’s tenure with the Cubs will end after the season. Likewise, imagine that his replacement necessarily hasn’t been chosen yet, and Tom Ricketts wants that person (or persons, if the structure changes) to build the team his way – which may or may not include Aramis Ramirez.

By trading Ramirez, the Cubs close off the possibility of Ramirez manning third in 2012 for the Cubs, something which the new man in charge could deem necessary after he evaluates the Cubs’ prospects, trade possibilities, and free agency. Ramirez is in a unique situation being an older guy with an expensive club option for 2012, on a team that doesn’t quite know what direction it wants to take over the next couple years. It may not be as simple as Ricketts issuing an edict that Ramirez is to be forced out.

This theory certainly comports with Ramirez’s seemingly changing stance (it seems ever-changing because he’s not sure where he or Hendry stand) and Hendry’s bizarre way of saying Ramirez won’t be traded.

Add to all of that Ramirez’s genuine desire to remain with the Cubs, his no-trade rights, and the current front office’s affection for him, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a guy staying put when the wise thing to do for everyone would be to make a trade. Call it another form of Cubby Luck.

Were I a betting man, I’d say I’m pretty close, and I’d take all comers.

  • Fishin Phil

    Ehh, it’s not the worst thing in the world. As long as Hendry is not allowed to sign him to a 37 year extension, I’m OK with leaving Rami in place for the next GM to decide what to do with him. Besides, If allowed to trade him, you know Hendry would trade to the Cards for Theriot and Patterson.

    • Brett

      How much would it suck if Ramirez is left in place (not traded for a premium return right now), only to be allowed to walk at the end of the year when the next GM decides he’s not the right fit?

      • Michigan Goat

        Exactly, force him into a trade or pick up his option so he can be traded next year. Getting nothing out if him is the worse case senario.

      • Spencer

        Ramirez has a club option, right? So even if there *is* a new GM next year (which no one knows for sure so this entire post is just pure guesswork anyway), why couldn’t the Cubs hang on to him for this season, pick up the option for next season, and if the new GM says that he isn’t the right fit then trade him to a team in the offseason that might be more willing to part with better players since they would be getting him for the full season instead of two months.

        • Michigan Goat

          Because if we pick up his option he still has 5/10 rights and can block any trade, the new GM will decide if he is part if 2012 and worth the cost. As much as I wish we could trade him I think if we pick it up he’s here for all of 2012…

  • Andrewmoo

    And what will you think when Jim is back next year and we lose another 100 games and he says we are only one or two moves away?

    • Brett

      They would be collecting my brain fragments off of the surface of the moon.

  • philoe beddoe

    Pretty pathetic that the Phillies “add on ” guy would be the best guy on our whole team….Pence, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, Cliff Lee….we don’t have anyone close….and the Giants pitching staff is ridiculous….

    we are very far away….

  • Michigan Goat

    Could this also just be Hendry being a dick and not wanting to help the team by trading ARam

    • Brett

      Nah. He’s a professional, and I think he does care about the Cubs. Plus, he might have a future job riding on his performance (either with the Cubs in a different role, or another organization).

  • ry

    hey that is the way things work for the cubs, they never do things the right way and when they are presented with a good situation, they constantly fuck it up! constant failures is what they are and will be for a long time to come.

  • Spencer

    how about the fact that Ramirez might not get traded because he doesn’t want to play for another team? seems crazy, i know.

  • die hard

    Other idea…..move Rami to first after trading Pena….or….dont laugh….Soriano could play first because he came up as infielder……would keep head in game and result in better hitter

  • awesome

    if he really is allowed to eat most of Soriano and Z’s contracts if traded, that tells me Hendry will be back. he wouldn’t make moves like that without Ricky’s ok. this is the worse i’ve ever seen this organization.

  • ry

    ha ha ha, i feel like tom hanks in the money pit as he is stuck in the floor with regards to sorryano playing first; that moron has two left feet and two left hands, he would piss all over himself at first base, drop balls, punt balls, kick balls, anything and everything but make a play. we would be better off pulling a fat drunk beer belly out of the crowd to play first than sorryano.

  • marc

    I dont understand why we dont just tell him we’re going to get something good for you and sign you when your a free agent…. it’s a win-win…. If you want to be in chicago we’ll sign you plus have much better talent around you…

    • Andrew

      that actually does make a lot of sense, because if he does REALLY want to play in Chicago he would re-sign with us, and we’d get a decent prospect.

    • Ron

      I think that would be a scenario Wood would accept. team first.

    • marc

      you think hendry would be that smart though?

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