Late last night, Aramis Ramirez reiterated something he’s been suggesting for some time – namely, that he plans to head to free agency if the Cubs don’t sign him to a multiyear extension.

Today, his agent took the rhetoric up another notch after meeting with Cubs’ interim GM Randy Bush.

“Randy and I had a great conversation about Aramis,” Kinzer told ESPNChicago. “We also talked about the other players I represent [on the Cubs, including Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro].

“I let Randy and [Chairman and Owner] Tom Ricketts know that we’re going to test the free-agent market. I also told them the Cubs would be on our short list to return if they’re interested in signing us.

“Both Tom and Randy were receptive to our conversation, but they said any decision on the team going forward would have to be made by the new general manager,” Kinzer said. “There’s no doubt Aramis will be one of the top free agents to hit the market in November, and we’ll be looking for a three or four-year deal.”

You’ll recall that the Cubs hold a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012, but, if the Cubs exercise the option, Ramirez can void the contract. The option comes with a $2 million buyout, which would be forfeited if Ramirez voids the contract. And, it seems to me that Ramirez’s agent just cost his client that $2 million.

If Ramirez is absolutely intent on testing free agency, as he says he is, the Cubs can happily pick up Ramirez’s option, rather than declining it and paying Ramirez his $2 million buyout. Ramirez will then follow through with his thread to void the contract, and the Cubs will have an additional $2 million to spend in 2012. (If the playoffs end, and the Cubs end up buying out Ramirez, we can conclude only that Ramirez was bluffing, and intended to stay with the Cubs if they picked up his option – a $14 million decision the Cubs may not want to make.)

Now, then…

If your first reaction to this official declaration is anything like mine, you’re pretty upset right now. Why? Aramis Ramirez absolutely refused to consider a trade earlier in the season because he wanted to stay with the Cubs for the final two months of the season. Now he refuses to stay with the Cubs for an entire additional year?

I’m all about a player getting paid when he can – Ramirez has earned the right, by virtue of his huge numbers and a weak market, to go out and get as much money as he can. This might, after all, be his last contract.

But for him to put the organization’s grapes in a vice midseason under the pretense that he just couldn’t leave Chicago is aggravating beyond words.

Consider what he said earlier today about staying in Chicago.

“I can’t be here for a rebuilding process,” Ramirez said. “I’m not that kind of player anymore. I’m 33. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play. I know it’s hard to win, but I want to compete. That’s what I want to do.”

Then why didn’t you let the Cubs trade you to a contender?!

I’m sure Ramirez would say he hoped to stay in Chicago long-term, he hoped the Cubs would put together a competitive team in 2012, and he didn’t know that Jim Hendry was going to be fired. But, even if that’s true, there is no reason that this “decision” to test free agency couldn’t have been made months ago.

Under that theory, Ramirez and the Cubs can share my blame. I know the GM transition is a wrinkle that outsiders cannot fully appreciate, but it seems to me that this whole thing should have been more explicitly flushed out back in July, when the Cubs and Ramirez still could have done something to help each other. Ricketts wants to let the next GM make the decision on Ramirez? That rationale didn’t fly when it came to extending Oneri Fleita. Something could have been done.

We’ll never know the entirety of what transpired, but now we know that whatever has happened over the past two months with respect to Aramis Ramirez’s future, somebody dropped the ball. Badly.

  • Andrew

    Am i missing something? Dont “we” the cubs get to dictate if aramis can test the market. If we dont buy him out he has to stay?

    • Brett

      No, unfortunately. As the post notes, Ramirez has the right to void his contract if the Cubs pick up the option.

    • Andrew

      “You’ll recall that the Cubs hold a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012, but, if the Cubs exercise the option, Ramirez can void the contract.”

      Ramirez can choose to leave after the Cubs exercise the option, but he’ll get no buyout.

      • Brett


    • cccubfan

      I say call his bluff and pick him up for 2012 and see what he does…Either way we’ve either got a third baseman or we’ve saved 16 mil……Winner either way!!!!

  • Andrew

    Ha.  Just realized it was another Andrew I was answering and we’re both just going by our first names.  So how do I get a nifty little icon to differentiate?

    • Brett

      Ha, whoa. That’s a first – I thought you were talking to yourself, and I was confused as to why you answered your own question. To get a pretty picture, BN uses Gravatar. To get yours, go to, and set it up there using the email address you use here on BN.

      • Andrew

        Got it…  Now no more confusing conversations with myself.

  • Andrewmoo

    Yea I tried getting an icon and it never worked…

    • Brett

      If I may, I see that you are using two different email addresses when you post – Gravatar generates the image based on your email address. It’s a universal avatar that is recognized across the web on blogs, as long as you comment with the same email address as you set up your Gravatar account. Is it possible that the reason it didn’t work is because there were two different emails addresses (one at gravatar, and one here)?

      If there’s anything I can do to help get it set up, just let me know – I like it when everyone has the avatar thing going on.

      • http://Bleachernation Bric

        Ace, we all know you are the duff man when not blogging on BN. So maybe you should mix things up and use the current Cubs chick as your avatar and until you dump her in favor of a new one. It could be good karma. Just a thought.

  • die hard

    if Cubs pick up option and Ramirez does not void, can Cubs trade him?

    • TWC

      He has 5/10 rights, and can only be traded with his consent.

  • Jason

    So will Aramis get to type B FA status? Maybe we can at least get a draft lottery ticket out of this mess – after this, I don’t expect him to be in a Cub IMO next year.

  • Fishin Phil

    But for him to put the organization’s grapes in a vice midseason under the pretense that he just couldn’t leave Chicago is aggravating beyond words.”


    This is the part that makes me mad.  He has gone out of his way to screw this organization.   The Cubs are screwed up enough, they really don’t need his help.



  • Deez

    The Cubs have to call his bluff! If he wants to leave $16M out there on the table then more power to him.
    If someone wants to reward a 3B that provides a lackadaisical attitude & effort, + no true team leadership w/ a 3yr – 4yr contract between $36M – $48M…
    “Caveat Emptor”

    • Toosh

      The Cubs should absolutely NOT pick up his option. He might choose to stay and then, when he gets off to a slow start next year like he always does and plays his usual “matador” defense, the team will find itself in the same situation as this season.

      • Fishin Phil

        Yeah, but then we could always trade him at the deadline….. oh, wait… :(

  • Stuart Williams

    What is our downside for letting him go? Spend $16M on starting pitching, not an overpaid 3rd baseman who doesn’t show up until June.

    What is are record with him……

  • jstraw

    Aramis has a contract and he’s got every right to make his employer abide by any and all parts of it that he has negotiated for or earned under the terms of the CBA. He doesn’t have to justify his right to decline a trade, his right to void the contract under the terms of the option and buyout or to put himself out on the free agent market.

    I understand why it *might* have beneficial for the Cubs to have been able to deal him but I doubt the reason Aramis blocked that possibility was just to screw with one of his potential suitors.

    Personally, I think he’d be nuts to let the good of the Cubs influence his present and future employment decisions. Teams don’t decide to keep players or rid themselves of players because they think that’s what’s best for the player. Teams make personnel decisions they think are for the good of the franchise and players shouldn’t be held to a higher standard.

    Where some think he’s been deft in his manipulation of the press, I think he’s just been clumsy. In any case, it doesn’t bother me.

    • Jeff

      You are correct, and Aramis has every right to every word of his contract.  He also has the right to come out and lie to the media.  He also has the right to change his story and reasoning for things every other day.  He also has the right to not produce when the team needs him, the right to play lazy defense, and the right to loaf it around the bases.  He had it made under Jim Hendry, and as soon as Hendry was let go, he decided he was done with the team.   All along he was asking for an extension and loyalty out of the Cubs without ever planning on showing that loyalty back to the team.  He has constantly put himself and his contract situation over the team and made himself the story as often as he could.  I will be glad when this kind of player is no longer on the Cubs.

    • Brett

      Nobody’s dumping on Aramis’ right to use his contract (or collectively-bargained rights) to his benefit – certainly not me.

      I’m dumping on his clumsy use of those rights (and of the press). So we agree on that – we just disagree on the bother, I guess. I’m sure the whole truth will forever remain obscured to us, but from what is visible, I’m bothered. Not just by Aramis, but by the Cubs.

      • jstraw

        Plenty of people have suggested that Aramis should have allowed a trade for the good of the team. I have no idea why he blocked that effort but I do believe that “for the good of the team” is a ridiculous reason for a player to allow himself to be traded.

        • Brett

          Ah. Well, that part, I can agree with (with a small handful of limited exceptions, where the players has previously all but said he’d do anything to benefit the Cubs’ organization (I’m blanking, but there was someone in recent memory who said something like this when trade rumors came up)).

          • Ron

            Kerry Wood

          • Jeff

            Marlon Byrd has said it a couple of times. He even said he wanted a chance to help Brett Jackson transition to the majors, if that’s who was taking his job.  It’s called being a professional and being a good teammate, Ramirez could take some lessons, and while he’s at it, he should look to how Albert Pujols has handled a similar situation with the Cardinals this year.  It’s like comparing night and day.

            I’m not so much on ARam’s case for blocking any trade attempts.  I’m on him for his wish washy attitude about the whole thing.  First he absolutely wouldn’t leave Chicago because fo his family, then he wanted his option exercised, then he didn’t want his option exercised, he wanted to sign with the Cubs long term, then he didn’t want anything to do with an extension after Hendry was fired.  Yesterday he was done with the Cubs, today he wants to stay with the Cubs for a few more years.  The only thing more inconsistent than his mouth is his play on the field.  He has failed as a leader for this team time and time again.  I think it’s best for everyone if he goes elsewhere.

            • Brett

              Byrd. That’s the guy I was thinking of.

  • die hard

    maybe let him go so kids can go into Spring training knowing job is up for grabs best man wins…likewise Pena …open up competition at corners

  • Coachstone

    So if we just let Aramis walk who plays 3rd next season???

    • Toosh

      Anybody that cares to play defense and can hit in April and May and makes less than $16 million.

    • hansman1982

      this same argument was brought up a few times when the cries to fire Hendry began…”WHO WOULD BE GM!?!?!”

      If the Cubs had a shot at contending in the next 2 years then, fine, give him his damn extension but otherwise begone.

  • die hard

    let kids fight it out….maybe a better fielder than Castro will emerge at SS and we move him to 3rd…in fact, now that I am thinking aloud , we should open up the entire team to competition…no guaranteed jobs next year…after dust settles and team set, all else will take care of itself….kids need to know have a shot is my point…Lets play Billy Ball !!!!

  • Wilbur

    Agree wholeheartedly with jstraw.

  • Jimmy v

    This is the most silly article I have ever read. Aram would take a 1 year $16M deal before u even offered it. He will sign a 3 year $30M deal if they let him go. To b able 2 make half that in one year would be a no brainer. This writer is an idiot to an exponent.

    • Jason

      Aramis will get more than 3/30 for his next deal. He is going to be one of the best bats on the market this winter and the only good bat at 3B. Plenty of teams will pay for his services. He’ll get 3/40.

      Perhaps you should check the record of the writer who’s credibility you are questioning. There’s a reason a lot of knowledgeable fans visit this site regularly.

    • Hogie

      P.S.- He has repeatedly said that he wants multiple years, and will void the option if it is picked up. Sleep this one off and come back when you sober up.

      P.S.S.- Using “b” for be and “2” for to is for 13 year old girls. I apologize if you are a 13 year old girl.

  • Sam

    Nah nah nah nah nah nah nay hey hey hey gooodbyee

  • Steve

    Brett, the Fleita extension wasn’t about baseball so much as it was about business. He is the lead man on the Dominican Republic facility, and with other teams calling for his services it made sense. There is also a clause in the contract that Fleita can be moved to a new position within the organization.

  • die hard

    Eddie Stanky……Al Lopez…..Walter Alston….Billy Martin…they knew how to win no matter what cast of characters made final 25….hate to admit but LaRussa same….