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I’ll spare you the labored setup where I talk about the tortured back-and-forth that was Aramis Ramirez’s 2011 with the Chicago Cubs. Suffice it to say: at times he wanted to stay with the Cubs forever, and at other times he was all too happy to move on.

Now that the Chicago Cubs have brought in executive superstar, Theo Epstein, Ramirez – who’d recently said, through his agent, that he expects to explore free agency – may want to be a Cub in 2012.

“I’m really happy the Cubs have brought in Theo Epstein to run the team,” Ramirez told ESPNChicago. “Now that the Cubs have a new leader with a new outlook, I’d certainly listen to them about remaining with the team.”

Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, added: “At the time they said they wouldn’t be able to address Aramis’ free agency because that would be the new general manager’s decision. Now that Theo’s in place, that changes everything for us. We’d love to talk to him about staying in Chicago. Aramis has said all along that staying with the Cubs was his priority and No. 1 choice. Hopefully we’ll be able to get something done with Theo and his new group of baseball people when they are in place.”

While that may seem like a change in his recent stance, is it really? The Cubs hold a 2012 option on Ramirez for $16 million (with a $2 million buyout), but Ramirez can void his contract if the option is exercised. So, when Ramirez’s agent said Ramirez was going to test free agency, it was a threat he could actually enforce. Does now saying he’d “listen to them about remaining with the team” mean he’d no longer void his contract?

I’m skeptical. In a vacuum, it certainly makes picking up Ramirez’s option – assuming the Cubs don’t actually want Ramirez back in 2012 – more risky. If Ramirez is indeed open to staying with the Cubs, there’s a chance he wouldn’t void the contract, instead pocketing his $16 million. But, by the same token, if Epstein tells Ramirez, “we’re picking up your option, but we’re not going to negotiate an extension – it’s 2012, and that’s it,” would Ramirez really play out 2012 on a one-year deal when he could have received a three-year deal on the open market? As I said: I’m skeptical.

Maybe I’m a bit hard on Ramirez when it comes to the whole waffling thing. After all, he’s running out of playing years, and is just trying to get the most money for his services in the time he has left. But it seems to me, saying publicly that he wants to stay with the Cubs on a multi-year deal, otherwise he wants to leave, is neither difficult, nor inconsistent with his desire for the most money/longest deal. Just play it a little more straight.

Either way, the decision is coming soon. The Cubs will have until five days after the World Series to pick up, or buy out, Ramirez’s option. He will then decide whether to stick with the Cubs, or head to free agency.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    I’m not forgiving his waffle loving ways. There was a professional way to handle all this and instead he did this.

  • Mike

    Yesterday, I was watching the Theo Epstein press conference ( the whole 45 minutes) And Theo had said that he “wants to “Contend” next year and the years to come.” If the cubs really want to be “contender’s” next year then they will SURELY have to resign Ramirez and possibly give him the extension he wants.. after all he does deserve it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Saying your team is a “contender,” whatever the makeup, is a matter of executive-speak. It doesn’t really mean much of anything.

      • Mike

        true.. but still….

    • TWC

      He “deserves” it, Mike?  Really?  Prove it.  Why does he deserve to get the extension that he wants?

      • Mike

        TWC: No, I won’t explain how. BUT i will say this : If we don’t resign him then have fun watching Blake DeWit or Jeff baker managing 3rd for next year. IF we don’t resign him then these will be our production numbers for 3rd next year-
        AVG- 210.
        RBI’s- 34 (If that)
        HR- 10 (maybe)

        • TWC

          Nonsense.  Our 3B equation is not “If not Ramirez then DeWitt + Baker”.  It’s just not.

          Regardless, I think it’s completely the right thing to do to pick up his option.  But he should be clubbed like a seal at his next mention of an extension.

          • Mike

            Okay then. If we don’t resign him. then Who play 3rd next year?

            • TWC

              Dick Tidrow.

              • shawn

                Exactly. NO one.

                • TWC

                  Does that mean we can have 4 outfielders?  There might finally be room for Tyler Colvin!

                  • Cubbie Blue

                    I’m not part in this conversation, But I’d rather see Campana in the outfield rather than Colvin.

                    • TWC

                      Neither one has shown much evidence of being an everyday MLB starter, but Colvin — as much as he has sucked for the last season & 1/2 — has come much, much closer than Scrappy Campy McDoo.

                • Mike

                  ^ atleast soemone understands. but TWC- i’m not saying ramirez is our “future” but let him play for another two or three years then hopefully by then we’ll have a decent player (crossing my finger’s that josh vitters develops)

                  • CUB5

                    I don’t think he’s worth the money though. Pick up a utility 3rd baseman for the next couple of years (we’ll be rebuilding anyway) and save that money. He does nothing for us and is expensive.

                    • Cubbie Blue

                      I’m NOT saying this has been Ramirez “best” season ever with the cubs. but looking at his stats from 2000-2011. this season He had appeared in 149 games (2nd most in career) he had 173 hits(tied first most in his career) he batted 307(best season average in his career) He had 25 home runs (3rd best in his career) and drove in 92 runs ( also 3rd best in his career)

                  • hansman1982

                    So Flaherty or LaMehieu (sp?) can’t play third?  There isn’t a FA third baseman out there that can play defense or actually hit a ball or two before June 1?  Ramirez would be a great guy to acquire at the deadline if we had a gaping hole at 3rd or 1st.  If we are going to build a foundation for continued success, Ramirez is a giant rock in the ground that we have to dig out and get rid of.

                    Its not Ramirez or DeWitt, Hendry isn’t in charge anymore.  As others have said accept the option but tell him he isnt getting a long term deal under any circumstance and when he turns the deal down offer Arb and collect your pick.

            • TWC

              Really, I wouldn’t be that upset at all if Ramirez played out the final year of his contract.  Pick up the option, and make him either play it out or let him walk.  But committing $30-40 million over the next 3 years for a dude who shows no leadership, no hustle, weak defense, and only shows up when the pressure is off?  Insane.  That’s positively Hendry-esque.

              • CUB5

                Exactly.

                • Cubbie Blue

                  Oh and for the people who say he’s losing his defensive- look at his stats- this year he turned 13 double plays ( 2nd most in his career. he did make 14 errors but that was his 3rd LOWESTcamount of errors ever.

                  • Jason

                    There’s more to defense than errors – his range is getting worse every year. Can’t make an error (or make a play) on a ball that you can’t get to.

                  • Katie

                    Maybe we shouldn’t be comparing him to himself but rather other NL 3rd basemen. Just because he had a good year for HIM doesn’t mean it was a good year. Ask Cubs pitchers how many innings they had to grind through due to the shoddy defense of Ramy? Innings that should have been over with a double play but thanks to his slow feed to Castro they couldn’t turn it. Plus he’s lazy and feels entitled. Bad combo.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Offensively, Ramirez was by far the best 3B in the NL last year – possibly the best in baseball. Just saying offensively.

            • Lou

              I could be wrong here but maybe we get Casey Blake to play 3b on a 1 yr deal for cheap. Or better yet get a solid prospect in a trade for say….Matt Garza.

        • bacboris

          I would rather see Die Hard’s Zambrano at 3b than give Ramirez a multi year contract. Before this past year, you could always find a way to try and defend him against those attacks over his ‘hustle’, unwillingness to listen to hitting coaches, and never attending a Cubs Convention.

          His conduct in July cost the Cubs Marquee prospects while the angels still had a jim hendry style GM. Im all for exercising Ramirez’s option so that we can pick up either a type B prospect or more at the deadline if he accepts the option. However, I would sooner see the Cubs use any scrub in the universe then tie in the future of this organization with the very definition of why this team never got to the promised land in the last decade.

  • TWC

    Ramirez must be seeing how well Matt Forte’s contract negotiations are being publicly worked out in the press and figured he outta get a piece of that.  Dumbshit.

    • T Wags

      The difference in those situations is that Forte has a point. Don’t get me started on Jerry Angelo…

  • EQ76

    I believe they can contend next year.. not that they will, but they can.  A few shrewd moves and a couple signings, along with a new attitude and optimism, it could happen.  I think the Cubs will be highly active this off season.. they may not grab any of the big 3 FA’s, but a handful of good moves could get us competitive again.

    • CubSouth

      Exactly! I’ve been thinking that all along, the Central will be coming back to the fold next year with Fielder and Pujols leaving their teams respectively and you can always count on the Pirates and Astros to play. 500 or below baseball. The Reds will be tough, if Baker actually doesn’t kill his starting pitching. We don’t have to ne the best in the NL, just contend with our own division. Look at the weak West a couple of yrs ago, contending doesn’t mean for a championship…..to me, it means to have meaningful games in September and I think we could do that with some key moves.

  • Lokanna

    Cut him loose.  He’s painful to watch as he only produces when he wants to.  That’s not a teammate, nor a professional athlete. You want your dolla dolla bills Rami?  Deuces.  You had a chance to step up and be a leader on a team that BADLY needed one last year.  You didn’t.  It’s clearly all about YOU and not the team.  Appreciate the memories, enjoy somewhere else.

    • Jason

      The biggest issue I have with bringing back Ramirez is that he just isn’t a leader and I think any veterans that we have on our team need to be leaders to help implement the newly branded “Cubs Way”.

      I’d like to have Theo and Jed have a conversation with Aramis to tell him what their expectations are regarding the role of veterans on the team in 2012. If he doesn’t like the idea, don’t pick up the option – if he buys into it, then pick it up. But I wouldn’t sign him to an extension. We have to move in a different direction long-term and I don’t want the dearth of FA talent this offseason to lead us to making further bad decisions.

  • Fishin Phil

    Remember, pay based on expected future performance, not past performance.

    • jstraw

      “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute…”

    • shawn

      How many more years does starlin castro have left on his contract?

      • TWC

        About a week.  Really.

        But he’s under team control until 2017.

        • hansman1982

          2017?  If he came up last year then he has already burnt through 2 years of service (I wonder if Theo would have done anything differently May 2010) and rookies are only under control for 6 years, correct?

          • TWC

            Well, 2017 would be his first year of free agency.  2016 is his last arbitration-eligible year.  And you’re right, Hans, 2013 would be his first arb-eligible season.

            • hansman1982

              2013 would be his first year of drawing an arbitration paycheck but 2016 would be his first season of free agent money -

              League Minimum: 2010, 2011, 2012 (providing the current Super-Two rule stays in place or is replaced by something similar)

              Arbitration salaries: 2013, 2014, 2015 – able to file free agent paperwork after the 2015 season.  Unless I am missing something or am wrong on something.

              • TWC

                I think he’s got 4 years of arb-eligibility (according to Cot’s Contracts & Baseball Reference).

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                This (hansman) is correct.

                • TWC

                  And that is because he gained “Super Two” status from his 2010 service time?  If so, the sources that I cited must have not taken that into consideration.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    No, it’s because I’m guessing “Super Two” won’t exist come next year – if he did get “Super Two” status, he would have four years of arbitration. But I’m thinking it will be different come next year, so he’ll still be a first three year reserve next year, and then three years of arbitration thereafter. Either way, best bet is that his first year of free agency is 2016.

      • hansman1982

        Starlin is still on a rookie contract which means that the team has control on him (most likely) for another 4 years with him probably being arbitration eligible after this season where it is very possible that he gets a long-term deal that will buy out his arbitration years and a year or two of free agency.

        Rookies are under control for 6 years all told with the first three being at league minimum.

      • Jason

        At least 4 – maybe 5 but someone with more knowledge of service time will have to give a definitive answer.

        I’m guessing that Theo is going to approach him about a longer term extension after taking care of some of this other stuff. Similar to what he did with Pedroia in Boston, he is going to want to lock Starlin up cheap for a long time.

        • hansman1982

          And it depends on the new CBA if the current Super Two rules stay intact – if they do then he will most likely get Super Two status next year since he was called up in early May last year and typically the cutoff is sometime late in May or early June depending on all of the rookies that are called up in a given year.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I’m fairly certain – though I can’t point to it – that I heard Super Two is changing considerably.

  • pfk

    In Ramirez’s last at bat he hit a ground ball to short – he is just now getting to first base. The fin thing about having Theo and his sidekicks in charge is that I no longer play armchair GM. I’m content to just sit back and enjoy watching the whole show knowing its headed in the right direction.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I agree, but … is it ok if I still play armchair GM?

      • Jason

        Sure, because I’m still going to play armchair GM too. Fortunately, I’m going to say “Yes!” more than I say “Ugh!” to the moves we make in the future.

      • pfk

        Absolutely! I love the BN “Front Office” with all the GMs. Actually, you are President of Baseball Operations/General Manager. All the rest of us in the BN Front Office are Assistant GMs. Are they best and the brightest? Well, um, er….the most fun anyway.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    TWC, you just made my lunch hour. Couldn’t have done it better myself (but then again we are the person). Keeping a dead weight player simply because the team can’t name a replacement starter is the definition of why the Cubs have been such lovable losers. He is in the twilight of his career let him fade away.

    • hansman1982

      I have seen that defense for Hendry in the past and it stunk then

      If you want to keep him because he will put up 25 bombs fron June 1 to Sept 1 then fine but don’t keep him because you can’t name a replacement

  • Matt Murton

    I wonder when/if he’ll start to figure out that he’s not as big of a deal as he thinks he is. Everything about him is inconsistent, from his attitude to his play on the field

  • Dave H

    This will be a perfect 1st opportunity for our new front office. They should go to him and say ” Look, big guy, here is what we think is still in the ole’ gas tank. If you like fine. If not, we wish you the best of luck.

    You still have a TON of money in Alphonso. Dempster is still looking at staying. Big Z is still on the hook. We now have some wizards in a front office now who can possibly turn these guys into some young prospects. You wonder how Jed did this in SD? We don’t AG but hey we never said it was going to take 1 or 2 years. We’ll be already getting a pretty good draft pick after this wonderful year of 90 losses. Somebody in cubs organization can stand at third and play better than AR. Yeah you won’t get 25 HR and 90 RBI. Oh well. Get something decent from AS, MB, SC, and Lahair ( he should be at 1st – better than Pena and cheaper). Yeah we aren’t going to light up a lot of scoreboards but we didn’t exactly do that this year.

  • 4 Seam

    i just cant see the pitching developing with all our best prospects looking to be position players. I would hope Theo does cut the fat here and if not this year, next year, hook line and sinker a solid free agent pitcher he can get to jump on our train. I am interested to see if our draft is more pitchers than it has been in the early rounds. My concern is in Theo’s handling of pitchers. Lackey was a stud, then went to the sox and was awful and now he is getting the same tommy john I had.

  • nonesuch

    How Theo handles Aramis and Zambrano situations will tell us a lot about what direction he wants Cubs to go this season and how well he can clean up after others. definitely go-time to show why he’s touted as a superstar GM(Pres).

  • Aaron

    The Lackey issue with Theo may not be his handling of him as much as it is his ability to pitch while hurt. Lackey got the kind of deal he deserved from Boston, but pitching while needing Tommy John is not effective. He’ll be fine when he’s recovered, I’m sure.

  • miggy80

    I think a lot of the crap Ramirez is taking on here is; Hendry like. What I mean by that is people are talking from their heart and not their heads. Ramirez just put up one of his best offensive seasons and probably had the best offense for a third baseman in the MLB. Our offense has been offensive to watch so why would do we want to dump him? Because he is not a gold glove 3b. From all that I can gather he is at or just below the deffensive league averages for 3B and combined with his offense he is ranked as a top 10 3b in all of MLB, mostly in the 6-8 range). So give the guy a brake if he was playing on a miserable team and dogged it a few times and so what that he said he wants to stay one day and wants test the free agent market thats what happens these days. Look at Michael Young and the Rangers and how that whole saga went down before the season. Cooler heads prevaled then and hope they will in this situation.

    • TWC

      “So give the guy a brake if he was playing on a miserable team and dogged it a few times …”

      Nope.

      • miggy80

        Okay TWC explain to me where the hate comes from? I mean did is miss something people talk about Ramirez like he’s got naked pitures of your older sister and showed everybody at school. Very childish.

        • TWC

          Yo, Migs, I don’t hate the guy at all.  I explained above that I think it’s a fairly acceptable idea to take up his option this year.  But giving a guy who 1) will be 34 next season, 2) has had a history of injuries over recent years, 3) shows little hustle or leadership, and 4) is a poor defensive player a multi-year contract extension seems foolish and contrary to the stated long-term goals of the team’s owner and president of baseball ops.

          • miggy80

            That’s a fair argument T-dub. Age is of course always a factor, I believe that his injury issue came from the dislocated shoulder, not a huge factor but diving again like that may put his shoulder at risk and not diving like that puts his deffense at risk, not buying the leadership or hustle aspect, I’m not in that dug out and I’m not a mind reader so I try to look pass those things, I think that signing a solid offensive player with average deffence to a 2 or 3 yr deal isn’t that bad of an idea, there are many teams who would like Ramirez and if were not competitve trade him at the dead line and get something back

            • TWC

              Man, whenever I feel the need to sober up, I just replay that shoulder injury in my head.  Freakin’ ghastly.  And don’t forget about his thumb issue that took up most of the 2010 season.

              Your “trade him at the deadline” comment though… you forgetting about last July?  Kinda hard to give him an extension that revokes his earned 10/5 rights.

              • miggy80

                I guess I would be counting on the situation to be just right. First the Cubs would not be in contention, second he would have to be sought by a real competitor then maybe just maybe he says hasta la vista and we grab a few gems in the deal.

              • miggy80

                T-Dub, I forgot to mention I’m going to a Wide Spread Panic show tonight my 1st WSP show

                • TWC

                  Hippie.

                  I’ve seen them a few times, last time was probably 2003ish at the Greek in Berkeley. Had a good time. Great band for jamming, terrible for songwriting. Have fun!

                  • Laura

                    “Great band for jamming, terrible for songwriting.”

                    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Hope you get lots of covers, miggy.

                    • Internet Random

                      Me three.

        • Dave H

          Where was he in april and may? He doesn’t want to talk to RJ about why he stinks during that time-2 years straight. I’ve never seen him play well until around all star break. Derek Lee did the same thing and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

          • TWC

            You know who else was consistently terrible in April?  Ryne Sandberg.

            • Dave H

              True. But Ryno was always there when it mattered. His defense was better too. Quiet leader also. Remember his HOF speech, respect and honor in the game. AR can’t hold Ryne’s jock strap. Luckily Ryne wasn’t coach here last year.

        • T Wags

          It’s all in the body language, lack of leadership, and “me first” attitude that Aramis has shown the last few years especially. You can already see hints of his lackadaisical defense rubbing off on Castro and i want Ramirez as far away from that kid as possible so he can reach his full potential.

    • jt

      I agree, we’re going to suck at 3rd base for a few more seasons to come. Aramis will most likely be our best bet for a couple more seasons. I wouldn’t hate it if he would accept a 3 year 35-40 mil incentive laden contract.

    • T C

      Unfortunately, the crap he’s taking is even more insane than that. I see a lot of people saying “he didnt produce when the team needed him” or “he only puts up numbers when he wants to” which is just dumb. Players dont choose when theyre going to produce, sometimes they hit slumps, sometimes theyre hottern shit, its not up to them.

      And to the “WHERE WAS HEE IN APRIL LOL HE SCUKED!!11!” folk around here, he hit .295/.358/.400 in April. Yes, the power was down, but remember that Wrigley is a positively terrible place to hit in April/May. Also, what exactly did the team need him for? They were 12-14, had no pitching, and four players on the team had sub-.300 OBP’s. even if he hits .500 with 11 homers in April (remind yourself about how crazy that would be), the team is no better than 14-12. One player simply cannot carry a team on his back alone in baseball, so I don’t understand why all this hate is directed at him and not, say Marlon Byrd, who posted a .649 OPS in April, or Pena, or Soto, or….

      One last thing: Doesnt the team need production ALL YEAR ROUND? Why is Darwin Barney praised for playing well in April “when it mattered” and Aramis dogged for playing well for 5 months when it “was meaningless”? Its not like he had a good september against AA pitching. He had a great year all around, and thats what wins games. Its not his fault that the rest of the team sucked when he got hot anymore than it is Barney’s fault that Ramirez sucked when Barney was hot…

      • EQ76

        AMEN BROTHA!!!!  Same stuff I’ve been saying.. what other player in baseball hits over .300, has 26 HRS and knocks in 90+ gets bashed like Aramis does?

        it’s the ignorant, uneducated fans that don’t understand baseball that bash on ARAM.. dude can it.. plain and simple and we need his bat in our lineup to win.. yeah he makes some errors but so did most of our team last year.

        We sucked last year because of our bad pitching and bad defense… Castro and Barney were worse defenders last year than ARAM and i’m pretty sure ARAM didn’t contribute to the team’s poor pitching.

        It’s time for everyone to take a look at things with common sense.. ARam is a great hitter and we need his offensive production.

        • TWC

          “it’s the ignorant, uneducated fans that don’t understand baseball that bash on ARAM”

          Really?  That’s where you’re going EQ?  Name calling and insults?  Weak.

          • Jason

            So the non-ignorant fan just suggested that ARam’s defense was better than Barney’s? I’m not a Barney fan by any means but the kid has a helluva glove – unfortunately, that’s his only valuable asset.

            Nobody is going to deny that Aramis was and has been a great hitter for the Cubs. Great – unfortunately, that’s in the past and he’s hit the age where a decline starts to creep in (slower bat speed, slower wheels, more injuries, etc.). So there is no indication that he will be able to keep this up moving forward.

            Plus, his defense is bad for a 3B. His range is a liability. If you don’t think so, just look up defensive metrics – the numbers don’t lie. And the defense is just going to get worse with age due to the whole growing old and slowing down thing. Over the next 3 years, he’s probably worth $30 million tops and if we’re competitive again in a few years, he’s going to be a hindrance.

            Do you really want to deal with all of that just so we only lose 87 games next year instead of 90?

            • Fishin Phil

              Well said Jason, it’s the age thing for me.  I have no problem with picking up his option for one year if he will do that.  But no way would I give him a multi-year contract.

          • EQ76

            Well, let me clarify.. the media “gurus” that bash everything seemed to have started this.. but yeah, many fans have dumped on Aramis the past 2 years.  He’s been blamed for the team’s slow start and losing record.. this team loses a game 12-3 and it’s because Aram went 1-4..  WTF??  that’s pretty much been the scenario this year.  1 person isn’t responsible for a whole team sucking.

            I just wish people would stop blaming Aram for this team sucking, especially after the year he had.  He was our best hitter this year, him and Castro 1 & 2.. and he’s been bashed way too much.

            • Jason

              I never thought the Aramis bashing was fair either – if he would have started hot, maybe we win three more games early on although that’s probably a generous number. He definitely is not the reason we sucked last year.

              But we have to be honest with ourselves here – his best days are likely behind him. Maybe he’ll have a productive 2012 but at some point in the very near future, the wheels are going to start falling off. When you add that to the fact that he doesn’t appear to have the mentality of a leader on a team that needs leadership, he probably isn’t the best person to commit money to over the long-term.

              It seems like he would be a much better fit on a team that is ready to win in 2012 and that already has strong veteran leadership.

            • TWC

              I’m not sure whom in the media you’re specifically referring to, but I certainly agree he’s taken a lot of heat.  I think Brenly’s comments have been particularly damning, and I think he has a perspective that many other commentators/prognosticators/douchebags don’t have.

              FWIW, I don’t blame Ramirez for the team’s suckitude, I just don’t feel that he has a future here.  I have fond, fond memories of ARam.  That HR over the Brewers in 2007 remains one of my Cubs highlights.  But it’s time.  In my opinion.

        • chris margetis

          So I am assuming you consider Brenley ignorant and uneducated?

      • T Wags

        I completely agree here. I mean look at the slump Pujols was in to begin the year and everyone hated him then but now when he hits 3 HR’s in a World Series game they bow to him. When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re not, you’re not. Simple as that. It’s the beauty of the game and everyone who has played the game can respect that. You can’t hate on a Dominican native player (Aramis) when he’s in a slump in Apirl, in Chicago, trying to hit in 30-40 degree temps at times. And for the record i don’t dislike Aramis, I dislike his body language. I just don’t want to watch someone who doesn’t look like he’s having fun doing what he loves. I mean, the guy is making millions of dollars a year to play baseball, and he mopes around all the time looking like his dog just died. I don’t want to see it anymore.

        • EQ76

          That all makes sense.. and yes, it’s his body language that most hate.. but shoot, I’ll take poor body language any day if we get .300/25/90+ in production.  Pena had great body language and couldn’t hit his weight.

          • Jeff

            I don’t hate his body language.  I hate how everytime he talks he says something different about how and where he wants to play.  I hate the way he plays defense, runs the bases, and his all around lack of hustle.  When Hendry was fired, he was ready to abandon ship, he had played his last game in Wrigley, and wanted out.  Now that Epstein and company are in the front office, he’s changed his tune again.  He put up good numbers last year, there’s no denying that, but there’s also no denying that he is at the end of his baseball career, and his number have no where to go but down.  His defense will get worse, his base running will get worse, and I’m not very confident in his attitude and leadership for the young guys on the team.  You can talk about all the numbers you want, but like Bob Brenly, I watched most of the games he has played the last couple of years, and he hasn’t put in the same effort, consistently, as he did when the team was winning, that should tell us all we need to no about him.

        • TWC

          “..look at the slump Pujols was in to begin the year and everyone hated him then but now when he hits 3 HR’s in a World Series game they bow to him…”

          Hey, T Wags, if it makes you feel better, I still hate Pujols.  Like, tons, man.

          • T Wags

            That does make me feel a whole lot better!

        • Jim

          I don’t care how his body language looks, or if he looks like he is having fun. He carries himself the same way as he did when he was putting up 6 straight seasons of OPS+ over 125.

          That’s such a cop-out and a lazy way to define his career.

          • T Wags

            The man can hit a baseball, i never said that he couldn’t. I’ve loved watching him for many years for that reason and i have many great memories of him. But that fact that i don’t see him fitting into what this new front office is trying to preach, along with his age, I just don’t see him coming back next year and i wont lose sleep over it. He’s had a fantastic career and I’m glad he’s been on our side for so long. Sorry if it came across differently!

            • Jim

              No worries, the guy has been the best 3rd baseman we’ve had since Santo and instead of appreciating him for the numbers he put up (and he played a pretty good defensive 3B in his prime) everyone focuses on what they perceive as a bad attitude, perpetuated of course by the meatheads in print and radio in this town.

              But yeah, I agree with picking up his option for 2012, no extension and if he opts out, bye-bye.

              If he goes, I’m gonna remember him for the HRs he hit in the 2003 NLCS and the GW HRs against Milwaukee and the White Sox in 2008. Good times.

  • jt

    Another thing I’ve noticed is the positive response to what the cubs have done in the front office from the players (at least the cubs players so far). I think the cubs just became much more attractive to free agents, and to other players outside of the organization by the statement they’ve made this fall. Might make a difference in getting some good help without having to overpay.

  • Todd

    I would pick up the option on Ramirez. He will probably decline and sign somewhere else as the complimentary slugger on a contending team, and I bet he will excel in that role. I say good luck and thanks for the memories. There was time when I had a serious man-crush on this guy and I wish we had a stronger ball club where he could bat 5th and be pulled for a defensive replacement late in the games. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make sense for him to be on the Cubs anymore, at his fair market value.

  • Art

    Aram was also a BIG part of the worse D in baseball in 2011.

  • wax_eagle

    Not saying I know whats going on here, but from a tactical perspective Ramirez (and his agent) realized they made a mistake. It makes absolutely no sense from Rami’s perspective to say that he is going to void his contract. This gives the Cubs the easy out of always taking the option and letting him opt out because he has said he will. If he doesn’t then he has backtracked and angered the players, the team and the fans.

    If he says he wants to stay with the team, then the Cubs actually have to make a decision, do they pay the buyout or do they let him stay, or do they attempt to renegotiate and extend him.

    There is no tactical advantage for Ramirez to do anything but waffle and hint strongly at wanting to stay. Making a certain statement will mean giving up the tactical options that his contract provides. He should be using these to their fullest extent. Its his right as a player and its the Cub’s problem as an organization for signing the contract.

    Personally, I would pick up the option, at worst you have a decent, if overpriced 3rd baseman. there is no one in the organization to replace him this year and if he walks you aren’t out anything.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Whoever’s in charge should decline the option and let Ramirez leave.

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