Chicago Cubs Pick Up Aramis Ramirez’s 2012 Option, Ramirez Opts to Become Free Agent

According to multiple reports, last night, the Chicago Cubs exercised their half of third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s 2012 option for $16 million. Soon after, Ramirez informed the team that he intends to void the contract, as he is permitted to do under the terms of the option. The twin moves will save the Cubs $2 million – had they instead elected not to pick up Ramirez’s option, the team would have owed him a $2 million buy out.

Ramirez, through his agent, has said in recent weeks that he intended to test free agency, so picking up his option was a relatively low risk move by the Cubs. The worst case scenario had them “stuck” with Ramirez next year for $14 million ($16 million salary, but only a $14 million additional commitment, because the alternative was to pay Ramirez $2 million to go away).

Ramirez, 33, technically has until tomorrow to void the contract, but it is expected he will do so. The Cubs could explore extension talks with Ramirez, but it is just as likely that the Cubs are ready to move on. As the top free agent third baseman on the market, Ramirez seems likely to land a multiyear deal with another team – one in a better position to need an immediate impact like Ramirez, and more willing to pay him top dollar for another three years. The Cubs will be able to offer Ramirez arbitration, and pick up a draft pick (if he’s a Type B free agent, or two picks, if he’s a Type A – Ramirez is expected to be just short of the Type A cutoff when the final rankings are released in early November) if he signs elsewhere.

Assuming Ramirez walks, the Cubs will turn to the trade market and free agency to try and pick up a third baseman on the cheap, or will look to in-house options like Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, DJ LeMahieu, or Ryan Flaherty, among others. Ramirez’s defense will be easily replaced, but his offensive production – .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers, 93 RBI, and 35 doubles – will be hard to come by.

If Ramirez has indeed played his last game as a Cub, his time at third will be remembered as the best for the Cubs in three decades – he was the most productive at the spot since Ron Santo.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

30 responses to “Chicago Cubs Pick Up Aramis Ramirez’s 2012 Option, Ramirez Opts to Become Free Agent”

  1. kinhin

    If Ramirez signs with another team do the Cubs receive a compensation pick in next years draft?

  2. MichiganGoat

    This is good for the Cubs moving forward and not extending ARam is exactly the type of move we will come to expect from Theo. Hendry would have extended him for 5/50M but Theo is thinking 3-5 years ahead. Thanks for the memories and good bye.

    1. CubFan Paul

      lets not have prematue speculation, Theo could still sign him to 3yrs/$36mil or 2yrs/$30million. picking up the option, knowing Ramirez would decline was due process & part of the procedure (that could still lead to a new deal)

      1. MichiganGoat

        I highly doubt that. Theo is looking to build for 2013-15 (2014 being the year to become really productive) and a 35+ ARam would not meet that model. ARam will likely get 3/40M from some team that wants a splash and likely in the AL where he could DH. Resigning him is not a forward thinking move and Theo will not block 3B for another 3 years.

        1. CubFan Paul

          Block Third Base from who? thats my point MG, kinda, i’m not advocating it but i wouldnt assume Ramirez is gone until he’s actually gone or Theo/Hoyer trades for someone else

          1. MichiganGoat

            As long as he’s at 3B it’s blocked from ANYONE ELSE: prospects, trades, a brick wall. The Cubs future 3B is unable to be discovered, signed, developed as long as ARam is here and that is why Theo will not extend him.

            1. CubFan Paul

              “.306/.361/.510 with 26 homers, 93 RBI, and 35 doubles”

              1. bacboris

                Paul, please post his slash line in the postseason. Or hell, fan graphs should highlight his splits for when the cubs are still in the race and when they fall way out of it. That’s the player that MichiganGoat doesn’t want back.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Thanks and exactly.

  3. Fishin Phil

    I think it will be good for both the Cubs and Aramis.

    Good Luck Rami!

  4. Cliffy

    Another good move by Theo/Hoyer. If they don’t bring back Quade add another to the list.

    I saw that BoSox’s Jonathan Papelbon has filed for free agency he will be 31 next year, if Bosox follow their successful recent formula they will let him walk and get 2 additional picks next year.

    Depending on how fractured the Cubs/Red Sox relationship is maybe we could hook up on a trade with them and send Marmol to them. They have a nice looking 3b prospect Garin Checchini big kid 6′ 2″ 200 lbs. He bats left handed and was one of the top hitting prospects in 2010 draft.

    1. MichiganGoat

      It looks like Bud will be finalizing this deal which means all that will happen is the Cubs send a couple of prospects to the Red Sox. I doubt Larry Lou would allow Ben to make trades with Theo… stilll major bad blood.

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  6. Andy

    I believe the Sox already have their future closer on the roster in Daniel Bard. And I don’t see any team offering a top prospect for a broken Marmol.

    I would assume ARam is looking for a 3+ year deal starting north of $40 million. For some team this will be a good signing, however the Cubs are in no position to do so. Good riddance to Rami, he was one of my favorite players while he was here.

  7. The Big Mustafa

    It’ll be sad to see Aramis go…he’s carved out a big place in Cubs history. Brett nailed it.

    He came in with one of the most legendary trades any of us can remember, and was considered one of the game’s true impact players, while he was here. And, he has always seemed to enjoy being a Cub.

    I’ll miss him…and, I’ll be interested to see whether or not we do end up talking with him again, as a free agent. If not, that’s what happens during rebuilding.

    But…yeah…he’ll be missed. He was a good match for us.

  8. NL_Cubs

    Theo batting .1000 with a good first move.  As the new front office puts together the “Cubs Way” manual, A-Ram will be the text book example (with pictures included of his nonchalant, casual posture in the field) in the chapter titled, “Unacceptable Behavior”.

    Quade out by end of week? I can’t believe Quade will be on the same “vision” page as Theo.

  9. die hard

    Sign Bentacourt for 1 yr with 1 yr option to play 3rd while all this sorts out over next 3 yrs

  10. Serio

    Do you think the Cubs take a look at Buehrle?

  11. Spencer

    I’m really not going to be that broken up if Ramirez leaves, but seeing as he is the best option for third base in 2012, I think it would be prudent for the Cubs to at least offer him something else instead of just saying, “Okay, see ya later” to him. The Cubs aren’t really expected to be competitive in 2012 unless amazing things happen to this roster, so why not offer Ramirez a three year deal that is largely back loaded and filled with a ton of incentives (like, winning a Gold Glove). They wouldn’t be wasting much money in 2012, and it would be money well spent for 2013 and 2014 if the club improves like everyone expects. Also, maybe in three years the 3B free agents would be better, or guys in our own system would be more prepared to step into the role.

    1. CubFan Paul

      ..you mean a Front loaded deal and he wouldn’t accept a deal thats full with a ton of incentives (like, winning a Gold Glove) because he’s the Best Option on the free agent market and could definitely get better

      front loaded 3yr/$30million deal:
      2012, $15million
      2013, $10million
      2014, $5million ..this is ideal for the Cubs and makes Ramirez expendable in 2014

      1. Bails17

        The problem here is Ramy is going to get closer to 50 mil over 3 years…or even more.  Also…if 2012 is a rebuild…what 3B options will free agency bring in 2013?

  12. Ramy16

    As you guys know I am very sad I will always be Aramis Ramirez fan where ever he goes!! 3rd base is going to look soo different now… In his place i would like to see Edwin Encarnacion or Wilson Betitmet.. Both can play D and Betimet a better hitter… Edwin with better power numbers…maybe Theo can Bring his boy Youkalis who is a Midwestern guy… Lol just dreaming

  13. Robbie

    Good Bye Rami. you’ll be missed! Hopefully one day we’ll see that Number 16 jersey Flying High above Wrigley

    1. TWC

      Whaaa???  I’m gonna go out on a (very substantial) limb and say that Aramis Ramirez’s jersey will *never* be retired by the Cubs.  As in, like, ever.

      1. Katie

        I second that.

        1. TWC

          *phew*

          Then it’s been decided.

          1. Spencer

            #21 better be up there soon.

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