10/30 Ramirez headed for free agency

Aramis Ramirez is headed for free agency. The Cubs announced Sunday night that they will exercise their side of the $16 million option for 2012, and the third baseman has two days to declare his interests. However, a source said Ramirez has told the Cubs he will decline the option and explore free agency. If Ramirez does that, the Cubs will not have to pay him the $2 million buyout.

Ramirez, 33, has said he would stay with the Cubs if they gave him a multi-year deal. His last contract with the team was a five-year, $75 million package, which he signed in 2007, that included a $14.6 million player option for 2011, and the mutual option for the 2012 season.

Ramirez had two days after the World Series ended to exercise or decline the option. He will be the top third baseman available on the free agent market. In his ninth season with the Cubs, he batted .306 with 35 doubles, 26 homers and a team-high 93 RBIs. He also led the team in slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Ramirez did get off to a slow start this season, hitting two home runs in the first two months combined. But he belted eight in June and nine in July en route to becoming the fifth player in franchise history to have at least seven 25-homer seasons, joining Sammy Sosa, Billy williams, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo.

— Carrie Muskat

1 Comment

Awesome career with the Cubs from one of Hendry’s few but excellent trades….see ya’ Ram, good luck getting anything beyond 2-3 years and staying healthy and motivated to hustle to first base. I hope Epstein maintains and realizes players like Ramirez are not what is needed for the Cubs in 2012, we need development of younger players that will be around AND PRODUCTIVE in 3-5 years when we ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

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