Results tagged ‘ Aramis Ramirez ’

11/2 Ramirez officially free agent

Aramis Ramirez notified the Cubs late Tuesday that he was declining to exercise his side of the 2012 mutual option, and is now a free agent. The Cubs had exercised their side on Sunday, and the third baseman had two days to declare his intentions. By declining, the Cubs do not have to pay the $2 million buyout, and they will receive a supplemental pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft as compensation. In nine seasons with the Cubs, Ramirez batted .294 with 239 homers, 806 RBIs. He posted seven seasons with at least 25 home runs.

— Carrie Muskat

11/1 Theo on Big Z, Ramirez & more

Theo Epstein says he would like to talk to Carlos Zambrano before deciding what the Cubs will do regarding the right-hander. Epstein did speak to Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver. Zambrano was scheduled to pitch this weekend in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caribes, and threw 40 pitches on Tuesday in a side session. He has not pitched in a game since Aug. 12 when he left the Cubs game in Atlanta.

“I have had conversations with Barry Praver, Carlos’ representative, and that was an enlightening conversation,” Epstein said Tuesday. “I sat down with a number of guys who have been here, working alongside Carlos during his Cubs career. That was also enlightening. Now it’s just a matter of processing the information, putting it together, following up directly with Carlos and seeing what’s best for the Cubs. That’s what’s most important.”

* As for Aramis Ramirez, he still has to declare his side of the mutual option. The Cubs said they would pick up the $16 million option for next year. If Ramirez declines, as is expected, he will be a free agent.

“He had a terrific career with the Cubs while he was here,” Epstein said, talking in past tense about the third baseman. “We certainly wish him well in the future. I wouldn’t rule anything out but given his position as the top free agent third baseman, it’s certainly a likelihood that another team will make him a contract that appeals to him and we’ll be looking for different solutions.”

* On the topic of compensation between the Red Sox and Cubs for Epstein, he said MLB may give the two teams an extension. Tuesday was supposed to be the deadline for the two teams to finalize compensation. The Cubs and Padres also must determine compensation for Hoyer, but they have until early December.

 — Carrie Muskat

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

10/29 Roster moves

Free agency begins tonight. Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed to a 24-hour delay to the start of free agency, and will officially begin at 11:01 p.m. CT Saturday. All team/player/mutual option decisions are due by 10:59 p.m. CT Monday. That means Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Dempster must decide by then whether they want to remain with the Cubs. Free agents will be able to sign contracts with new teams starting at 11:01 p.m. CT Wednesday.

Free agents: Carlos Pena, John Grabow, Kerry Wood, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Ortiz and Reed Johnson.

Options: Aramis Ramirez, $16 million mutual option ($2 million buyout); Ryan Dempster, $14 million player option

Arbitration eligible players: Randy Wells, Blake DeWitt, Geovany Soto, Matt Garza, Jeff Baker, Koyie Hill.

— Carrie Muskat


9/28 Looking ahead to 2012

The Cubs’ new GM will have some interesting decisions to make. Here’s a breakdown of the team’s financial/contract commitments for 2012:

Who’s under contract for 2012:

Alfonso Soriano ($18 million)
Carlos Zambrano ($18 million)
Marlon Byrd ($6.5 million)
Carlos Marmol ($7 million)
Sean Marshall ($3.1 million)

To be determined:

Ryan Dempster ($14 million player option)
Carlos Pena (owed $5 million, deferred from 2011 contract to January 2012)
John Grabow (free agent)
Jeff Samardzija (club option)
Kerry Wood (free agent, but says will retire if doesn’t re-sign with Cubs)
Rodrigo Lopez (free agent)
Ramon Ortiz (free agent)
Reed Johnson (free agent)

Arbitration eligible:

Matt Garza
Geovany Soto
Jeff Baker
Koyie Hill
Randy Wells
Blake DeWitt

Expected to leave:

Aramis Ramirez ($16 million club option; $2 million buyout)

Note: Players such as Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Tyler Colvin, and Tony Campana are under club control. They don’t have enough service time to qualify for free agency/arbitration.

— Carrie Muskat

9/27 Cubs lineup

Aramis Ramirez is back in the lineup after being sidelined one week with a strained right quad. Here’s the Cubs lineup for Tuesday’s game vs. the Padres:

Castro SS

Barney 2B

Ramirez 3B

Pena 1B

LaHair RF

Soriano LF

Byrd CF

Soto C

Garza P

— Carrie Muskat

9/25 Extra bases

Heading into the series finale against the Cardinals, here are some pre-game Cubs notes and tidbits:

* Aramis Ramirez may not play until Tuesday, and there’s a possibility he may be done for the season. He did some exercises in the field on Sunday to test his strained right quad.

“I think it’s solely up to him and if he feels he can help us or not,” Mike Quade said Sunday. “We’ll let him determine how he feels physically.”

 * Starlin Castro leads the National League with 202 hits, 12 more than the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp. Castro could become the youngest player (and first 21-year-old) to lead the NL in hits. He will be 21 years 188 days when the season ends. Before this season, the youngest NL hits champ was the Cubs’ Charlie Hollocher in 1918, who with 161 hits was 22 years 83 days at the end of the season. Thanks to Elias and Ed Hartig for the info.

Castro would be the third Cub in the last seven seasons to win the NL hits crown, joining Juan Pierre in 2006 and Derrek Lee in 2005. However, he would only by the fifth Cub in the last 70 seasons to win the hits title, joining Pierre, Lee, Billy Williams (1970) and Phil Cavarretta (1944).

Castro would be the 15th Cub to lead the NL in hits (dating to 1876), the most different players to lead the league for any NL franchise. It would be the 16th overall hits title for a Cub, tied with the Phillies for second-most in the NL and trailing only the Cardinals (20). 

* Castro has reached base safely in a career-high 36-straight games. That breaks the 82-year-old club mark for a shortstop. Woody English had owned the mark by reaching base safely in 34-straight games streak in 1929. He’s hit safely in 45 of his last 50 games since July 31 (70-for-217/.323). The last Cubs player to have a longer streak was Jerome Walton, who had a 43-game streak in 1989.

* Jeff Samardzija has eight relief wins this year, the most in a single-season by a Cubs reliever in 25 years when Lee Smith won nine games in 1986.

* Alfonso Soriano has recorded his 10th-straight season with 20 homers and his eighth overall campaign with 25 blasts, his first since 2008. He has 85 RBIs this year, his most since 2006 with Washington (95). Soriano has 24 RBIs starting Aug. 27, tied for the most in the Majors by any player in that span.

* Carlos Peña has 97 walks, third-most in the NL. That sets a modern day record (since 1900) for most walks in a season by a Cubs first baseman. Mark Grace had 95 walks in 2000. Since 2001, only Sammy Sosa has drawn more walks in a Cubs campaign than Peña. Sosa had 116 free passes in 2001 and 103 in 2002.
Peña enters the day with a .229 batting average. Only one player has ever recorded at least 97 walks and a batting average of .229 or less: Ken Harrelson in 1969 with Cleveland and Boston (99 walks, .221 batting average).

* Carlos Marmol will be happy to say goodbye to Busch Stadium and the Cardinals. He has a 5.79 ERA against St. Louis this year, with two saves in four opportunities. He is 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA in six games at Busch, and 1-for-3 in save opportunities. Against the NL Central, he has a 5.72 ERA.

* Thinking out loud: Interesting that Ramirez says he wants to play for a contender. At the Trading Deadline this year, didn’t he say he would not waive his no trade clause when contending teams were inquiring?

— Carrie Muskat 

9/23 Ramirez is day to day

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was not in the Cubs’ lineup Friday, needing another day to nurse a strained right quad.

“He’s as day to day as I can get,” Mike Quade said Friday. “I waited a long time today [to post the lineup] but it was more wishful thinking on my part than anything else. He’ll see. He’ll start with whether he can give us a pinch-hit at-bat and go from there.”

Ramirez began the day ranked seventh in the National League in batting average at .306. He had to leave Tuesday’s game with the leg injury, which has been bothering him for some time.

There’s been no talk about shutting Ramirez down for the final two series.

“Let’s keep him working, get his treatment,” Quade said. “Maybe he can’t go in this series, but maybe he can give us a pinch-hit. He hasn’t indicated to me that he’s interested in shutting it down.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Cubs lineup vs. Cardinals

Aramis Ramirez is still sidelined with a sore quad and is not in Friday’s lineup for the Cubs’ first game of a three-game set against the Cardinals. Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS

Barney 2B

LaHair RF

Pena 1B

Soriano LF

Byrd CF

LeMahieu 3B

Hill C

Dempster P

— Carrie Muskat

9/21 Ramirez’s agent to meet with Cubs

Aramis Ramirez says his agent will meet with interim GM Randy Bush on Wednesday, although he wasn’t sure if they were going to talk about the third baseman’s future. The Cubs have a $16 million option for next season on Ramirez, who has said he wants to stay with the team but also hinted he wants a multi-year deal. The Cubs don’t have a GM but Ricketts said chairman Tom Ricketts could make the call.

“He’s the boss,” Ramirez said. “If he wants to keep a player, he can. That’s the general manager’s job. [Ricketts] is the owner. If he wants somebody, he has the power to do it.”

Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, also represents Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol and John Grabow, so talks could be about the other players as well.

Technically, the Cubs do not have to make a decision regarding Ramirez until five days after the World Series ends. Ramirez made it sound as if he wants a decision sooner to decide whether to test the free agent market.

“I’ve never been through this process before,” he said. “I’ve never been a free agent. We’ve still got another month, they’ve got until five days after the World Series to decide what they’re going to do.”

But if the Cubs are in rebuilding mode, Ramirez said he didn’t feel he was a good fit.

“I can’t be here for a rebuilding process,” he said. “I’m not that kind of player. I’m 33, I don’t know how much longer I want to be playing. I know it’s hard to win but you have to be able to compete and that’s what I want to do.”

He cited how the team rebounded from a 96-loss season in 2006 to win the National League Central in 2007, saying it can be done. But the Cubs also went on a spending spree, spending $300 million that offseason.

“We have to wait and see what the Cubs want to do first,” Ramirez said about testing the market. “This is my priority to stay here. Like I said, they have to show me they’re going to be better. That’s the bottom line.”

— Carrie Muskat