Just a day after Aramis Ramirez officially became a free agent, the Chicago Cubs appear set to part ways with their veteran third basemen. During yesterday’s press conference introducing new general manager Jed Hoyer, Theo Epstein told reporters that Ramirez will likely be moving on.
Chicago decided to pick up Ramirez’s team option for the 2012 season, signifying their willingness to pay the slugger $16 million next year. But the short term deal didn’t appeal to Ramirez, who elected to opt-out of his contract. In doing so, Ramirez became a free agent.
After yesterday’s conference, it appears that Ramirez is set to hit the open market. While Epstein said that it wasn’t “productive” to rule anything out completely this early in the offseason, Chicago’s president of baseball operations did hint that the Cubs will likely be “looking for a new solution at third” for 2012.
Through his agent, Ramirez has said that he is sorry his era in Chicago “is coming to an end”. Though Ramirez “loves Chicago and the fans”, the 33-year-old is looking for a multi-year deal.
While the Cubs were willing to bring Ramirez back on the one year option, a longer term deal for the aging third baseman does not seem to be something that fits into Epstein’s plans. Theo noted that Ramirez’s “position as the top free agent third baseman” on the market is likely to earn him several significant multi-year offers, leaving the Cubs looking “for different solutions”.
MLBTR.com predicted that Ramirez, who’s spent nine seasons in Chicago, will end up signing with the Orioles. Whoever gets him will be picking up the top third baseman on the free agent market in 2011. After a down year in 2010, Ramirez rebounded to post solid numbers this season, maintaining a line of .306/.361/.510 with 62 extra base hits and 93 RBI’s.
You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.