Gordon Wittenmyer is reporting that the Cubs chose to exercise their 2012 $16 million option for Aramis Ramirez. However, it's a mutual option, and Ramirez will reportedly decline it, in hopes of finding a deal for more years from a team in free agency.
After making it sound like there's no way way he'd be a Cub in 2012 just a few months ago, Ramirez recently said that he'd be open to returning to the team, as he likes the changes that are occurring in the front office(not sure if you heard but they have a new President of Baseball Operations, General Manager, and other fun stuff), and the direction the organization appears to be headed.
Exercising the $16 million option was a no-brainer for the Cubs. Ramirez has made it known that he intended to test the free agent waters, as he'd like to sign a wealthy multiple year deal with a team while he still can(he'll be 34 next June). If he were to sign with another team, the Cubs will now get compensatory draft picks in return.
Had he exercised the option, well, having a .900 OPS-ish third baseman around at $16 million for a year certainly wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. And had he exercised the option and the Cubs chose to decline it, they would've had to pay him a $2 million buyout.
Do I think Ramirez will sign a new deal with the Cubs? No. Theo talks over and over about wanting to build for a 5-7 year run, rather than just "going for it" for the following season or two. The Cubs are, in all likelihood, at least a couple of years away from competing, and Ramirez will be in his late 30s by that point.
Additionally, the Cubs at the moment have arguably the worst defensive roster in baseball, and Theo is a huge believer in good defense. Ramirez was dreadful defensively this season, and that's certainly not going to improve with his quickness and reactionary time at the hot corner only to diminish with his age.
Instead, look for the Cubs to find a cheaper option for third base in free agency(Edwin Encarnacion maybe?), or see what's out there in the trade market.
Get The Latest Blogfines Updates By Following Us On Twitter.