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Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Ramirez says he could play for Guillen

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO – Although Aramis Ramirez would like to get a three-year extension with the Chicago Cubs, the more likely scenario might have him playing third base for Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins in 2012.

Guillen will soon be named the Marlins new manager, according to a source, and he will be pushing owner Jeffrey Loria to sign some big-time run producers. The Cubs’ soon-to-be free agent Ramirez may be a perfect fit in South Florida.

“Some people might not like Ozzie because he’s honest about his players in the media,” Ramirez said. “But here’s the bottom line -- he’s a winner. He’s won before and the reason he’s going to Florida is they want to win there and they think he’s the best answer.”

Ramirez, 33, led the Cubs in total bases and RBIs this season. Although he’s said he’d like to return to the Cubs, who hold a team option of $16 million for 2012, Ramirez also has an option, which his agent has said he will use to become a free agent.

Ramirez said he would have no problem playing for Guillen in the future.

“Look, I’ve never had a problem with any manager,” Ramirez said. “I just go out there and do my work and play the game. But Ozzie’s a smart guy. He takes pressure off of his players by keeping the media busy with his quotes. Some people think he’s just talking about himself and for no reason. But he keeps the media busy and away from his players because by the time he’s done, they have so much to write and talk about that they can’t wait to go upstairs and start transcribing what he told them. The media, they don’t talk much about [Paul] Konerko or [Adam] Dunn. They just talk about what Ozzie said and ‘Ozzie being Ozzie.’ “

The attraction of South Florida for Ramirez is no different than for any Dominican player. It is only an hour-or-so plane ride back home from Miami.

“Any Dominican player would be interested in playing in Miami,” Ramirez said. “It’s the same kind of weather as we have in the Dominican and now with a new ballpark they have more revenue to add good players to their group of good young players.”

Ramirez, whose power numbers in April and May have been negligible the past two seasons, would benefit from warm weather and a roof, which the new ballpark will have to control rain and temperature swings. All in all, South Florida seems like a good fit for Ramirez. Still he holds out hope that the north siders can make a bid to keep him.

“I really don’t want to talk about all the teams that may be interested,” Ramirez said. “Chicago has been a great place for me. And I hope something can be worked out.”