Aramis Ramirez softens trade stance
MILWUAKEE -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez may be softening his stance that he would veto any trade that had him leaving the city, but as of Thursday the Cubs did not appear to be looking to move him.
When asked Thursday if he would waive his no-trade clause, Ramirez was less emphatic than he had been on previous occasions. In fact, he said he wouldn't fit in if the Cubs chose to rebuild.
"Nobody has come forward from the team, [and said] 'We want to trade you,'" Ramirez said after the Brewers completed a sweep of the Cubs. "That's only in the media. [GM] Jim [Hendry] hasn't said anything about trading me. Or what's the other guy, [team president Crane] Kenney? Nobody has asked me to waive my no-trade clause. Hey, nobody wants me. They want good players. If they come to me with a trade, we'll see. But nobody has talked to me about it."
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Ramirez and the Cubs had conversations 10 days ago, and it was implied at that time by Ramirez's camp that he'd like to stay with the team beyond 2011. The Cubs may consider keeping Ramirez because of the dearth of power-hitting third basemen in major league baseball. Ramirez and the Cubs both have options for his contract to extend into the 2012 season. The Cubs were not looking to move Ramirez as of Thursday night, according to a major league source.
"That's not a secret, everybody knows [I want to stay]," Ramirez said. "But if they're looking to rebuild, I can't fit in, so we'll see."
"We are going to keep looking at everything," Hendry said. "It's hard to predict, as we've talked about, there are a lot of things that can't be done during the season. If we can whittle away at it and move a few more people that we know aren't coming back, that's what we'll look into. We won't be moving anybody that has a bright future for us just to make deals.
Ramirez was clearly feeling the frustration of a disappointing season after the Cubs ended their series in Milwaukee with their third straight defeat on Thursday. Ramirez echoed comments made by starter Carlos Zambrano on Wednesday that the team needs to make changes.
"Of course, when you're 20 games under .500 something is not right," Ramirez said. "You can't point to just one thing. Point to pitching, defense, offense. I believe that's the GM and the front office's job. But of course there's going to be changes. We don't play the way we like to. We're 21 games under .500 so obviously there will be changes."
Ramirez is hitting .293 on the season. His 19 home runs are tops among National League third basemen.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com.