Aramis Ramirez talks Cubs deal
CINCINNATI -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, the team's top run producer this season, said he's looking for more next year than the one-year, $16 million player/team option that remains on his contract.
"If I hit the marketplace I should end up with a two- or three-year deal," Ramirez told ESPNChicago.com. "The reason is, there aren't a lot of third baseman available this offseason. But if (Cubs officials) approach me, I'm sure we can get something done. But probably not for one year."
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At 33, Ramirez is in a position to get his last big contract and he and his agent, Paul Kinzer, are hoping to entice the Cubs to offer a longer-term deal. Any negotiations are complicated by the fact that Jim Hendry was fired as Cubs general manager in August and the team is still seeking his successor.
"My priority has always been to stay with the Cubs," Ramirez said. "But, right now, we don't even have a GM to make any decisions. So I hope we finish strong the next two weeks and then we'll see what happens.
"A one-year thing is not ideal. Every player wants to be in place for at least two or three years. But the one-year stuff, that's kind of tough to do. But I do want to stay with the Cubs if I can."
Ramirez signed a five-year, $75 million deal in November of 2006. It includes a player and a team option in 2012. The day after the 2011 World Series ends, the Cubs have to tell Ramirez if they are picking up his $16 million option. If they choose not to, they owe him a $2 million buyout. If the Cubs do pick up the option, Ramirez can accept, or decline and become a free agent.
"I'm prepared for everything right now," Ramirez said. "Like I said before, we don't have a GM and November is right around the corner. Hopefully the Cubs will want to keep me for a while. But this is a business so anything can happen."
After homering in the sixth inning on Monday, Ramirez became the only Cub besides Hall of Famer Billy Williams to record 30 doubles and 25 home runs in six different seasons. This year, after a slow April and May, the Cubs third baseman has been one of baseball's most productive hitters over the last three and a half months. Ramirez entered Monday's game 10th in the NL in batting average (.303) and tied for ninth in RBIs (89) and total bases (266).
Ramirez was obtained in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in July of 2003. He has been with the Cubs longer consecutively than any active player outside of Carlos Zambrano, who was put back on the active roster on Sunday, but will not rejoin the team this season.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.