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Saturday, September 24, 2011
Aramis Ramirez wants to join contender

ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez has two requirements when he enters the free agent market after the season -- a multiyear contract and the chance to play for a contender with a real shot at playing in the World Series.

"I think any team that comes after me has got to be a team that is ready to win," Ramirez said Saturday on "Talking Baseball" on ESPN 1000. "I don't think any team that is in the rebuilding process or if they're not ready is going to come after me because I'm not that kind of player who is going to wait two, three years then see what happens. Any team that comes after me has got to be ready to win right now."

Ramirez has played eight and a half seasons with the Cubs, and leads them with 92 RBIs to go along with 25 home runs and a .306 batting average this season. He decided he would opt out of the $16 million option year, if it was picked up by the Cubs, and test free agency. He is in the final year of a five-year, $75 million contract.

"I'm going to look at every situation, but my goal is to compete," Ramirez said. "I know it's hard to win a World Series but at least you've got to be able to compete and that's what I'm looking for."

Ramirez has not played since Tuesday when he left a game against the Brewers with a mild right quad strain. He was out of Saturday's lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals, but hopes to be back on Monday for the opener of the Cubs final series of the season against the San Diego Padres.

"I don't want to go home without playing," Ramirez said. "I want to play at least two games in San Diego and see what happens."

Any games he plays in San Diego will likely mark the end of his Cubs career which proved to be a productive run as the franchise's best third baseman since Ron Santo. Part of that success came as a result of adjusting to playing so many day games at Wrigley Field.

"It was an adjustment that I had to make, and I did make an adjustment," Ramirez said. "You've got to be able to deal with it because you're going to have at least 50-55 day games at home so if you want to be successful you've got to be able to deal with it."

"A lot of guys don't like that. I've talked to a lot of players, and they always tell me 'How do you do it? And I just say 'Well, I just take it like spring training.' But a lot of players don't like to play day games five times a week."