Will Aramis Ramirez Opt Out?

The Cubs will face uncertainty at the infield corners after the 2010 season.  We discussed first baseman Derrek Lee earlier today.  Now let's take a look at Aramis Ramirez's situation.

Ramirez faces a $14.6MM player option for 2011.  He also has a mutual option for 2012 at $16MM, with a $2MM buyout attached.  If the club exercises the '12 option and Ramirez declines, he forfeits the buyout.  There are also circumstances under which the '12 option can vest.  Basically, if he exercises his player option for '11, Ramirez will earn either $16.6MM for one year or $30.6MM for two.

Ramirez, who turns 32 during the season, has consistently raked in his Cubs career.  He has had his share of DL trips, with last year's shoulder injury limiting him to 82 games.  Even with a big 2010, Ramirez probably can't earn more than $15-16MM per year.  It is possible, though, that the free agent market would offer a three or four-year guarantee.  Ramirez told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune he won't think about his opt-out clause until after the season.  A year ago, Ramirez said he wanted to finish his career with the Cubs.

Heading into the '06 season, Ramirez was in a similar situation.  He had the opportunity to void his contract after the season and leave three years/$33.5MM on the table.  He did so in October, but a month later signed a below-market five-year, $75MM deal to remain with the Cubs.


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62 Comments on "Will Aramis Ramirez Opt Out?"


101andCounting
5 years 5 months ago

I’ve seen a few people say that after 2010, it might be smart to let Vitters take over at 3B and move Aramis to first if D-Lee ends up walking. Stupid?

5 years 5 months ago

Not at all, I actually think that it’s a pretty reasonable plan going forward, if Vitters is ready by 2011. Unless Lee will take a serious pay cut, I’m not sure that he’s still a great fit in their plans. Ramirez presumably will stick around, and while he’s a decent defender at third, he’ll eventually have to move to the other side of the diamond.

My biggest concern is whether Vitters will be ready by then. The bat is clearly special, but he needs to learn how to take and recognize pitches better before he’ll be ready to contribute at the ML level.

Given some of the injuries, his relatively unimpressive defense, and his age, I’d be shocked if opted out and got more than the 2/30, after the money that Chone Figgins and Adrian Beltre got.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I think that’s a real possibility but 1) we have to make sure Vitters is ready and 2) we have to hope that A-Ram comes back. I think that A-Ram’s days as a 3rd basemen are numbered. He isn’t a great athlete and he’s injury prone. First base may be the safest place to put him in the years ahead. Vitters himself may have to move to first one day, but I think the Cubs hope they can at least get a few years of him at 3rd.

BlueCatuli
5 years 5 months ago

Not stupid, but not smart either. I would be very surprised if Josh Vitters were to ever play over 50 games at 3rd base in a Chicago Cubs uniform. That guy will be the next Ryan Braun as far as pure hitter with limited defense.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

I think it’s questionable if Vitters sees any action at 3B in the bigs. I’m wondering if Vitters ends up replacing Lee, not Ramirez. This is a big year in the minors for Vitters.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

Vitters has a whooooooooole lot of learning to do before we should be pegging him for anything.

First and foremost, he needs to learn what a ball is – players dont generally do very well in the majors when they think pitches behind their back are something they should be trying to make contact with. The big-time Groundball and Popup tendencies against vastly inferior low-minors pitching isnt a good sign either. He has potential, but not much more so far.

vtadave
5 years 5 months ago

To put it another way, Vitters batted a robust .238/.260/.344 last season…in High-A. He walks in about 3% of his PAs where you really want to see at least 8% by now for a guy with 2+ years of pro experience. His big-time breakout in 2008 looks a bit less impressive coupled with a .383 BABIP. Perhaps Matt Wieters or Jason Heyward would have been a better choice at No. 3 overall in 2007.

Let’s see him conquer A-ball before we talk about him taking over for Aramis Ramirez.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

yeah, and while his half-season 2009 line at Peoria looked better it also provided us this

.469/.485/.969/1.454 against Minnesota’s A club (Beloit)
.295/.309/.477/.786 against everyone else

Outside his dominance of one lowly club with a bad pitching staff, he was uninspiring in Straight-A. The BA is fairly nice, but that shouldnt be expected to carry over to the majors when he is facing guys who will take advantage of his inability to lay off pitches outside the zone. The OBP is pitiful already and will only get worse when the BA drops. And the .182 ISO is fair, but not when coupled with the likely sub-300 OBP.

I am one of those who wish they would have drafted someone else. Our system was so bad we would have been better off targeting sure things with lower ceilings then more projectable toolsy guys like the ones that got us in this bad spot to begin with. He may pan out, but I’m not holding my breath

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I feel mostly the same way about Castro but I’m still a fan of old school scouting. It can still tell you things the numbers can’t (the same is true in reverse). Example: Hee Seop Choi had good walk rates and over 1.000 OPS in the minors, but some scouts were skeptical because it was easy to bust him inside with a good major league fastball. They were right. I’ve grown into a lot of respect for advanced stats over the past couple of years, but there’s always a bit more out there. Sort of like DNA sets some guidelines for who a person is, but it doesn’t fully define how successful you will be.

With regard to Castro, I expect we’ll have some amount of disagreement in our assesments. I’m admittedly concerned about the walk rate but it’s really hard to get a good read on teenagers who still have a lot of growth ahead of them, both physically and mentally. Some teens, like Jason Heyward, are just wise beyond their years (as well as being huge), but you can’t expect that from all players. Anway, scouts will tell you Castro is not a hacker. He looks at a couple pitches to get a feel and then generally swings at good pitches and makes solid contact. I wouldn’t expect a skinny teenager to hit high class A and AA pitchers for a whole lot of power either. He’s got about 30 pounds left to put on that frame and it’s going to take time to fill out the right way. As far as the high BABIP rates, I think he’ll always have a higher than average rate in that area (though not as high as it was in the AFL!). He has great bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat. Scouts say he consistently makes pretty hard contact. He may be hitting singles right now, but he’s not a slap hitter. He needs two things: some patience and time to grow into his frame and get stronger before he’s a great major league hitter. My question is, why not let him continue to grow and get better at the minor league level for a bit? Getting stronger is more of a gradual process, but as some Cub players have shown (i.e. Kyler Burke last year or Theriot from 07 to 08) you can significantly increase your walk rate over a year. The walk rate did jump to 8.2% in AA, though that is a very small sample size. But if he continues to build on that, I think it’s possible that he becomes a decent offensive player by 2011. The power component is a few years off anyway. It’s something he’ll have to learn at the big league level as he grows stronger. But if he shows some more patience at the plate (say an 8-10% walk rate), there probably won’t be much reason to hold him back. Cub fans will just have to temper their expectations as he continues to develop. As for what you might see in 2010, I believe it’ll be much closer to Julio Lugo than Hanley Ramirez.

I guess what I’m saying in a nutshell is that it’s still too early to tell on Castro. He’s either going to stay as is (and be Julio Lugo) or he will get stronger and more patient and become the player we hope (need) him to be. Or he’ll only get stronger OR more patient…all those scenarios would make for different types of players. I’m not sure how you feel about that assessment but I think we can agree on what kind of player he’ll likely be if he plays in the majors this year — which is not so good.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of highly rated shortstops, I’d be interested to know what you think of Alcides Escobar, the even higher rated SS of the Brewers with an equally low walk rate, low power numbers, but unlike Castro, he’s 23 and 30 pounds heavier (and roughly the same height)? Granted, Escobar is faster and has an even better glove than Castro, but it still doesn’t add up to a superstar in my opinion. Maybe I’m missing something?

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

The post you were replying to was about Vitters, not Castro. You do know that, right? And while I dont disagree with what you are saying, it is all summed up in my statement of “projectable toolsy guys like the ones that got us in this bad spot to begin with”. That is where my issues come in, we have drafted Colvin, Vitters and Castro and none of them have ability shown – just potential to maybe eventually show that ability.

“My question is, why not let him continue to grow and get better at the minor league level for a bit?”

Dont ask me.

“Getting stronger is more of a gradual process, but as some Cub players have shown (i.e. Kyler Burke last year or Theriot from 07 to 08) you can significantly increase your walk rate over a year.”

Neither of those players increased their walks rates. Theriot was constantly a 12%+ guy in the minors until his rate dropped at AA/AAA in 2006/07 for some reason – likely because his BAbip spiked leading to hits taking place of walks (less opportunity to walk if your ABs are ending in hits more often then they should). And Burke saw a jump but it seems its because pitchers were pitching around him last season – 5 IBB and almost all of his high walk totals coming after the 5th inning.

“Alcides Escobar, the even higher rated SS of the Brewers with an equally low walk rate, low power numbers, but unlike Castro, he’s 23 and 30 pounds heavier”

Agree as far as the bat itself, but think about what you said – Castro with better glove and more speed (meaning likely consistently higher BAbip and in turn BA) / including much better judgment on the basepaths. But I think the real strength comes in Escobar being overwhelming regarded as a fantastic fielder with solid BA ability and high (to huge) SB numbers where Castro has even been pegged by some as a possible move to 2B candidate eventually – while his range and arm are great, people have questioned his reactions and said he has a tendency to get wild. I dont think we have to overly worry about it, but… Well, it doesnt come from no where.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah…I just posted it where there was more room. I figured you’d know who I was talking about anyway.

A couple last things I have to comment 1) Castro is a true SS. The speculated move to 2b is a testament to Hak Ju Lee’s exceptional range at SS and not an indictment of Castro’s ability. You phrased that as if Castro doesn’t have the skills to remain at SS, but that simply isn’t the case. Fangraphs writes, “Defensively, he has the skills to remain at SS.” Baseball America notes that, “Florida State League managers rated him the best defensive SS.” Even the most pessimistic assessment from Kevin Goldstein called Castro solid, but unspectacular at SS. I haven’t seen it written anywhere that Castro will have to move to SS based on any lack of ability. Lee just happens to have exceptional skills that may force a move. But if Lee doesn’t make it, then Castro will remain at SS.

The most important line, however, came from Baseball America which was “Castro just needs time to fill out and polish his skills” Time Hendry! He’s a skinny teenager who still needs to learn. Just because he’s potentiall your biggest name addition it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to add him to the team this year!

And about Escobar…don’t the stolen base totals hurt you if you can’t steal at better than a 75% rate? Escobar hasn’t done that consistently over his minor league career. He’s also reputed to be occassionally careless and lazy at SS, negating some of that superior natural defensive talent. And despite his batting average he’s more erratic at the plate, streakier and goes through periods where he believes he’s a power hitter who needs to pull the ball. That has some serious possibilities for exploitation by major league pitchers.

And then Burke. If you’re among the best power hitters on your team, you’re going to get pitched around. This is how disciplined power hitters accumulate many of their walks to begin with. The fact that they are consistently pitched around adds to the walk totals of Jason Heyward, Albert Pujols, ..etc. It really isn’t any different for Burke. There’s nothing intrinsic about plate discipline. It’s a mindset. Some learn it young like Heyward, some later like Burke. It’s just a matter of changing your approach at the plate. The likelihood is that Burke made some effort to change his approach at the plate last season, it resulted in more walks and also better pitches to drive, which results in more power, which leads to being pitched around, which leads to more walks. It builds on itself.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

The Cubs were set to take Jarrod Parker until the Royals decided to take the overhyped Moustakas. It left Vitters for the Cubs. Heyward wasn’t even on the radar for the Cubs or any other team with a top ten pick. Teams shied away from Wieters because of his reported contract demands. He otherwise would have been the first pick overall.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I think the consensus with Vitters seems to be that he knows what a ball is but he also knows he has a good chance of hitting it. His hand-eye coordination and plate coverage are off the charts good. So he swings at pitches off the plate, not so much because he doesn’t know what a strike is, but because he knows he can hit nearly everything he can reach with his bat. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s a lot more maneageable than pitch recognition problems.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

Trying to make contact with everything; behind his back or not. Thats what I said :-p lol

But as far as fixing it – yeah, after 3 years watching Soriano try to put every peanut bag thrown in the stands over the outfield wall, I’ll remain skeptical about correcting that issue :)

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

He may wind up as a Soriano type hitter if he doesn’t change things soon! But if he can at least hit like the 2007 Soriano, it wouldn’t be so bad! I know too much is made of Jaramillo, but Vitters may actually benefit from his style of looking to swing at pitches within a certain zone only. I don’t think he’ll ever walk a lot, but if he can at least swing at good pitches he can probably reduce that pop-up/groundout rate. Hopefully, he’ll make some progress this spring. It’d be a shame to not see him reach his hitting potential.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“He may wind up as a Soriano type hitter if he doesn’t change things soon!”

That’s what I’m afraid of. Well, Soriano with a bit less power and no speed. So basically, the 2009 Soriano. You know, the one we all really, really, really hate :/

Edit: Forgot the second part of that. Right now he is on pace to be Jeff Francoeur with questionable D at 3B. Yeah, and you know how much I loooove Francoeur. Its just not fair!

“It’d be a shame to not see him reach his hitting potential.”

Oh yeah, it would be horrible if he ended up being the one breaking the long tradition of all our prospects reaching their potential, huh! :( Come on, you know you dont expect him to reach his potential. You cant, you just cant! We’ve seen this movie only about a hundred times before, we know the outcome… lol

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I’m always hopeful :) even though I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m at the point right now where I need to see progress in the peripheral parts of his game.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

lol, yeah i know – Do do, do do, dodo dodo dodo…

yep, just not working as well as it used to after the Lilly/knee news. And I will not find it humorous at all if he decides to give a black knight impersonation with so much of our season resting on his shoulders.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

If Lilly breaks down for a significant length of time we’re in trouble. Even I’d have trouble staying optimistic! Though I could see the pugnacious Lilly battling to the end with an 80 mph fastball…”c’mon ya pansy!”

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

Seriously, experiencing shoulder and now knee issues and he is joking around about it – “barking a little bit” might as well have been “tis but a scratch, I’ve had worse” if you ask me. Waaay too nonchalant for my liking!

Man, really not looking forward to this season at this point.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I think it’s just his personality. I actually get more perturbed when primadonnas draw attention to themselves and make pre-emptive excuses for their performance (i.e. Alfonso Soriano and his “80%” recovery… and, if you’ll pardon an Olympic example, the “excruciating pain” Lindsey Vonn felt before refusing X-rays or modern treatment. Then she wins her gold and soon after changes course and starts downplaying the injury. Barf. I wish the other American girl would have won.) Anyway, Lilly’s the kind of guy who will try to gut it out and not draw attention to himself for it if he’s hurt. But, privately at least, he needs to be honest about his injuries. I don’t think the Cubs can afford for Lilly to pitch at much less than 100%. He doesn’t have that kind of stuff.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah, I hear you and agree. But I would have liked “doesnt seem like a big deal but we will look into it and make sure” and leave it at that. When you try to downplay something too much though, well you begin giving the impression you are hiding something. So his joking comments coupled with those of Lou and Jim (coupled with historical instances) make it seem a bit, well, frighting.

That said, it mainly comes from an uninspiring off season which sadly, ranks as one of Hendry’s better offseasons in a while. So I can be honest and say its got a bunch of built-up concern mixed in there :)

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Too much downplaying brings back memories of the Prior and Wood sagas. On a side note — and this is sure to make you unhappy if you haven’t already heard it — the Cubs are considering using Fontenot as their backup SS so they can use Blanco’s roster space for….Kevin Millar! Apparently, Hendry believes his “clubhouse presence” is worth more than a good fielding utility infielder. Heck, I’m an outgoing, optimistic guy…maybe I should call Hendry and see if he has a roster space for me too. Plus I’m open to a backloaded contract.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

edited out to put in new location

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

(offsetting reply because its such a thin row over there – this is to the obvious post)

You have got to be kidding me!!!

Lets see…
– we have no real 2B already with two (not-so-)utility infielders slated to play there
– Fontenot can only play 2B, and doesnt have a bat really worth even carrying on the club
– Blanco is the only player on the club who can actually play Short (including Theriot if we are really honest here)
– Millar cant play anywhere, and doesnt have a bat.

How does this ever end in Blanco being released (since he is out of options) leaving only Baker and Fontenot for 2B, back-up to Short and back-up to 3B? That will mean there will definitely be games where Blanco, Fontenot and Theriot will all be in the lineup together with nothing to relieve them!!!

And for Millar??? The cant-do-anything man? Chad Tracy I can almost understand, but Millar??? Oh my God! See, I told you the day it was signed this was a mistake! Now it has the possibility of being the biggest offseason mistake the team has made (in an offseason which included adding Silva!).

And to top it all off if this idiotic move takes place? Who would be the middle infield backup if one of Theriot/Blanco/Fontenot got hurt? The Inexperienced and Unproductive kid, Castro? The guy who hasnt posted an OPS over 825 anywhere, ever and has only reached as high as AA where he posted a 744??? If he were to see the majors this quick, I would be shocked to see him post even a 700 OPS. Or do we get lucky and get to see Barney – you know, the guy with the 304 OBP and 634 OPS last season in AAA?

Hendry needs to be fired, today! This is the biggest joke I have heard in a long time, and I am appalled he would even consider the idea!

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Crazy isn’t it? It’s in the Tribune sports section if you want to look it up. I’m hoping it’s the writer’s speculation since he doesn’t actually quote Hendry directly at any point, though Lou is quoted as willing to give Fontenot a shot to open a roster spot for an experienced player. Giving up a roster space for a designated “personality” when we already have roster issues is insane — and a total knee-jerk reaction to the Bradley affair. I thought Millar was the longshot to make the team between him, Hoffpauir, and Tracy. Now I’m not so sure he isn’t the favorite. I thought the bench situation was going to be the most interesting thing to watch, but now it may turn out to be the most frustrating.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

Good news!

supposedly Lou said “Fuld & Blanco will make the team”

Which means
Hill/Fuld/Nady/Blanco and Fontenot. If they want to release Fonetnot to add Millar, that I have (some but overall…) less issue with, and dont think they would anyway after tendering him his contract. (although I would have rather Tracy take Fulds spot and Fukudome back up center – oh well)

anyway, Yay for Hendry being shot down over his stupid idea! :)

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

What a relief. Where’d you read that? Maybe the Fontenot/Millar idea was just wishful thinking by the writer/reporter, since they would benefit most from Millar making the roster. I’m okay with Fuld as long as we have Tracy readily available in AAA. I wouldn’t imagine Tracy would get much playing time unless Lee or Ramirez got hurt.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah, youre telling me – good news!

That said, I read it on the forum so thats some bad news.

Good news though, he has apparently said it multiple times if you search the quote in google.

More Bad news, dont see him saying it today.

Good news is Hendry is clearly clueless, we know this from history.

Bad news, Lou isnt always any better.

Good news, “Millar joked about begging Jim Hendry for a job and discussed the importance of team chemistry” – he wasnt necessarily a Hendry target but rather a guy desperate for a job.

Bad news, that doesnt mean Hendry wasnt swooned over a nice candlelight dinner that left him unable to say no to any requests – we have seen it before :/

Good news, Millar sucks and provides nothing to the team

Bad news, that didnt stop them from offering Fonetnot arbitration. Or signing Gathright last season. Or obtaining Freel. Or… well, you get the idea.

I just dont know. I am hopeful, but if Millar sniffs the ML roster I might explode! It will probably take a day or two to get there, but if you see someone charging the compound guns a blazing after news of a Kevin addition to the 25 man, please root me on!

First target is a gigantic one that would be almost impossible to miss. So I should at least be able to take out my primary goal before being taken down myself :)

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Considering the circumstances, you may want to use the “justifiable homicide” defense on that one.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

(ended up in the wrong spot so will try this again, lol)

Well… Per the MustyRat:

Mike Fontenot is more than willing to take a few grounders at shortstop. Whether or not he can handle the position could determine who will make up the Cubs’ bench.

“We’ve got a lot of people to look at here,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Wednesday. “Either you’re going to want a little more defense or you’re going to want some offense. If Fontenot can play some shortstop, we’ll look to carry a bat. If he can’t, we’ll be able to carry one less bat on the bench.”

If the Cubs had depth at the middle-infield spots, they could keep someone like Kevin Millar or Chad Tracy or Brad Snyder or Bryan LaHair or Micah Hoffpauir on the bench. They already plan on having a defensive outfielder, a defensive infielder (which would be either Fontenot or Baker) and a backup catcher in Koyie Hill. Piniella wants some offense.

“That’s what Spring Training is for and we’ll look at it,” Piniella said. “No determination has been made.”

And can you say – What the (expletive) is the (expletive) problem here that you (expletive) (expletive) sucking (expletive) (expletive) seriously want to (expletive) on the whole (expletive) team just so you can (expletive) who knows (expletive) what with a (expletive) Kevin (expletive) worthless (expletive) Millar (that (expletive) (expletive)) addition!!!

Oh, and
“Piniella also said if shortstop Ryan Theriot was out for a significant amount of time, 19-year-old Starlin Castro would get the call. ”

(expletive)! Yeah, wonderful idea; let’s (expletive) give up on the whole (expletive) season and ruin the (expletive) kids (expletive) future just so you can (expletive) please a few (expletive) drunk (expletive) (expletive) (expletive) in the stands that dont know their (expletive) from their (expletive) (expletive) with a kid that has gotten more (expletive) hype then (expletive) God with a whole lotta (expletive) nothing (expletive) shown and even (expletive) less learned!

Seriously, up for a roadtrip man? I can promise you, it’d be one to remember!

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

LOL! I guess our worst bench fears are becoming reality. Anyway, if you did want a bat, wouldn’t it just be easier to make Fukudome your backup CF?

I don’t know what the deal is with the rush to play Castro. Let’s let the kid develop and iron some things out. Right now he’s a bottom of the order hitter who should be decent on defense. I don’t think he’d even outproduce the Fontenot/Baker platoon right now. And if you did need a SS, wouldn’t you get the same thing calling up Darwin Barney, who is closer to a finished product and doesn’t need the development time that Castro does?

Maybe you ought to start packing for that warm Arizona weather and talk some sense into Hendry and Lou!

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

yeah, ohh goody, Lou is being as foolish as we know Hendry is (although, it could be something handed down from Jim to Lou I guess. I wouldnt put it past Hendry to have said to Kevin “we will give you every opportunity to win the last bench spot” and then told Lou that he expects him to find a way to fit him on the club if at all possible. That would be a Hendry move I could see, lol).

Fukudome as backup CF with a bench of Nady, Tracy, Fontenot, Blanco and Hill? What are you, on drugs! No way do we want something logical like that going down – we would rather have ZERO shortstops on the club and a man who can do nothing at all on the bench! World series, here we come!

As far as the rush to push Castro – hype. Hendry loooves hype. When a player has a “name” he must be good, right? Hey, he hit over 350 in the AFL, he must be good, right? Hey, a bunch of people put him on top prospect lists, he must be good right? Well, we better see if he is good fast then! So we’ll rush him, watch him flounder, give him almost no realistic chances to succeed over a year or two and then peg him as a bust and ship him to Baltimore for a mediocre out of options reliever… Been here, done this :(

But you dont want me headed to Arizona unless you want to see me on CNN. If I were to go, talking would be the least important thing on my list.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

LOL…yeah, I’m not sure I want to see you on CNN. Though you’d be something of an anti-hero!

I saw that Theriot got hit in the hand today by Rafael Dolis…who may be the hardest thrower the Cubs have right now. Theriot was okay though, so the insidious plot to start Castro has been foiled…for now. Seriously, you may be right about the hype and the big name. It’s as if they are trying to get Cub fans excited about something, since (surprisingly) the Byrd/Grabow/Nady signings and the acquisition of Silva haven’t generated much buzz. I like Castro and I think he’ll be a solid player…but not in 2010. But like I said, if you want someone to come up and play solid defense and hit .250, you might as well call up Darwin Barney. But noooo…the Cubs prefer to mess with a better prospect’s future development because calling up Barney has no name value and would disappoint the bleacher bums. And as inadequate as a Baker/Fontenot platoon is, they would still outproduce either Castro or Barney this year. It’s pointless. I do think the Cubs will send Castro down in the end, but he’ll stay with the team for much of spring training and be up during the season when the Cubs find the first excuse to call him up. They just can’t help themselves. They will rationalize thusly: “We think Castro is best suited to continue his development playing in the majors and reap the benefits of working with Rudy Jaramillo. But right now we’re just asking him to have fun and play solid defense. Anything he hits will be a bonus.” You heard it hear first.

Also saw that Guzman is having shoulder soreness and will sit out a few days. I guess the early comparisons to Prior were right…just not in the way they had hoped. So before this spring is done we should expect to see either Kiko Calero or Jason Frasor or some other veteran middling reliever in a Cub uni.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“Theriot was okay though, so the insidious plot to start Castro has been foiled…for now”

Seriously, what are the odds Castro isnt the SS in 2011?

So, assuming you feel like I do about the above question we have this:
Extremely young and raw kid with questionable plate discipline and next to nothing really impressive shown having the team put gigantic hopes on him to fill a gigantic ML roster hole quicker then he should because the hype surrounding him is at a full peak and we have no other attractive options in-house already. Now the second question – is that paragraph talking about Castro or Pie?

“Seriously, you may be right about the hype and the big name. It’s as if they are trying to get Cub fans excited about something, since (surprisingly) the Byrd/Grabow/Nady signings and the acquisition of Silva haven’t generated much buzz.”

What else could it be? He hasnt shown anything other then the ability to hit singles at a high rate when he has a ton of luck on his side. Oh goody, a 20 year old who relies on outperforming BAbip to generate an extreme amount of singles that will mask his complete inability in all other areas! Where can I buy my jersey and what day will we get our bobbleheads?

Oh and yeah, absolutely shocking that the fans didnt rally around Grabow, Byrd and Nady, isnt it? When the fanbase is smart enough to see questionable players off unrealistic performances and the front office isnt – well… But I dont think its any secrete that the Loonies run this asylum. In fact, I think the entire baseball world is aware of that.

“So before this spring is done we should expect to see either Kiko Calero”

Yep, that’s the type of Hendry target that I am blown away isnt already in camp! Mediocre reliever with poor control and gigantic secondary questions off fluke ERA season – its a Hendry dream come true and the Guzman situation will give him the excuse he needs to go to the Ricketts and say “I need an extra 4 million because we really need a reliever and I can get one that had an ERA under 2.0!!!”.

(Expletive) Hendry…

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“Theriot was okay though, so the insidious plot to start Castro has been foiled…for now”

Seriously, what are the odds Castro isnt the SS in 2011?

So, assuming you feel like I do about the above question we have this:
Extremely young and raw kid with questionable plate discipline and next to nothing really impressive shown having the team put gigantic hopes on him to fill a gigantic ML roster hole quicker then he should because the hype surrounding him is at a full peak and we have no other attractive options in-house already. Now the second question – is that paragraph talking about Castro or Pie?

“Seriously, you may be right about the hype and the big name. It’s as if they are trying to get Cub fans excited about something, since (surprisingly) the Byrd/Grabow/Nady signings and the acquisition of Silva haven’t generated much buzz.”

What else could it be? He hasnt shown anything other then the ability to hit singles at a high rate when he has a ton of luck on his side. Oh goody, a 20 year old who relies on outperforming BAbip to generate an extreme amount of singles that will mask his complete inability in all other areas! Where can I buy my jersey and what day will we get our bobbleheads?

Oh and yeah, absolutely shocking that the fans didnt rally around Grabow, Byrd and Nady, isnt it? When the fanbase is smart enough to see questionable players off unrealistic performances and the front office isnt – well… But I dont think its any secrete that the Loonies run this asylum. In fact, I think the entire baseball world is aware of that.

“So before this spring is done we should expect to see either Kiko Calero”

Yep, that’s the type of Hendry target that I am blown away isnt already in camp! Mediocre reliever with poor control and gigantic secondary questions off fluke ERA season – its a Hendry dream come true and the Guzman situation will give him the excuse he needs to go to the Ricketts and say “I need an extra 4 million because we really need a reliever and I can get one that had an ERA under 2.0!!!”.

(Expletive) Hendry…

optionn
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t see how he makes more money opting out. He will exercise his player option in this economy.

He signed a 5 year 75 million below market deal? I doubt he gets 2 years and 15 million if he was a free agent this year. The Cubs been loose with there wallet a few years ago. Signing Zambrano for 90 million for 5 years, Soriano for 100+ million. They need to be a little more fiscally responsible in the future.

rootman1010
5 years 5 months ago

vitters can go play first base if d-lee goes, or maybe right field after kosuke’s deal is up. the cubs need aramis as he is the best all-around player on the team. he is extremely valuable.

rootman1010
5 years 5 months ago

and no, i don’t think aramis will opt out of his deal. with a healthy season i could see the cubs extending his deal for another 3 or 4 years, especially if he is willing to take a bit of a hometown discount. he is not a player i would worry about turning into a bad contract like a vernon wells or even alfonso soriano… when healthy, ramirez is a great asset

Robert Gaito
5 years 5 months ago

It would be foolish for him to opt out. While when he signed it, it may have been under market value, he’s not going to get any better than that from the market.

DLeeFan
5 years 5 months ago

I’m prone to agree with the others. I just cannot see him opting out. As was stated, he’s not going to get a better deal (on a per year basis) than he has now in this economic market.
What the Cubs decide to do after the next season regarding Vitters, Castro, Lee, Ramirez, and Lilly will be very interesting.

baseball52
5 years 5 months ago

I speculated this earlier with some of my buddies, like in December and January. I’d say this could either be the Cubs’ dream or nightmare. Yes they would have 30 million to spend, but that would be dependent on the free agent class. Is Lee out there? Beckett? etc… The Cubs would have to be active in getting at least one guy that year if Lee, Ramirez, and Lilly all walked.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

Yes, the Cubs would be active. IMO, it would not be a horrible situation if all three walked. I happen to like all three players, but renewing them without exploring options could be a mistake. All three of those names are getting up there in baseball age and carry injury risks. Nothing against those three, but being extended another 2-3 years past their current deal scares me a little bit.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

I meant to say in Ram’s case I am guessing Ramirez does not opt out. He will be 32 this season with the injury bug. Extending him past his current deal after ’11 (2MM club buyout in ’12) would scare me a bit. Even if we don’t know if Vitters would be ready and able to play 3B.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

As I mentioned in the other thread, he is set to make 2/30.6 if he doesnt opt out and would almost certainly be able to find someone willing to give him a 2013 contract in the ballpark of 1/5 in even a more worst case scenario. That means he is pretty much in line for 3/36.6 or more over the next 3 seasons if he doesnt opt out.

Can he beat 3/35.6 on the open market in 2011? Pretty unlikely with his concerns and because of it I cant see him opting out. He would be risking a contract set to pay him 3/36 or more in hopes he gets a contract that will pay him 3/36. That isnt a risk worth taking.

firealyellon
5 years 5 months ago

Prediction: After 2010 the Cubs renegotiate Aramis’ contract and sign him to a 7 year/$140M extension. Full NTC and deal backloaded, naturally.

101andCounting
5 years 5 months ago

I’d be laughing a lot harder if I didn’t believe it was entirely too probable.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

If Hendy isnt fired, it is quite possible.

firealyellon
5 years 5 months ago

unless the cubs win fewer games than in 2009, there is a near-zero chance Hendry will be fired in 2010

monroe_says
monroe_says
5 years 5 months ago

Why would a GM ever give a player an opt-out clause? There is simply no upside to such a huge concession. If a player is actually earning his contract, he gets to leave? It makes no sense.

bjsguess
5 years 5 months ago

Isn’t that like saying, “Why would a GM pay this player “x” dollars.” There is no upside to paying for players – upside is holding onto your Benjamins.

The option is a serious tool in the hands of an agent. It is often used in lieu of additional cash that might be required OR to provide an out for a player who is unsure about his new team (recent example was CC and NY).

In Ramirez’s case he did sign for under market. I’m sure that the opt out clause was inserted to compensate Ramirez for taking less money. Had the market continued to increase from when he signed the contract, the opt out would make tons of sense due to salary inflation. As it stands, I doubt he exercises it as the market just sucks.

NTC, Opt Outs, Player Options, performance based incentive clauses are all ways that clubs can potentially save a little money annually by offering the player additional upside.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“In Ramirez’s case he did sign for under market.”

You know, enough of this. The Ramirez deal was the highest paid AAV to a 3B ever when it was signed – by 2.2 MM I might add, and 2.7 MM more then Chipper Jones had signed for the year prior. It was also the 3rd highest amount ever given to a non-1B infielder at the time, being topped by only the first ARod and Jeter deals. And since it was signed in 2007, only 3 infielders have signed for a higher AAV – ARod again, then Michael Young and Miguel Cabrera.

It was a massive deal, and I find it really hard to say the biggest deal to a 3B ever (+17% higher even) and 3rd highest amount to a middle infielder ever is a hometown discount. Chipper Jones had an extremely similar 3 year run leading up to the deals they signed, and he took 2.7 MM less a year – that is a discount!

connorburke
5 years 5 months ago

maybe the twins could get him if aramis ramirez doesn’t pick up the option and vallencia isn’t up to snuff

Corey
5 years 5 months ago

The twins would NEVER dish out that kind of dough for a player like Ramirez. They wouldn’t put up the same price for Santana! You should worry more about keeping the star power you have.

homerg720
5 years 5 months ago

Fleecing the Pirates for A-Ram was Hendry’s best move by far…He’s not going anywhere

Corey
5 years 5 months ago

Man, Ramirez is NEVER good for over 130 games. We’ll be lucky to get that from him. So often injured! So, a guaranteed $14 mil. After seeing the hit in pay the free agent market took this year, I’ll bet he takes that option. Only way he won’t is if he stays healthy all season, and if he does, I don’t want him back. I would find it very convenient if he played a whole season in a contract year. I would say he is only worth $10-12 mil with the market the way it is now, and his injury problems. If he get’s injured again this year I would look to see that price drop. I’m afraid he’s ganna be another Scott Rolen. I hope he proves me wrong.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

Don’t hold your breath on Vitters. The Cubs so seldom produce anything worthwhile from their farm system & there’s no hard evidence to suggest this will counter the trend.

It likely would be a dream for the Cubs for Ramirez & just about anyone else w/ a double digit contract to hit the road. The organisation is so strapped for cash after this purchase that it’s unlikely they will be making any major moves for several years. The Ricketts family did not anticipate not only how much it would eventually cost to purchase the Cubs, both the purchasing price & the debt they needed to absorb. Until albatross contracts such as Soriano & Fukudome are off the books the team will be hamstrung as far as how it can improve.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

“The Cubs so seldom produce anything worthwhile from their farm system & there’s no hard evidence to suggest this will counter the trend.”

Well, except for Zambrano, Marmol, Theriot, Soto, Wells, and a pretty solid set of bullpen arms…they’ve also produced solid starters like Nolasco, Lohse, Garland and other for other teams. You can say that their bonus babies seldom turn out the way they hoped, but the system has produced it’s share of solid starters overall.

And basing predictions based on past results is not the most effective way of prognosticating the future. For one thing, the Cubs have had a new scouting director for the past few years who is a better talent evaluator than Hendry or McPhail, both of whom focused on raw athletic ability over baseball ability…a formula for disaster when you consider the awful development staff the Cubs employed at the time. There isn’t anything intrinsic about the Cubs and their ability to produce talent. It depends on the staff you have in place.

I’d be worried about Milwaukee signing Fielder, Braun, Gallardo etc. when they hit free agency. Now that Escobar has been promoted, there isn’t much coming up the Milwaukee talent pipeline these days apart from a positionless Lawrie/Gamel tandem. As I said, you have to have the right staff in place and, unfortunately for Milwaukee, Jack Z is bringing in talented people for the Mariners these days.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

Marmol can’t find the strike zone for the life of him, Theriot is a bench player in a starting role, Soto is a one year wonder who was likely juicing (not that I really care about steroids), Wells had decent freshman tour. Who are these ambiguous solid bullpen arms you’re referring to?

Ricky Nolasco? That’s seriously part of your argument? Lohse has had one sub-4 ERA year in his career. Garland was developed by the White Sox.

Actually, using past results is precisely the way predictions are made. Perhaps you just blurt out arbitrary prognostications but most would use past trends as a way to gauge future output.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Your argument can be summed up thus: The Cubs have never turned out any prospects (a falsehood) therefore they won’t turn out any in the future. That’s poor logic any way you look at it. Yes, you use the past to make predictions on the future — when they involve the same person. But whatever happened to Corey Patterson has nothing to do with Josh Vitters, Starlin Castro or whomever. You are basing someone else’s past to predict an entirely different person’s future. You are using Hendry’s past record of talent evaluation to gauge Tim Wilken’s current talent evaluation. Yeah, that makes sense.

And all those “problems” you point out and the Brewers still haven’t been able to pass the Cubs in two years and may not do it again this year. I wouldn’t criticize another teams talent until you can actually beat them.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

First off, why do you keep bringing up the Brewers? I never mentioned them anywhere, indicated that I live anywhere near Milwaukee or that I’m a fan of the team. If I misled you somehow into thinking that, oops.

Yes, yes I can say that until they produce a consistent stream of worthwhile talent I have no reason to believe they will. Prove me wrong and then alright. Until then, sitting on my hands & chanting “this is the year” would make me no different than the rest of the people who have waited over a century for this to be the year b/c “this batch of talent is due” & “things have really turned around for the organisation.”

5 years 5 months ago

NO. End of story.