2011 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have one option situation due after the season, and it's a crucial one.  Third baseman Aramis Ramirez faces a $14.6MM player option, which he'll think about after the season.  Ramirez also has a $16MM mutual option for 2012, which can vest if Ramirez wins the LCS or regular MVP award this year or next or makes the All-Star team both years.  Though he might not be able to get a $15MM salary on the open market, he could find more than one guaranteed year.  I expect history to repeat itself – Ramirez will opt out but eventually agree to an extension to stay with the Cubs.

The Cubs also have a pair of important free agents: Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly.  Both players want to stay, but it sounds like discussions will occur after the season.  The question might be more on the Cubs' side - GM Jim Hendry has a history of retaining his own free agents if he wants them back.  New Cubs Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy signed one-year deals, so they'll be eligible as well.  Ramirez, Lee, and Lilly will earn about $41MM in 2010. 

Increases to players under contract will total $6.1MM for 2011, topped by Marlon Byrd's $2.5MM bump.  On the flip side, the Cubs will pay Carlos Silva $6MM in 2011 as opposed to the $12MM they would've paid Milton BradleyGeovany Soto will get a raise as a first-year arbitration player, while the Cubs' second-year group includes Ryan Theriot, Carlos Marmol, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman, Tom Gorzelanny, and Koyie Hill

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

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