Aramis Ramirez is looking for a multiyear deal this offseason and it sounds like he’s prepared to test the market if the Cubs don’t re-sign him first. The Cubs have a $16MM option for the 33-year-old in 2012 ($2MM buyout). If they pick up the option, Ramirez will have to decide whether to accept or decline and become a free agent.
He has a .304/.356/.508 line with 25 homers, so other teams would figure to have interest, especially since he probably won't cost a draft pick. Here’s a look at some of the suitors agent Paul Kinzer may hear from this offseason...
- Cubs - Though Ramirez says he’d like to stay in Chicago, it will be hard to determine the team’s interest until they complete their search for a new general manager.
- Orioles - Chris Davis is auditioning at third base and Mark Reynolds has moved to first. The Orioles could elect to keep that pair in place instead of pursuing Ramirez. Keep in mind that they’re likely to have someone other than Andy MacPhail running baseball operations this offseason.
- Tigers - Brandon Inge is under contract for 2012 and Wilson Betemit hits free agency this offseason. Despite Inge’s success since returning from the minor leagues, he no longer appears to be the long-term answer for the Tigers. Promising 19-year-old Nick Castellanos just finished his first pro season and has yet to play above Class A.
- Angels - Alberto Callaspo has a knack for getting on base, so the Angels aren’t desperate. That said, they had interest in Adrian Beltre last offseason, which suggests GM Tony Reagins would consider upgrading over Callaspo.
- Reds - The Reds would discuss Ramirez if he hits free agency, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Scott Rolen is under contract for $6.5MM in 2012 and the powerful Juan Francisco is another intriguing option.
- Rockies - The Rockies don’t have a long-term solution at third. Ian Stewart, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jordan Pacheco are some more affordable internal options for Colorado GM Dan O’Dowd to consider.
- Brewers - Casey McGehee's production has fallen off, though third base doesn't figure to be Milwaukee's offseason focus.
- Dodgers - It's hard to say how liberally the Dodgers will be able to spend this offseason. They could decide to look for more offense than Casey Blake (out for the year after undergoing surgery for a nerve issue) and Juan Uribe (.557 OPS) offered at third.
- Astros - The Astros aren’t likely to spend big this offseason, regardless of if and when Jim Crane officially becomes the new owner. Chris Johnson has just a .650 OPS, though he is considerably cheaper than Ramirez.
- Marlins - The Marlins move to a new stadium next year, so they could have interest in Ramirez despite the presence of slick-fielding prospect Matt Dominguez.
- Athletics - Scott Sizemore has been a pleasant surprise for the Athletics, another team that pursued Beltre last winter. In theory the A’s could shift Sizemore into a utility role, but free agent hitters aren’t generally drawn to Oakland.
- White Sox - Ramirez likes Chicago and he offers more offense than Brent Morel. There’s talk that the White Sox may have to lower payroll, in which case another major free agent acquisition would seem unlikely.