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.