The Cubs wrapped up Day 7 of spring training today, and Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, and Starlin Castro all reported to camp today. While on the field all the attention was on Starlin Castro, off the field the attention was on Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee as both could be free agents after this year. However, Ramirez holds a player option, which in all likelihood he will pick up. Nonetheless, here are some quotes from the two as they get ready for the 2010 season.
"“Maybe this is the year then,” Aramis Ramirez said. “I don’t think that makes any difference. Last year we were the favorites and we won 83 games. A lot of things can happen. You’ve got to do it on the field.”On His Contract Situation…“This year we’re going to have some guys on the last years of their contract,” Ramirez said. “I still have another year. This isn’t my last year. But every year you’ve got to try and get it done.” CHICAGO TRIBUNE"
"“It’s something you really don’t think about,” Lee said. “I’m not going to approach them, I just want to go and play.”Lee also said he probably won’t negotiate any type of extension or new contract during the regular season.“I really haven’t thought about it much, probably not,” Lee said. “I wouldn’t want it to be a distraction.”The Cubs first baseman said he would be open to anything the Cubs had in mind. ESPN CHICAGO"
So while both could be free agents in 2011, I think both will be in a Cubs uniform come next year. But there has been some talk among the Cubs front office about possibly grooming top prospect Josh Vitters as a first basemen, so the Cubs will likely look to extend Lee for the short term.
Other notes from the day…
Tom Ricketts was at the Cubs camp today before the Cubs started their workouts, and had a two messages for the team this year. One was that the Cubs are owned by a family, and he wants the players to feel like they are part of the family. And the second being that they were very excited with how the off-season went, and feels that the Cubs have “great coaches and great players and that should lead to a great year.”
Lou talked about the battle at second base, and said that it is an even competition between Baker and Fontenot. He did say however that Fontenot will get an early look at SS, as far as being a possible backup at the position. But, Andres Blanco still looks like the safest bet to be the backup shortstop.
Cubs were a little caught off guard by the Alfonso Soriano’s comments yesterday. They were told that he should have been 100% by December 1st, and they were shocked when they found out yesterday that he was not ready. It should be noted that Soriano did not spend a lot of time with the Cubs medical/ training staff during the off-season.
Lou Piniella also said he was very impressed with what he saw from Starlin Castro today. He even went as far as to compare him to a young Edgar Renteria. Castro will probably start the year off in AAA, and then be called up shortly after that.