As been documented throughout the entire season, Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez has a player option in his contract for the 2011 season in which he can opt out of his final guaranteed year on his contract. Ramirez is in line to make $14.6MM in 2011, with an addition $2MM in 2012 if the Cubs do not pick up his $15MM option for 2012, which seem to be the likely scenario right now. Up to this point Ramirez has given every indication that he will not use the player option to become a free agent after this season. However, recent comments by Ramirez indicate that he does not know what he is going to do this off-season.
"“I’m still under contract,” Ramirez said. “[The organization] has a lot of positions to address in the offseason. They’re not sure what they’re going to do at first base, second base. I’m sure they’d like to add a couple of relievers and a starter. They have more things to worry about than me right now.”“I don’t know how long I’m going to play,” Ramirez said. “It won’t be very long. I miss a lot when I’m away from my family. I have 12 years in the league . I don’t know how long I’m going to play, but it won’t be very long.”"
Even with the uncertainty that persists in Ramirez’s statement, I still do not see Ramirez passing up on $16.6MM. Especially given the disappointing year that he is having. The Chicago Cubs also can not afford to have Aramis Ramirez walk after the season, as that would leave them with two big wholes at both corner spots in the infield.
Considering that Josh Vitters is future third basemen for this team, and he still is at least two years away from making it to the majors, the Cubs will probably hope to have Ramirez around for the next two seasons. Even once Vitters is ready, the Cubs may move Ramirez to first base pending on whole they solve their search for a first baseman this winter.
At the age of 32, Ramirez, who hinted at not playing much longer, will probably at least play for the next three seasons given that he is at full health and producing at the major league level.