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Aramis Ramirez Will Not Be Traded

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All the talk this week has been on starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano. After making comments that some perceived as controversial, trade speculation involving Zambrano has reached an all time high. Though, publicly, Zambrano says that he has no intention to waive his no trade clause. Aramis Ramirez is in a similar position as Zambrano. Though Ramirez is not known for fiery remarks, he has received his fair share of criticism throughout his time with the Cubs. With the threat of being part of another youth movement, rumors have begun about the Cubs looking to trade Ramirez, who is the final guaranteed year of his contract. However, Ramirez does not appear to be seeking a trade.

Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, opened up about his client to the Chicago Tribune and hinted at what the future holds for the free agent to be.

"“He doesn’t even want to take a trade. He took less years and less money to stay in Chicago (in 2006), so that is definitely his first option,” Kinzer said via phone from Florida. “Aramis has a full no-trade clause, so he doesn’t want to go anywhere. He’s a 10-and-5 guy and I don’t think he’ll go anywhere. We will have to see when it comes to that.” Chicago Tribune"

That should not come as a surprise to anyone. Even if Ramirez was willing to waive his no trade clause, it still would be extremely difficult for the Cubs to trade their starting third baseman. If Ramirez was traded, his player option of $15MM would automatically vest. That alone is enough for any team to avoid trading for Ramirez. In addition to his contract, Ramirez’s production may also scare off teams. Ramirez is credited as being a run producer, though, this season he only has 2 home runs and 21 RBIs through 52 games. That is simply unacceptable for a player of Ramirez’s stature.

Assuming Ramirez will not be traded this season, the next question becomes will he back with the Cubs in 2012. The Cubs have already made it known that they are not picking up Ramirez’s 2012 option, meaning they intend to pay the $2MM to buyout the final season of Ramirez’s contract. But the possibility remains that the Cubs could try and re-sign Ramirez to a more team-friendly contract this off-season. Here is what Kinzer told the Chicago Tribune about Ramirez’s future as a Cub:

"Asked if he has had discussions with Cubs management recently regarding the future of Ramirez, Kinzer replied:  “No, they’ve got other problems right now. We really haven’t gotten into that.”"

For what it is worth, earlier this season, sources indicated that that the Cubs were hoping to re-sign Ramirez this off-season. But with the lack of power that Ramirez has shown, and a decline in durability, it would seem that the Cubs are prepared to let Ramirez walk after the season. That would be a wise decision. Since 2008, Ramirez’s production has been on a decline. Assuming the Cubs do go with some type of a youth movement, Ramirez does not fit into what the Cubs are looking to build starting next season.

Interesting enough, the Cubs are not sure who their starting third baseman will be in 2012. Josh Vitters has always been looked upon as the third baseman of the future, but, the 2011 season has not helped his case for making the team in 2012. Vitters is hitting .268/.309/.410/.719 with 5 home runs for the Tennessee Smokies this season. While Vitters has shown improvements offensively this season, the Cubs till have concerns that he is not the hitter they thought he would be when they drafted him in 2007. The Cubs also feel that he is no where near ready on the defensive side to play everyday at the major league level. As of now, the Cubs are not counting on Vitters being on the 2012 opening day roster. Though, there is still time for that to change.

Ramirez will be the Cubs’ third baseman for the remainder of the season. But once this season is over, the Cubs will likely spend a lot of time researching candidates to fill their third base vacancy. The Cubs may still fill the vacancy from within their organization, even if Vitters is not ready by Opening Day 2012.