Aramis Ramirez has declined the right in his current contract to file for free agency this off-season. Ramirez will remain on the Cubs in 2011 and he will earn $14.6 million during the course of the MLB schedule. His $14.6 million annual salary is part of the final year of a 5-year, $75 million contract that he signed before the 2007 MLB season. The Cubs have a $15 million team option on Ramirez for the 2012 MLB season, but if they do not exercise that option or agree to an extension with the 3rd baseman, they would owe Ramirez a $2 million buyout.
The Cubs acquired Ramirez from the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 2003 MLB trading deadline. Ramirez has been one of the most productive offensive players for the Cubs since that time. Ramirez’ best year was 2006 when he played in 157 games and hit 38 HR’s with 119 runs and 93 runs scored. He is a career .282 hitter with a .340 on-base percentage, but he has been bothered by injuries each of the last 2 seasons. Ramirez played in only 82 games in 2009 (.317 batting average, 15 HR’s, 65 RBI’s and 46 runs scored) and only 124 games in 2010 (.241 batting average, 25 HR’s, 83 RBI’s and 61 runs scored). He struck out 90 times while walking only 34 times in 465 at-bats, some of the worst stats of his 13-year major league career.
This is a good thing for Cubs fans. Ramirez needs to stay healthy, because when he does, he is one of the best hitters in the game. On the other hand, Ramirez turned 32 years old in June, so he is getting up there where players production starts to decline. The Cubs will be happy to pay him the $14 million this season, but if his offensive numbers continue to decline, look for the Cubs to part ways with Ramirez following the 2011 MLB schedule.