Aramis Ramirez has been making quite a few headlines as he nears free agency.
Last week he told reporters he’ll be seeking a two- or three-year deal on the open market, earlier this week reports pegged the Marlins as one of his likely suitors, and last night the 34-year-old third baseman told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that he doesn’t expect to re-sign with the Cubs.
Right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But it looks like I’m going to hit the market. I don’t know what they want to do. We don’t have a GM, so I don’t know who you talk to. I think we’re ready to move on.
Ramirez left yesterday’s game with a quadriceps injury, so he may have played his final game at Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs.
As a 34-year-old who probably should be playing first base Ramirez is unlikely to get another contract like his current five-year, $75 million deal, but he’ll be one of the best hitters on the market and has posted an OPS above .850 for the seventh time in the past eight years.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.