Theo Epstein on Aramis Ramirez: “Likely he’ll be moving on”


Aramis Ramirez became a free agent by declining his half of a $16 million mutual option and when asked about the third baseman’s odds of re-signing with the Cubs new team president Theo Epstein replied: “Likely he’ll be moving on.”

Not a big surprise, certainly, but prior to Epstein taking over there was some thought that the Cubs would make an effort to re-sign Ramirez on the open market.

Chicago can safely offer Ramirez arbitration knowing he won’t accept, in which case the Type B free agent would bring back a supplemental first-round pick if he signs elsewhere.

Ramirez is 33 years old and pretty questionable defensively at third base, but he’s one of the top bats on the market after hitting .306 with 26 homers and an .871 OPS in 149 games this season. Last season was the only time in the past eight years that Ramirez failed to top an .850 OPS.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.