New Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein hinted earlier this month that Aramis Ramirez will likely be “moving on,” but the veteran third baseman’s agent said something much more definitive earlier today.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Ramirez’s agent Paul Kinzer said “that ship has sailed” as far as his client re-signing with the Cubs.
Ramirez declined his portion of a $16 million mutual option with the Cubs late last month. The 33-year-old rebounded from a subpar 2010 season to hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers, 93 RBI and an .871 OPS over 626 plate appearances in 2011.
Kinzer told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that Ramirez is looking for either a four-year contract or a three-year deal with an option. When you consider that the alternatives among free agent third baseman include the likes of Wilson Betemit, Casey Blake, Eric Chavez, Mark DeRosa and Kevin Kouzmanoff, it’s not outrageous to think he could get the deal he wants.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.