Tigers “have been in contact” with free agent Aramis Ramirez

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In addition to their reported interest in Mark Buehrle the Tigers “have been in contact with the agent for” Aramis Ramirez, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Beck writes that “there are no negotiations going on” and the two sides haven’t talked since early this month, but adds that Thanksgiving may have played a part in the recent lack of dialogue.

Brandon Inge is still under contract for $5.5 million in 2012 with a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout in 2013, but the Tigers have already shown that they’re willing to bench the 34-year-old third baseman and Ramirez would be a massive upgrade offensively.

He’d also be a massive downgrade defensively, but with Inge coming off a .197 batting average and Ramirez producing an OPS above .850 for the seventh time in eight seasons Detroit would probably be willing to sacrifice glove for bat. Ramirez is 33 years old, but adding him to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez would be a very scary middle of the order.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.