As expected, free agent Aramis Ramirez has declined the Cubs’ arbitration offer ahead of tonight’s deadline.
Accepting the offer would have locked the Cubs into a one-year deal for around $15 million, but Ramirez obviously believes he can do better on the open market. As a Type B free agent he’ll fetch Chicago a supplemental first-round pick for signing elsewhere.
Earlier this week the Phillies were said to be making a strong push for Ramirez, possibly as a fallback option to re-signing Jimmy Rollins, but now Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Angels and Brewers appear to be the third baseman’s primary suitors.
Ramirez is iffy defensively at third base and will be 34 years old next season, but he hit .306 with 26 homers in 149 games for the Cubs while topping an .850 OPS for the seventh time in eight years.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.