Aramis Ramirez shuts the door on trade rumors

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After weeks of talk that he’d use his no-trade clause to block any deal out of Chicago, Aramis Ramirez appeared to leave the door open for a deal on Thursday by saying “if they’re looking to rebuild, I can’t fit in, so we’ll see.”

On Friday, though, he removed any doubt about his desire to remain with the Cubs.  According to Ramirez, he was asked what he wanted to do by GM Jim Hendry a couple of weeks ago and he said he wanted to stay.  Hendry has respected that and declined to shop him.

While reiterating his preferance to remain a Cub, Ramirez didn’t rule out considering a deal if one was presented to him.  However, he isn’t on the market at the moment, and the first thing he said to reporters tonight, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, is that he isn’t going anywhere.

Report: Astros extend Justin Verlander for two years, $66 million

Justin Verlander
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The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”

While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.

The deal has not been confirmed by the team.