Aramis Ramirez is all but certain to become a free agent once the Cubs decline his $16 million option for 2012 and the 33-year-old third baseman told Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that he’ll be seeking a multi-year deal:
If I hit the marketplace I should end up with a two- or three-year deal. The reason is, there aren’t a lot of third basemen available this offseason. But if [the Cubs] approach me, I’m sure we can get something done. But probably not for one year.
That certainly isn’t surprising for a player coming off a five-year, $75 million contract, but Ramirez getting another big multi-year deal would have seemed impossible in the middle of last season.
However, he bounced back from a terrible first half to hit very well after the All-Star break last season and has followed that up with pretty typical Aramis Ramirez production this year, hitting .306 with 25 homers and an .871 OPS in 139 games. His age and defense make it risky to commit to Ramirez for multiple seasons, but he’ll be one of the best hitters on the market after topping an .850 OPS for the seventh time in eight years.
NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.
The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.
Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.
Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.
MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.
Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.
There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.
Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.
Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.
Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.