Desiring another multiyear contract at age 33, Aramis Ramirez declined his half of a mutual option to remain with the Cubs on Sunday, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Ramirez would have made $16 million under the terms of the option. His decision means the Cubs are off the hook for a $2 million buyout they would have had to pay had they declined their half of the option. It also puts them in position to recoup two draft picks this winter, as Ramirez is unlikely to accept an arbitration offer.
Ramirez rebounded from a poor 2010 to hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI in 565 at-bats last season. He rates as the top third baseman in a weak free agent class also set to include Wilson Betemit, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Mark DeRosa and a question mark in Casey Blake.
The Angels, Rockies, Tigers, Brewers, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Indians and Marlins are among the teams that could consider adding a third baseman this winter.