Aramis Ramirez became a free agent by declining his half of a $16 million mutual option and when asked about the third baseman’s odds of re-signing with the Cubs new team president Theo Epstein replied: “Likely he’ll be moving on.”
Not a big surprise, certainly, but prior to Epstein taking over there was some thought that the Cubs would make an effort to re-sign Ramirez on the open market.
Chicago can safely offer Ramirez arbitration knowing he won’t accept, in which case the Type B free agent would bring back a supplemental first-round pick if he signs elsewhere.
Ramirez is 33 years old and pretty questionable defensively at third base, but he’s one of the top bats on the market after hitting .306 with 26 homers and an .871 OPS in 149 games this season. Last season was the only time in the past eight years that Ramirez failed to top an .850 OPS.
Matt Ehalt of The Record reports that the Mariners may have some interest in acquiring second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets. The club hasn’t confirmed anything of the kind, naturally, but the prevailing thought is that they’ll need some insurance at second base if they reach the playoffs, since Cano’s current 80-game suspension precludes him from participating in any postseason series.
On Friday, club GM Jerry Dipoto revealed that Cano will likely return to the team as a first baseman once his suspension expires, while second baseman/outfielder Dee Gordon is slated to remain at the keystone for the foreseeable future. With the infield all but set in stone, however, Dipoto said that acquiring position players at this year’s deadline isn’t likely to be a “primary concern,” especially as the team focuses on strengthening their pitching staff prior to making a run at the postseason.
Still, there’s a case to be made for Cabrera. The 32-year-old second baseman has already improved on some of last year’s totals and is currently batting .282/.335/.492 with 17 home runs (16 more than Gordon has tallied so far in 2018), 21 doubles and an .827 OPS in 385 plate appearances. He could provide some much-needed support behind Gordon until Cano’s suspension lifts on August 14; following the end of the 2018 season, he’s scheduled to enter the free agent pool for 2019.