This Chicago Cubs blog is inspired by the Trib ads in the 80s called Tales from the Upper Deck, which featured one of my heroes and die-hard Cub fan, Mike Royko.
I spent a great deal of my time up in Aisle 424 of Wrigley Field with other Cubs season ticket holders from 1998 to 2010. We mainly talked about the Cubs or baseball, but we also delved into other topics on occasion. Though many of us have given up our Season Tickets now, we still get together to talk baseball and discuss the continuing failure of the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series in our lifetimes.
Tales from Aisle 424 usually resembles the occasionally insightful, mostly snarky, and nonsensical rants of me and my summer family (and it usually comes back around to the Cubs).
Ramirez, who will be playing in the final year of a five-year, $75 million contract, had to inform the Cubs within five days of the end of the World Series whether he would become a free agent.
If Ramirez, 32, would have accepted the option to become a free agent, it would have voided his $14.6 million contract for 2011.
There is almost no way that Ramirez would have ended up coming out ahead if he had declined the option and become a free-agent. His first half of 2010 made Koyie Hill look like a batting champion. I can think of only one general manager who may have given Ramirez a lucrative payday as a free-agent and that one already works for the Cubs, so he was smart to not test the market.
The Cubs also have a $15 million dollar option on 2012 or a $2 million buyout if they choose to decline the option.
Also, his 2012 contract can become guaranteed under a few conditions. According to Bruce Miles:
He wins one MVP in 2007-11 (still possible)
He places 2nd or 3rd in MVP vote twice in 2007-11 (not possible - he has never finished in top 3 in voting)
He wins LCS MVP once in 2007-11 (still possible)
He is an All Star 3 times in 2007-11 (not possible - he was an All-Star only in 2008 in that range)
He gets traded after exercising 2011 option (still possible)
So the Cubs are pretty much on the hook to him for $16.6 million, but if they trade him, the team that gets him would get a contract worth $29.6 million over the next two years. The Cubs would have to probably pay more than the $16.6 million to get rid of him via trade, especially if they wanted anything in return for him, so they won't.
So we can all look forward to some nice "Aramis Ramirez is a lazy, washed-up jerk" musings from the media and fans if he doesn't play well, and "Aramis Ramirez is only playing for a new contract because he's so lazy and selfish" narratives if he does well.