Well the day that many fans feared has finally come. Aramis Ramirez basically had a contract that obligated him for two years, however that very same contract obligated the Cubs for two additional years. Apparently he has chosen to move on to greener pastures, as today he exercised his contractual right and entered the free agent market.

One thing that’s different about the new collective bargaining agreement is that the Cubs will be free to negotiate with Ramirez until the beginning of the next season, assuming that he his still available. Prior to the new CBA the Cubs would have until about the second week of November to execute a deal or lose bargaining ability until May 1st.

So what does this all mean to the Cubs? It means that now they need two boppers, not just one. It makes signing Carlos Lee almost imperative and Soriano might just get an opportunity to do what he wants most, play second base. The Cubs can then go out and get a decent glove man for third base. Ramirez was good, but I’m not about to cry over spilt milk. His inability to run the bases with enthusiasm always concerned me, and he had a tendency to pull muscles all the time so I always wondered about his personal conditioning regimen. He always seemed to be a cold hitter when we needed him the most and put up prodigious numbers when it really didn’t matter.

If Aramis feels better playing outside Chicago so be it. I hope our pitchers throw him some chin music when he comes back to visit.

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