Rotoworld has intimated that the Cubs might give Ramirez a “take it or leave it” offer; Aramis will be free to talk to other teams beginning on Saturday. I for one support this idea and hope the Cubs will make other plans quickly if Ramirez doesn’t accept their offer, reportedly worth $75 million for five years.
One option would be to submit a bid tomorrow for Yakult Swallows third baseman Akinori Iwamura (pictured to the right.) Iwamura looks to be a 20-30 homerun guy, he’ll hit close to .300 and he definitely can play third. I expect that he will hustle on his way to first base and he probably will even bunt if asked – he also should hit the same at the beginning of the year as he does at the end. My guess is that his posting fee will be around $13 million; his stats are included below.
The free agent market for third basemen this year is slim pickins’. Mark DeRosa leads the crop, followed by Pedro Feliz, Rich Aurillia, Tony Graffinino, Wes Helms, David Bell, Aaron Boone, Scott Spezio, Tony Batista, Jeff Cirillo and Fernando Tatis. Another complicating factor is that the Cubs don’t have any 3B prospects to speak of in their minor league system – Scott Moore projects at best as a 3B/1B bench player and lefthanded pinch-hitter.
Hopefully the Cubs will get the job done with Ramirez tomorrow, otherwise methinks the best strategy is to outbid Cleveland, San Diego, Philadelphia and the Bosox for Iwamura.