2010 Player Preview: Aramis Ramirez
(*This is officially known as the Dr. Doom Clause, in case you didn't know, and it stipulates that no matter how screwed he appears to be, Aramis can jettison to free agency whenever it's convenient, or even inconvenient)
The question is this, though: why would he use it? He's set to earn 14 million plus a year with the Cubs should he remain in Chicago. There aren't many teams that can afford that salary, and most of the ones that can already have third basemen making ludicrous amounts of money.
Not to mention that Ramirez is coming off of an injury-saddled season, in which his shoulder made a runner while he was trying to field a grounder. We don't know if Ramirez will be healthy this year (or ever again). He's at that pesky age where bodies start to fall apart, and he chose to rehabilitate his shoulder rather than repair it surgically. If he stays healthy and puts up massive numbers, I suppose it's plausible that he exercise the Dr. Doom Clause, but realistically speaking he'll be doing it in order to pull an A-Rod: force the Cubs to bid against themselves with the hopes of increasing his already-ridiculous salary.
But remember: say what you will about Jim Hendry and his bumbling strategy of managing a baseball organization, but he is the Mountie of Major League Baseball: he always gets his man. Hendry has yet to lose a Cub to free agency unless he wanted to be rid of the guy, and although he's paid ridiculous sums of money to keep barely-above-average players from departing, I'm betting that Ramirez will be a Cub in 2011. Barring an unforeseen shoulder explosion.
And should he avoid injury, Ramirez will very likely have a respectable year for the Cubs. We haven't really gotten into our predictions yet for what the 2010 team will do (that's coming, don't worry), but last year's offensive druthers were, in some ways, a mirage. The added contribution of A-Ram's bat, added to rebound years from Soriano, Fontenot, and Soto spells a dangerous Cubs lineup.
Should he avoid injury.