Aramis' agent rules out return to Cubs
Seeking four-year contract, Kinzer discusses 'end of an era'
MILWAUKEE -- Agent Paul Kinzer said on Monday there's no chance Aramis Ramirez will return to the Cubs and that the third baseman was looking for a three- to four-year deal with a new team. Ramirez wants a World Series ring.
"Aramis is going to be fine," Kinzer said of Ramirez, considered the top free-agent third baseman on the market. "We're not in any hurry. I'm just feeling teams out.
"As the market establishes itself and people find out if they're in or not on [Albert] Pujols or [Prince] Fielder, and who's in on [Jose] Reyes, Aramis is going to be there," Kinzer said. "He's not looking at an eight-year contract. He's going to be looking in the four-[year] range, and maybe three [years] with an option. It's going to be his choice."
Ramirez, 33, is coming of his ninth season in Chicago, during which he batted .306 with 35 doubles, 26 homers and 93 RBIs. He won his first National League Silver Slugger Award this past season but does have his detractors. Kinzer took the opportunity on Monday to respond to criticism from Cubs TV analyst Bob Brenly, who said in a radio interview in early October that it was time for Ramirez to go.
Brenly did say Ramirez statistically was the best third baseman the Cubs have had since Ron Santo. But he also said pitchers don't like Ramirez playing behind them because he's weak defensively and it takes him too long to turn double plays.
"For me, I think maybe it's time for him to move on and go somewhere else," Brenly said. "I'm sure he still has a number of good years left as an offensive player, but if you're looking to retool the team in a different image, it might be time for him to go."
"I'm not real happy about the stuff that came out negative about Aramis," Kinzer said at the Pfister Hotel, prior to the start of the General Managers Meetings. "For a broadcaster to come out and say that I think is very low-class. We didn't come out and say a word about it, but that bothered Aramis and it bothered me a lot.
"If [Brenly] had something to say to him, he should've said it to his face when he was a Cub and not when he hits free agency and then come out like that," Kinzer said. "You can talk to Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker and if [Ramirez] isn't a producer and he was as bad as he said, and not a clutch hitter -- they don't give Silver Sluggers out to punch-and-Judy hitters."
Asked if Ramirez would consider staying with the Cubs, Kinzer said, "That ship has sailed."
"There's no problems there, but it's the point where it's the end of an era," Kinzer said. "They have some things they have to do, and at this point in his career, [Rafael Furcal] got his ring, and now 'Ramy' wants his. He wants to go somewhere where he has a shot at a competitive team. He loves Chicago and it hurts for him to leave, but that's part of the sport."
Kinzer represents Furcal, who is also a free agent this offseason, and also drawing interest.
This week, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, another one of Kinzer's clients, will meet with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. Kinzer said he wants Epstein to get to know Castro, who will come to Chicago on Thursday.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.