Cubs Could Trade Aramis Ramirez To Braves

John WoelfelContributor IAugust 12, 2010

CHICAGO - JULY 21: Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Chicago Cubs takes a swing against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field on July 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Astros defeated the Cubs 4-3 in 12 innings. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The most important news involving the Cubs this week isn't that Mike Fontenot was traded. It also isn't that Geovany Soto is on the DL or even that Derrek Lee and Lou Pinella are missing games for family reasons. It isn't that Wellington Castillo or Darwin Barney have made their big league debuts over the last two games.

The biggest news for the Cubs may have come out of Atlanta this week. Chipper Jones, who already has been considering retirement after this season, tore his ACL and will be out around six months.

Jones was hurt after jumping in the air to make a throw to first on a ground ball from Hunter Pence. He came down on the knee wrong and instantly collapsed in pain.

Going into Thursday's games, the Braves hold a 2.5 game lead over the resurgent Philadelphia Phillies who not only added Roy Oswalt at the Trade Deadline, but will also be getting Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley back soon.

Losing Chipper Jones for the season can only hurt the Braves. Most likely, they will have to go out of the organization to add someone.

How about Aramis Ramirez?

Ramirez has still been bothered by the sore thumb, but he has shown that when the thumb is feeling good that he can still hit.

Ramirez is in the final year of his contract but does have a player option for 2011 and 2012 worth $14.6 million in 2011 (plus $1 million if traded) and $16 in 2012. That's probably a little rich for the Braves, but if the Cubs are willing to pay a portion of that salary, they might bite.

Aramis Ramirez is my all-time favorite Cub after Mark Grace, but this would be a move the Cubs would need to make if the Braves are willing to take Ramirez and a good portion of his salary. The Cubs are in salary-cutting mode, and moving Ramirez combined with Derrek Lee's expiring contract and the possibility of getting some of Fukudome and/or Zambrano's contracts off the books would very quickly give the Cubs the opportunity to sign a couple of top free agents that include Cliff Lee, Adam Dunn, Carl Crawford, etc.

If the Cubs could clear enough payroll to add a couple of those free agents, you're looking at a much stronger team next year that should be enough to compete in the Central again.