The latest news on the trade rumor front is that Aramis Ramirez has apparently reversed his position on waiving his no-trade rights and has come back to the position he held before: he won’t do so. Actually, it is probable his remarks were misinterpreted when it appeared he was open to a deal.
In a way, this is a shame for the Cubs. Right now he is producing for the Cubs after a slow start. If he played like that all the time, retaining him would be a no-brainer, but the fact is he has been inconsistent and sometimes just plain awful through the last three seasons. Sometimes this has been the result of injuries, other times no one knows.
Anyway, the Cubs offense has been built around his bat since 2003. Keeping him presents general manager Jim Hendry with a tough choice, something in general Cubs management is not very good at. They will almost certainly make the wrong choice once the season ends.
For my money, I think the Cubs and Ramirez have run out their string and that it is time for them to part company. Not because Ramirez is a bad player, but just because this team needs to explore the possibility of going another way in terms of building their lineup.
Ramirez is right about one thing though when he says major-market teams do not back up the truck and rebuild from scratch. Hendry seems to be of the same mind. It is not this thesis that serious fans question, just his judgment to get it done.
Ramirez’s choice also takes away the one bargaining chip the Cubs have to bring back a genuine blue-chipper in return. The Angels were reportedly interested. I’m not an expert on their system, but it doesn’t look like they match up very well with the Cubs. The best of their highly rated prospects have already been promoted to the majors, but they do have some pitchers who could make a difference.
The other team interested in Ramirez was the Yankees. The Cubs match up a little better with them. They have pitching in the minors, as well as a top catching prospect in Jesus Montero. All this is pretty much a moot issue now though.
On another front, the Atlanta Braves have reportedly shown interest in Marlon Byrd. Byrd is not worth anything near what Ramirez is to a contender, but he could bring back a B-type prospect in return. Hendry has reportedly rebuffed offers for Byrd, which makes you think he is as loony and his manager has been accused of being.
I’ve gone to great lengths in my blog and in these pages trying to demonstrate that Marlon Byrd is part of what is wrong with the Cubs. Suffice it to say that refusing offers for a player of this caliber is a further indication that Hendry is out to tinker with a team that needs more than tinkering and that he is building or rebuilding the kind of team that he has been constructing and deconstructing for upwards of 10 years now. That kind of team will not win consistently, especially in Wrigley Field.