Third base is a question mark for the Chicago Cubs heading into the 2012 season. Aramis Ramirez and the club will have to agree on whether or not he will come back for the final year of his contract to the tune of $16 million.
In recent months Ramirez has stated he would rather be part of a team that is ready to win than return to the Cubs.
The hiring of Theo Epstein has changed his perspective.
"I'm really happy the Cubs have brought in Theo Epstein to run the team," Ramirez told ESPN. "Now that the Cubs have a new leader with a new outlook, I'd certainly listen to them about remaining with the team."
Ramirez goes on to explain that above all he does not want to be part of a team in the process of rebuilding.
"I'm not that kind of player anymore. I'm 33. I don't know how much longer I'm going to play ... I know it's hard to win, but I want to compete. That's what I want to do.
"We were the worst team in 2006 and in 2007 we went to the playoffs," Ramirez said. "So you can get better if you want to. But you have to go out and get some quality players. My priority is to stay here, but they have to show me they want to be better."
The Cubs contending in the NL Central next season is difficult to picture, but retaining Aramis Ramirez would definitely be a step in that direction. Ramirez was one of the best hitting everyday third baseman in baseball last year, batting .306 with 25 HR and 92 RBIs. He is statistically the second best third baseman in team history after only Ron Santo. If Ramirez is wearing a Cubs uniform in 2012, Cubs fans will know that Tom Ricketts is just as serious about winning now as he is for the future.
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