Less than a day after the third baseman’s representatives claimed they were seeking “Carlos Beltran money” (trust me, few establishments will accept bills with Beltan’s face on ’em), the Chicago Cubs and free agent Aramis Ramirez have reached agreement on a new, long-term pact, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan.
Ramirez (above) agreed to a 5-year, $73 million deal on Sunday with a mutual option for 2012, ending a months-long saga about his future. Kerry Wood agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal loaded with incentives that could add another $6 million to his salary.
General manager Jim Hendry said Ramirez left as much as $30 million on the table to return, while Wood also came for less than he could’ve made on the open market.
“At the end of the day (Ramirez) really did want to be here,” Hendry said. “it’s not much secret that the figures being bantered around in his situation would’ve been much higher. I think that as good a deal as this obviously is for any player, I certainly believe there were six-or-seven-year deals out there for him, that certainly would’ve paid him $20-$30 million more than he got, guaranteed. He was the lucky beneficiary of being a free agent at a time when his services were certainly going to be needed by some quality clubs and some major market clubs.
“I think the people in Chicago would be glad to know that at the end of the day, he did leave a lot.”
The Los Angeles Angels were poised to sign Ramirez on the first day, but the Cubs beat them to the punch. Wood will return as a reliever, hoping to regain his arm strength after rehabbing a rotator cuff injury since August. He said in September he felt an “obligation” to return, and lived up to his word.
“Despite his physical problems, there was a lot of action on Woody that probably would’ve given him a base (salary) of almost twice as much as we did,” Hendry said, referring to interest from suitors like Texas, Boston and Houston. “I think as well as Woody’s been paid the last couple of years, Woody did show a great amount of loyalty here by coming back.”
Wood has incentives on games finished in his contract, which will likely lead to speculation he’ll replace Ryan Dempster as the closer in 2007. Hendry said the incentives were not unusual, and that Bob Howry and Scott Eyre, the Cubs’ primary set-up men, also have similar incentives.