Deal or no deal? Cubs' Ramirez seeks six-year contract

Updated: November 10, 2006, 5:37 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez took advantage of an out clause in his contract to walk away from the two years and $22.5 million still owed him by the Chicago Cubs.

Third Base
Chicago Cubs

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
157 38 119 93 .352 .291

He'll be looking for a considerably longer, more generous commitment in his next deal.

Agent Paul Kinzer told ESPN.com it will take a six-year deal for a team to sign Ramirez once the Cubs' negotiating window expires this weekend and the third baseman hits the open market.

"If we go out, we're going to look for six years," Kinzer said Friday. "I'm pretty confident it would go there. Aramis is only 28 years old, and that puts him in his prime."

Free agent outfielder Alfonso Soriano is reportedly seeking a deal similar to Carlos Beltran's seven-year, $119 million contract with the Mets. When asked if the total dollar figure for a six-year deal for Ramirez could approach $100 million, Kinzer replied, "That's a good assumption -- hypothetically speaking."

Ramirez has averaged 35 homers and 105 RBI over the past three seasons in Chicago. Halfway through a four-year, $42 million contract, he exercised his right to void the final two years and become a free agent.

The Cubs, looking to improve upon their 66-96 record under new manager Lou Piniella, have expressed a strong interest in keeping Ramirez. It's believed that the club has discussed a five-year contract in discussions with Kinzer.

Chicago general manager Jim Hendry met with Kinzer on Thursday night in Arizona, and it appeared likely the two sides would speak again Friday. But Kinzer wasn't optimistic about Ramirez re-signing with the Cubs before the team's exclusive negotiating window runs out Saturday night.

"We're running out of time to get it done before then," said Kinzer, who plans to travel to the general managers' meetings in Naples, Fla., and begin discussions with other clubs Sunday. Several baseball sources said the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will make a strong push for Ramirez.

Kinzer said he is also negotiating on behalf of free-agent pitcher Vicente Padilla, who had formerly been represented by SFX. Kinzer said reports that Padilla will represent himself in contract talks are incorrect.

Padilla, 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA in 200 innings with Texas this season, is reportedly seeking a four-year deal for $10 million a year.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer