Aramis Ramirez To Become A Free Agent, Plus Other Hot Stove News

The World Series is over, but a few pieces of baseball news have trickled out over the last day or so.

The Chicago Cubs exercised their half of their mutual option for 2012 for third baseman Aramis Ramirez, worth $16 million, but Ramirez plans to opt out, and will become a free agent. Bruce Levine at ESPN Chicago has the details. For a team like the Dodgers looking for an impact bat, but not willing or able to dive into the deep end of the free agent pool, Ramirez is certainly an option. Ramirez had a bad 2010 (.241/.294/.452), but he has had a slugging percentage of .510 or higher for seven of the last eight years, and over the last eight years has hit .297/.359/.533 (a 127 OPS+), averaging 28 home runs and 96 RBI per year. Ramirez turns 34 in June.

In National League West news, the San Francisco Giants paid big money to keep a pair of left-handed relievers on Sunday. Javier Lopez signed a two-year deal worth $8.5 million, and the Giants exercised their $5 million option for 2012 on Jeremy Affeldt. Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the details.

The Colorado Rockies and Jason Giambi both exercised a mutual option on Saturday that will bring back the soon-to-be 41-year old for $1 million, per Troy Renck of the Denver Post. As a pinch hitter and occasional starter at first base for Colorado last season, Giambi hit .260/.355/.603 with 13 home runs, a number that would have ranked third on the Dodgers. Giambi was the second player 40 years old or older in MLB history to slug at least .600 in a season (minimum 150 plate appearances), joining Ted Williams, who had a .645 slugging percentage at age 41 in 390 plate appearances for the 1960 Boston Red Sox.

Finally, what a way to go out. After winning his third World Series on Friday, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa retired this morning after 33 years as manager. He is one of two men to manage over 5,000 games in MLB, along with Connie Mack. LaRussa is third all-time with 2,728 wins, behind only Mack and John McGraw.

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