Sticking up for Aramis, agent fires back at Brenly


Sticking up for Aramis, agent fires back at Brenly

MILWAUKEE Aramis Ramirez never really cared what you thought anyway. He just did his job very well and became the best Cubs third baseman since Ron Santo.

The fans didnt really embrace Ramirez like that. He had trouble staying healthy and his body language turned off the media. But the perception definitely bothers his agent, Paul Kinzer, as they try to land their next big contract.

Surrounded by reporters, Kinzer stood in a Pfister Hotel hallway on Monday in Milwaukee, where general managers and owners are gathering for their annual meetings this week. Bob Brenlys words were still gnawing at him.

The Cubs television analyst went on WMVP-AM 1000 last month and called Ramirez a numbers gatherer who gets his stats at the end of the year every year. But defensively hes just fallen off the face of the earth.

It was very low class, Kinzer said, especially when a guys a free agent to try to damage his (reputation). Because if (Brenly) had something to say to him, he should have (said) it to his face when he was a Cub, not when he hits free agency.

They dont give Silver Sluggers out to Punch and Judy hitters. I dont know why there was a personal attack. (If) he had a personal problem with him, he should have come to (us) instead of trying to destroy him in the media.

Brenly who could not be reached for comment Monday night has won many fans over because of his brutal honesty and sharp insights into the game. He also told The Waddle & Silvy Show that it was difficult to remember any big RBIs that (Ramirez) had or any period of time where they won a lot of games because of the way Aramis was swinging the bat.

Kinzer built a strong relationship with Jim Hendry before the general manager was fired last summer. The agent said there are no hard feelings toward Theo Epstein after the new president of baseball operations declined to work out an extension for Ramirez.

With the Cubs facing a massive rebuilding project, everyone agreed it was time to move on.

Its just at the point where thats an end of an era, Kinzer said. They have some things they have to do. And at this point in his career, (Aramis) wants (a ring). He loves Chicago, it hurts for him to leave, but thats just part of the sport.

Ramirez will be the best third baseman on the market after hitting .306 with 26 homers and 93 RBI last season. But he will be 34 next summer. Kinzer is angling for a four-year deal or three with an option and expects to close next month at the winter meetings.

Were not in any hurry Im just feeling teams out, Kinzer said. As the market establishes itself, people (will) find out if theyre in (or) out on (Albert) Pujols and (Prince) Fielder and (Jose) Reyes. Aramis is going to be there. Hes not looking at an eight-year contract (and) that has to have some value.

Kinzer represents several high-profile Cubs, including Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro, who will travel to Chicago later this week to meet Epstein in person. But theres no chance Ramirez returns to the North Side.

That ship sailed, the agent said.

Ozzie Guillen compared Sammy Sosa to Michael Jordan...and Michael Jackson

Ozzie Guillen compared Sammy Sosa to Michael Jordan...and Michael Jackson

Ozzie Guillen is no stranger to saying outlandish things.

So it's not surprising that Guillen would agree with Sosa when the former Cubs outfielder said he made the city of Chicago what it is today.

Thirteen months ago, Sosa gave a candid interview to Chuck Wasserstrom and compared himself to Jesus before saying: "When nobody knew who Chicago was, I put Chicago on the map."

Guillen echoed that sentiment on the latest White Sox Talk Podcast.

Maybe from where they sit, that's exactly what has occurred. Sosa and Michael Jordan certainly helped make the Cubs, Bulls and Chicago sports in general on the map internationally.

"People know who the Cubs were because Sammy put them back on the map," Guillen said. "... For the city of Chicago, when Sammy was Sammy — that race with [Mark] McGwire, then people noticed what Chicago was."

Ozzie said — from his perspective — when people hear about Chicago, they ask, "Oh, you know Sammy?" or "You know Michael?" referencing Michael Jordan.

Guillen also weighed in on Sosa's ever-changing appearance that has sparked A LOT of attention lately.

"But the color, I'm tired. I think he uses the same product Michael Jackson did," Guillen said. "It's funny because I work with him — we talked to him a lot for ESPN Deportes. When you're lying, that's when people don't get it.

"Listen, if you want to change your color, why not? You got the money, you got the time if that's what you want to be. But if you say, 'Well, I got too much color because of the sun when I was playing.' OK...You live in Miami, you grew up in the Dominican. To me, I just laugh."

Scouting the Cubs' competition: Will the Nationals finally win it all before Bryce Harper leaves?


Scouting the Cubs' competition: Will the Nationals finally win it all before Bryce Harper leaves?

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

Washington Nationals

2017 record: 97-65, 1st place in NL East

Offseason additions: Miguel Montero, Matt Adams, Joaquin Benoit, Matt Reynolds, Jeremy Hellickson, Tommy Milone

Offseason departures: Adam Lind, Stephen Drew, Jose Lobaton, Jayson Werth, Matt Albers, Oliver Perez, Joe Blanton

X-factor: The health of their stars

Health is an X-factor for any team, but it carries more weight in D.C. than anywhere else in baseball.

Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Stephen Strasburg are three of the Nationals' best players and yet three guys that can't seem to stay healthy for a full season. Couple that group with leadoff hitter Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy coming off knee injuries, the health questions are running rampant in Washington.

Those are the Nationals' projected Top 4 hitters and No. 2 starter. If they all stay healthy, they'll put up some whopping numbers. But if history repeats, it will make the road quite a bit tougher despite a weak NL East.

Projected lineup

1. Adam Eaton - LF
2. Trea Turner - SS
3. Bryce Harper - RF
4. Anthony Rendon - 3B
5. Ryan Zimmerman - 1B
6. Howie Kendrick - 2B
7. Matt Wieters - C
8. Michael Taylor - CF

Projected rotation

1. Max Scherzer
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Tanner Roark
5. A.J. Cole


When healthy, this may be the most talented roster in the NL. Harper, Rendon, Murphy and Turner could all wind up as serious contenders in the 2018 MVP race while Scherzer and Strasburg figure to garner some Cy Young votes once again.

The Nationals also have the advantage of a pretty rough division, at least on paper. Three teams are rebuilding and the Mets haven't made the playoffs in a couple years now. Getting to play 18+ games against all four of those teams is a godsend.

Which is good news for a Nationals fanbase that is absolutely starving for some actual postseason success. Wade Davis and the Cubs knocked Washington out last fall and 2018 represents what figures to be the final chance to win it all (or even win A playoff series) with Harper before he gets a $400 million deal elsewhere (like Chicago??).

The 2018 Nationals have no holes. If any of their starters falter, they have Hellickson available. If any of their position players struggle, they have depth in the form of Kendrick (once Murphy is healthy), Montero, Adams, Wilmer Difo and Brian Goodwin.

And the bullpen is very, very good thanks to a bunch of moves before the 2017 Trade Deadline and also have Benoit and Koda Glover expected to start the season on the DL.

The Nationals will be playing in October this year. But what they do in the postseason is a question that won't be answered for 6 months. 

Prediction: 1st in NL East, playoffs