Its probably the end for Cubs, Ramirez

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Its probably the end for Cubs, Ramirez

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011Posted: 10:30 p.m. Updated: 11:30 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Follow @CSNMooney
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Aramis Ramirez rarely shows emotion. If this is it, then there should be no hard feelings. Hes a businessman who understands that he may have played his final game in a Cubs uniform at Wrigley Field.

Probably, yeah, theres a good chance, Ramirez said after Tuesdays 5-1 loss to the Brewers. Right now, I dont know whats going to happen. But it looks like Im going to hit the market.

Those are the strongest words Ramirez has so far said about his future.

The third baseman left the game with a mild quad strain after his at-bat in the sixth inning. It sounded doubtful that hed be ready by Wednesday, when the Brewers will try to cut their magic number to clinch the division down to two.

The Cubs are a team in transition. Jim Hendry who has a strong relationship with Ramirez showed up at Wrigley Field on Tuesday to see a few old friends before the Cubs leave for their final road trip of the season.

If Hendry hadnt been fired, then its likely he would be negotiating an extension with Paul Kinzer, whose clients include Ramirez, Starlin Castro and Geovany Soto.

Ramirez has met with his agent this week in Chicago, but they havent heard anything yet from upper management or the Ricketts family. The Cubs hold a 16 million option for 2012, which Ramirez can void to become a free agent.

I dont know what they want to do, Ramirez said. We dont have a GM, so I dont know who you talk to. I think were ready to move on.

Ramirez, who will turn 34 next year, said he thinks he can play three or four more seasons. Hes made quite a salary drive by hitting .306 with 25 homers and 92 RBI, positioning himself to be the No. 1 third baseman on the market.

Ramirez had been playing through the quad injury. He doesnt intend to shut it down for the final seven games.

Im going to do my best to finish the season, he said. Hopefully Ill play in St. Louis or San Diego.

Ramirez took a below-market deal when he signed a five-year, 75 million deal after the 2006 season. He knew a big-market team would spend the money to compete, but now no one is quite sure what direction the franchise will take. His family is comfortable here, and his preference is to stay in Chicago.

Ive been saying that all along, Ramirez said. Thats no secret to anybody. But it doesnt look that way right now. At least we havent heard anything.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Jon Lester didn't make any sort of statement by missing Monday's White House trip with his Cubs teammates. But at a polarizing moment in a divided country, a high-profile player on a World Series team felt the need to respond on social media and explain his absence from the championship ceremony. 

President Barack Obama name-checked Lester during his East Room speech – both for his spectacular pitching performance and beat-cancer charitable initiatives – as the Cubs continued their victory tour off the franchise's first World Series title since Theodore Roosevelt lived in the White House.

Lester stood behind Obama when the 2013 Boston Red Sox were honored on the South Lawn. During that 2014 ceremony, Lester stood next to John Lackey, another Cub who missed this Washington trip. Lester also toured George W. Bush's White House with Boston's 2007 championship team.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day – and with the specter of Donald Trump's inauguration looming – Obama used his administration's final official White House event to draw a direct line between him and Jackie Robinson and highlight the connective power of sports.

"The best part was the president talking about how sports brings people together," All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, "how no matter what's going on in this country and the world, three or four hours of any one particular game can just rally so many people together." 

This team couldn't have created so much joy for generations of fans without Lester, who signed a $155 million contract with the last-place Cubs after the 2014 season, a transformational moment during the long rebuild that led to the White House trip that Obama never thought would happen.

"It was a thrill and an honor for all of us," team president Theo Epstein said. "It means so much more with his roots in Chicago and his final days in office. It couldn't have worked out any better. It's something we'll all remember for our whole lives."

The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George

The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George

Plenty of Cubs fans surely were star-struck to meet Addison Russell at Cubs Convention last weekend. But the 22-year-old All-Star shortstop has a shortlist of people he would be amazed to meet, too. 

Russell reveres President Barack Obama, on Friday the outgoing Commander-in-Chief's work in the community when talking about getting to visit the White House. So on Monday, Russell got to check off meeting one of the people on his list. "There's probably about three people that I would be star-struck by, and (Obama's) one of them," Russell said. 

One of those three spots is "open," Russell said. The other member of that list is former Ohio State and Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. 

Russell wears his No. 27 because of George, who wore that number during his career in which he made four Pro Bowls and rushed for over 10,000 yards and 78 touchdowns. Prior to the 2016 season, George sent Russell and autographed Titans helmet inscribed with good luck message.

After the season, Russell said George texted him seeing if the newly-crowned champion had time to chill. Few things rattled Russell last year — he became the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the World Series when he blasted one in Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians last November — but getting a text from George did. "I couldn't text back," Russell said. "It was nuts. I waited four days because I was thinking of what back to say."

Even the most famous athletes still get star-struck. Russell's been lucky enough in the last few months to meet and hear from two of the people who bring out that sense of awe in him. "Just to come in contact with people like that, it just makes me smile," Russell said. "It definitely gets me in the mood of getting better, and that's the goal this year, is getting better."