Sticking up for Aramis, agent fires back at Brenly

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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.

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Nationals today on CSN

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Nationals today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Washington Nationals today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (5-4, 3.83 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (4-3, 5.40 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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Jake Arrieta doesn’t see fractures forming in Cubs clubhouse

Jake Arrieta doesn’t see fractures forming in Cubs clubhouse

WASHINGTON – An erratic, distracted, disconnected Cubs team got a pregame Moment of Zen at Donald Trump’s White House on Wednesday afternoon, a smaller group of players, staffers and executives going back to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the second time in less than six months to celebrate their World Series championship.    

The Cubs showed up at Nationals Park and of course had new Joe Maddon T-shirts folded all over the chairs in the visiting clubhouse: “Embrace the Suck” superimposed on the Captain America shield. Miguel Montero’s locker was completely empty after injecting some truth serum into the group media sessions where the Cubs almost always insist that everything is fine and will be all right in the end.

But the Cubs are at an awkward, sensitive point here, 39-39 after an 8-4 loss to a first-place Washington team that saw reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant leave the game with a sprained right ankle and veteran pitcher John Lackey give up all eight runs as his ERA ballooned to 5.24.

Paying $7 million to make Montero go away won’t magically solve the problems. Even the guy who Montero targeted late Tuesday night after the Nationals stole seven bases didn’t really have a problem with the message or the messenger. 

“I’m sad to see him go,” Jake Arrieta said. “I love Miggy. As you guys know, he’ll say some things from the heart, the way he feels. He’s open and honest. That’s the way Miggy is. He regretted what he said. He felt bad about it. I told him that I’m not upset or mad at him. I didn’t even really see the comments, and I don’t care what they were. 

“I know what it was about – and there was a lot of honesty there. I didn’t do him any favors. I was slow to the plate and (Trea) Turner’s one of the fastest guys in baseball, so it just makes it look worse than it was. It’s unfortunate it had to happen that way, but it is what it is.”

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Arrieta took his teammates along for the ride when he transformed into a Cy Young Award winner in 2015. Montero had trouble hiding his frustrations with Maddon and diminished playing time, not exactly pumped about the idea of wearing a onesie on an overnight flight from the West Coast. Montero wound up catching Arrieta’s no-hitter that unforgettable night at Dodger Stadium.    

The clubhouse vibes now aren’t necessarily awful – to use a Maddon term to downplay the injuries that have decimated the roster – but something is clearly off here.  

“It’s been slightly different, honestly, just because we’ve been up and down so frequently this season,” Arrieta said. “As soon as we get on a roll, we kind of hit the skid. We win two, lose two, win one, lose one. It’s just been this back and forth sort of rollercoaster that we’ve been dealing with. 

“As far as the guys in here, everybody gets along great. We got good relationships. Sometimes, there can be a lull in the dugout from time to time. That’s just kind of the nature of the back and forth that we’ve had, ups and downs. 

“But we’re all on the same page. We know that we need to tighten some things up. And it’s not just in one area. We’ve pitched well at times. We’ve swung the bats well at times. 

“Obviously, last season we were able to kind of collectively do all of that at the same time. That’s what we’re searching for. We’re trying to find that consistency on both sides of the ball.” 

The ironic part is that Montero clung to the idea of being Arrieta’s personal catcher last season, hoping that connection would prevent him from getting bumped off the playoff roster, and now it got him designated for assignment.        

“I don’t think either way it would have fractured the clubhouse,” Arrieta said. “There are certain things that are handled behind closed doors, but Miggy wears his heart on his sleeve. That’s one of the main reasons we all liked him. But we’re going to move forward from this and embrace the guys that are here.”