In a coincidence that is certainly the obsessive-compulsive's delight, we've had 3 Free Agent previews to date - Pt 1, the 1st Basemen, Pt 2, the 2nd Basemen, and now Pt 3, the 3rd Basemen. Of course it'll all fall apart shortly, unless I can find a way to use Part L, the LF.
Aramis Ramirez has, with a few unexceptional years, been the most consistent bat in the Cubs lineup ever since that fateful day in 2003 when Jim Hendry somehow duped Pittsburgh into trading him for a cartoon character from King of the Hill. But now his days in a Cubs uniform appear to be over, since The Jedeo has expressed little interest in his return to Chicago. As much as it hurts, this is probably a logical decision. After all, A-Ram is 33 years old. If history is any indication, giving massive contracts to 33-year-olds is what can be quantified as a big effin' mistake.
Nonetheless, unless the Cubs are seriously intent on starting Jeff Baker 70 or 80 odd times in 2012*, The Jedeo will need to strongly consider making this a target of improvement, and fast. One option - which nobody has mentioned yet, therefore leading me to think it's not a serious one - is Josh Vitters, one of Hendry's prospects who's still holding on. Vitters was drafted to play third base, but the scuttlebutt has long been that, even if he could hit major league pitching, he might not be a good enough glove to handle the hot corner. So - what's available then on the market?
(*before realizing that his daily presence in a major league baseball lineup is about as big a mistake as that time Rosie O'Donnell went out in public without wearing a bra)
Wilson Betemit - 30 years old - sad to say this man might be the best choice. Only 30 years old, Betemit has had several years of modest success - he batted .285 in '11, while slugging 8 homers in 323 at bats. Wilson hit 13 in 2010 in 84 games for Kansas City while batting an even more impressive .297. All of this is to say that he can hit, but not at a "thrill the world" level, and a player of his caliber might hold the Cubs over while they wait for something better to come along.
Eric Chavez - 33 years old. It wasn't so long ago that Eric was a bright weapon in Billy Beane's arsenal. The guy put up very impressive numbers from 2000 to 2005 before he just sorta fell off the map. I'm not suggesting Chavez as a viable option (maybe as a very sparingly used backup with impressive experience) but instead use him as an example to point out just how void the free agent market is this year. Of course, there are options including Greg Dobbs (who sucks), Alex Cora (who's old and sucks), Casey Blake (even older but modestly less sucky), and Omar Vizquel who's so old that his rookie season corresponds with Mark Grace's second year in Cubbie blue.
In other words ... just as a point of reference, to this date we've looked at 3 positions, 2 of which are vital to any successful offense, and have pretty much dogpiss in the way of options - except for one inevitable* hall of famer whose acquisition would drive Cardinals fans everywhere deep into their meth dens. So ... let's do it? Otherwise, maybe reassessing on Aramis wouldn't be such a bad thing, assuming he'd take a 3 year deal with some options. (Which might be a big assumption, since players of his caliber are obviously hard to come by...)
(*unless he inevitably fails a drug test)