The Cubs don't have the same payroll constraints that the Brewers do, but they just blew a huge chunk of their wad to keep Aramis Ramirez:
Rather than test free agency, third baseman Aramis Ramirez has decided to remain with the Chicago Cubs.
Ramirez, 28, has agreed to a five-year contract with a vesting option, FOXSports.com has learned. While exact terms of the deal were not immediately available, it was believed to be for at least $70 million.
Actually, $14M a year for Aramis may look like a reasonable contract this offseason--it's probably a safer bet than spending that much or more money on Barry Zito. There aren't a whole lot of 3B options on the free-agent market, which makes it even better.
I don't know whether this has any bearing on the likelihood of Carlos Lee going to Chicago, as well--my guess is that the Cubbies will still go after him. If they do, though, that's a LOT of money tied up in three sluggers--Ramirez, Lee, and Derrek Lee--who will start getting old when they'd still be making $40M+ between them.
Update [2006-11-12 14:43:41 by Jeff]: More news: the Ramirez deal includes a mutual option for for 2012. Also, the Cubs have resigned Kerry Wood to a one-year deal.
In other news, expect another offseason of Cubs fans telling you how great their team will be, because this will be the year that Mark Prior and Kerry Wood (and Wade Miller!) will be healthy and lead the Cubbies to the promised land.
Yeah, and the Pirates are going to contend, too.