Brewers' third baseman Aramis Ramirez has exercised his end of a $14 million mutual option and will return to Milwaukee for next season, according to a team announcement. The Brewers picked up their end at the end of last week, so Ramirez's approval means that he will not hit the free agent market.
Ramirez's decision comes a day after he met with his agent, Paul Kinzer, to discuss his options during a meeting in the Dominican Republic. Though he always seemed likely to return to Milwaukee, potential interest from contenders like the Yankees and Red Sox made some believe that he could turn down the option and test the open market.
Ramirez, 36, will return for his fourth season in Milwaukee after hitting .285/.330/.427 with fifteen home runs and 66 RBI and making the NL All-Star team for the third time in 2014. His return to the Brewers weakens the market for free agent third baseman, leaving teams like the Giants, Marlins, Yankees and Red Sox to focus on options like Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley with Hanley Ramirez lingering as another potential fit.