HOUSTON -- In July 2003, Aramis Ramirez's wife was expecting their first child. He began that month playing for the Pirates, but on July 22, the third baseman was dealt to the Cubs in a five-player trade.
"You never know what the future holds for you -- I'm glad I got traded," Ramirez said.
With the non-waiver Trade Deadline Saturday at 3 p.m. CT, the countdown is on. Ted Lilly (3-8, 3.88 ERA), who has drawn interest from teams looking for starting pitching, is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Astros. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is not on this trip, opting to stay in Chicago.
There also were rumors Monday that teams were interested in first baseman Derrek Lee, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. However, Lee has a full no-trade clause -- Lilly has a partial no-trade clause -- and is owed nearly $5 million for the rest of the season. He's also batting .251.
"You can't worry about [the rumors]," Ramirez said. "I've been traded before, and I know what it's like. It's not fun when you're traded in the season. You have to move your family to another state, get a new place, meet new teammates. It happens everywhere and you can't worry about that. It's something you can't control."
Has anyone asked Ramirez about what happens at the deadline?
"The only one who always asks me is [Carlos] Marmol," Ramirez said of the Cubs' closer, "but I don't think he's going anywhere."
Ramirez said he likes what he sees of the Cubs' prospects.
"The future is bright here," he said. "You have three young good players in [Tyler] Colvin, [Starlin] Castro and [Andrew] Cashner. They have the talent to be good here for awhile. They have the pieces. That's [Hendry's] decision to decide what direction they're going to go."
Ramirez does have a $14.6 million player option for 2011.
"We'll wait and see," he said. "I want to stay here. We still have two months, and I haven't talked to my agent about it. Everybody knows I want to stay here. I'm guessing I'll stay here."