A culture change, a youth movement or rebuilding — call it what you want — but the Cubs might be facing a heavy dose of it into next season whether the new general manager wants it or not.

One day after third baseman Aramis Ramirez predicted he had played his last home game for the Cubs, his agent said Wednesday the team's most productive hitter for the last decade will exercise his right to elect free agency if the Cubs pick up his contract option for 2012.

And several other Cubs in key roles this season were left wondering whether the final home game of the season was their last at Wrigley Field in Cubs uniforms.

''It's definitely crossed my mind,'' said pending free-agent slugger Carlos Pena, who acknowledged Ramirez's status might affect his own. ''And not just thinking about it, but with a sinking feeling in my stomach .??.??. because I've become emotionally attached to the city and to the Cubs.''