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Jose Ramirez contract extension: 3 reasons it made sense for the Cleveland Guardians

Vincent Frank

The newly-signed Jose Ramirez contract extension has been a long time coming for the star third baseman.

With the Cleveland Guardians’ organization for the past decade, he acted as the face of the rebranding team during an otherwise down 2021 season that saw Cleveland finish under .500 for the first time since 2012.

On Tuesday, the Guardians signed Ramirez to a five-year, $124 million extension — locking up the three-time All-Star through the 2028 season. Here’s a look at why this move makes sense for the Guardians.

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Jose Ramirez contract shows Cleveland Guardians fans they are serious

cleveland guardians fans: jose ramirez
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland heads into Opening Day against the Kansas City Royals ranked 27th among MLB teams in payroll. It has a mere $40 million allocated to the roster.

This number is down $10 million from a season ago and $67 million from the 2019 season.

While the Guardians’ decision to change their name this past offseason led to some divisiveness on the part of Cleveland’s fan base, the Dolan family will be given a pass if they simply invest more into the organization.

If you include Ramirez’s options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, the Guardians have committed $150 million on the All-Star over the next seven years. The deal also includes a no-trade clause. That’s a commitment.

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Trading Jose Ramirez would have led to Opening Day revolt

jose ramirez contract, cleveland guardians
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

This extension comes on the heels of widespread rumors that Ramirez was on the trade block. In fact, recent reports suggested that the San Diego Padres were hot on his trail.

Just imagine if the Guardians had opted to trade Ramirez immediately ahead of opening day. Remember, it was back in January of 2021 that Cleveland dealt franchise cornerstone Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets rather than pay him what the market suggested.

This pretty much eliminated any hope of playoff contention in Cleveland. It also told us in what direction the Guardians were going from a payroll standpoint. At the very least, Guardians fans who show up in 2022 will have one big-name player to root for.

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Jose Ramirez contract can spearhead a retooling process in Cleveland

Jose-Ramirez-Cleveland-Guardians
May 30, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) hits a game-winning sacrifice fly ball in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

MLB.com has Cleveland with the 12th-best farm sysem heading into Opening Day.

Said farm system is led by two players in George Valera and Tyler Freeman who will make their debuts this season. Top prospect George Valera is not too far behind.

Riding strong pitching from the likes of Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale this season, Cleveland can remain somewhat competitive. Having a true power hitter in the middle of the lineup only adds another layer to that.

  • Jose Ramirez stats (2021): .266 average, 36 HR, 103 RBI, .893 OPS

We’re talking about one of the better power hitting infielders in the game. Add in the likes of Franmil Reyes (30 homers in 2021) and youngster Bobby Bradley (16 HR as a rookie), and at least there’s a nucleus here.

Sure the Guardians’ hopes of playoff contention are not great in 2022. However, they have built a solid foundation of prospects. Now that Ramirez will be part of that future, there’s at least some hope in Cleveland.

It’s more than what would have been said if Cleveland traded its star third baseman rather than the Jose Ramirez contract news we got on Wednesday. It’s that simple.