Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez is one of the best players in baseball and with the MLB trade deadline, the star slugger could reportedly be on the move by July 30.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported that Ramirez could be available at the trade deadline, with Cleveland slipping in the MLB standings. A three-time All-Star selection, Cleveland’s switch-hitting sensation would immediately become the best player available.
As MLB insider Ken Rosenthal shared this week, Cleveland would need to be “overwhelmed” to move its best player. With that in mind, let’s examine three proposals that could potentially make a blockbuster trade happen.
Jose Ramirez traded to Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays rarely swing a blockbuster trade to acquire a star. The Nelson Cruz acquisition showed a willingness to take on salary, but this is a half-season rental. As Rosenthal noted, if Ramirez is available, this is exactly the kind of player Tampa Bay would trade significant assets to land.
- Tampa Bay Rays trade: IF/OF Brandon Lowe, IF Xavier Edwards (TB’s No. 4 prospect), C/OF Heriberto Hernandez (TB’s No. 10 prospect) and RHP Taj Bradley (TB’s No. 17 prospect)
- Cleveland Indians trade: Jose Ramirez
In terms of the return, Tampa Bay can justify this move. Edwards is a top-100 prospect and likely just a year away from his MLB debut, but he plays positions that are covered on the Rays’ roster. Heriberto Hernandez is an intriguing utility player, but one this front office is willing to move. As for Lowe, his five years of team control would be very attractive to Cleveland.
It’s a high price to pay, but worth it for a star talent. Ramirez is owed just $26 million combined over his next two full seasons. For that salary, the Rays add a 3.0 fWAR player to the heart of the batting order. It would be even more fitting since Ramirez is the most frequent MLB comparison for shortstop Wander Franco.
New York Mets swing another blockbuster trade with Cleveland Indians
Injuries have dealt a huge blow to the New York Mets this season, but they remain atop the NL Central. If the front office wants to maintain its lead in the division and owner Steve Cohen is itching for a World Series berth, acquiring Jose Ramirez is the way to go.
- New York Mets acquire: Jose Ramirez
- Cleveland Indians acquire: 3B Brett Baty (NYM’s No. 4 prospect), OF Pete Crow-Armstrong (NYM’s No. 5 prospect), OF Khalil Lee (NYM’s No. 7 prospect)
We’ll start with the return. Brett Bay is enjoying a breakout season in the minors, but even at his highest ceiling, it’s unlikely he matches Ramirez’s level years from down. But he would give Cleveland a long-term option at the position and could be a middle-of-the-order bat. Paired with Pete Crow-Armstrong, a 2020 first-round pick, that’s two potential core pieces for Cleveland to build around and both play valuable everyday positions.
The Mets should have no hesitation about making another blockbuster trade with Cleveland. Ramirez (137 OPS+ over the last five seasons) would fit in perfectly as the No. 3 hitter in a healthy Mets’ lineup. Pair him with Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto with a normal rotation, this team can compete for a title.
Milwaukee Brewers land Jose Ramirez
If there’s any MLB playoff contender who could benefit the most from upgrading at third base, it’s the Milwaukee Brewers. Entering July 25, Milwaukee’s third baseman ranked 22nd in fWAR (0.4), OPS (.664) and wRC+ (82). Needless to say, Ramirez would make a huge difference at the position.
- Milwaukee Brewers trade: OF Garrett Mitchell (MIL’s No. 1 prospect), RHP Antoine Kelly (MIL’s No. 18 prospect) and INF Luis Arias
- Cleveland Indians trade: Jose Ramirez, RHP Bryan Shaw
In terms of the acquisition cost, this is a significant amount for Milwaukee to trade. Garrett Mitchell, the No. 20 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, fell due to concerns over his Type 1 diabetes. But he is an outstanding prospect enjoying a breakout 2021 season at the professional level and should only be considered for a deal if it lands a superstar. In this instance, pairing him Luis Urias lands that elite talent.
While there is some element of risk here, the Brewers just saw the city rally behind the Milwaukee Bucks on their path to an NBA title. With an elite rotation and a dominant bullpen, strengthened with Bryan Shaw in this deal, the Brewers would have a legitimate shot at winning the World Series within the next two years.