Move could spell the beginning of the Francisco Lindor era for the Indians
It has been a long time coming. The writing was on the wall for Cleveland Indians‘ shortstop Jose Ramirez, who has started just one of the last five games at shortstop after serving as the team’s starter at the beginning of the season.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Tribe optioned Ramirez to Triple-A Columbus following Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The second year middle infielder is just 27-for-150 (.180 batting average) on the season and, worse, he has not been the significant defensive upgrade the Tribe was hoping for at the start of the year. Ramirez has made eight errors thus far and makes fewer plays than another other shortstop in the league not named Jose Reyes.
While the corresponding move is still unclear, the demotion obviously ignites rumors that top prospect Francisco Lindor could be headed for Cleveland despite the club’s consistent insistence that he is not ready for the big leagues.
Nick Camino of WTAM 11 believes all indications point to Lindor getting the call-up this week, though he concedes the fact that Zach Walters could be given another look to yet again — delay the promotion of their brightest young star. Both Lindor and Walters are in the lineup today for Columbus, so there’s no telling who might get the nod.
The 21-year-old Lindor is hitting .269/.342/.393 with eight stolen bases at Triple-A this season. He hasn’t exactly torn up opposing pitching, but he is good enough defensively to make an impact as his bat adjusts to the big leagues. Walters, on the other hand, is hitting .252/.299/.402 with 10 extra-base hits in 29 games. He tallied just one hit in 17 plate appearances, including eight strikeouts, in a seven-game stint with the Tribe earlier this season.
In short, neither player has forced his way onto Indians roster with stellar play in Columbus.
With that being said, as Ben Axelrod of Bleacher Report points out, it may not be a coincidence Ramirez was optioned the day after Johnny Manziel won the Haden Home Run Derby.
Whichever rumor you choose to believe, the off day tomorrow makes it unlikely the Tribe would make a move until Tuesday.
Until then, #LindorWatch is on high alert.