Cleveland Indians make Jose Ramirez deal official and it’s perfect for club’s future

Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Fitting that deal is nearly same as Brantley’s

The first thing I thought of when I saw the Ramirez extension numbers was how similar it was to the one Michael Brantley got a few years ago. While not exactly the same, the Indians signed Brantley before the 2014 season for four years and $25 million dollars with a club option for a fifth year in 2018.

One of the only differences between the two deals is that Brantley signed his deal as he was entering his first year of arbitration eligibility, while Ramirez was entering his final pre-arbitration year.

However, Ramirez was already signed for 2017 and his deal is essentially a four-year extension on top of the deal he had. Ramirez does get an extra $1 million guaranteed (over half of which was his 2017 salary) and an extra option year (the other big difference).

Despite the small differences, the Indians employed the same cost-certainty tactic mentioned above in the Brantley deal. They signed Brantley when he was arbitration-eligible the first time, and he was asking for $3.8 million that year.

The Indians, however, were able to get him to agree to a deal that saved them money on future years while also getting additional years of control in 2017 and potentially 2018 by giving him even more money in 2014 than he was asking for ($5 million).

It was a bit of a risk, but given Brantley’s breakout, MVP-caliber season in 2014, I think it’s safe to assume the Indians did the right thing too.

It’s also very fitting that these two deals are so similar given how Jose Ramirez essentially stepped in and filled Michael Brantley’s spot in the lineup for the Indians in 2016. While Ramirez eventually ended up at third base, he played a lot of left field early in the year and was huge in hitting with runners in scoring position all season for the Tribe, something the Indians were afraid they’d miss with Brantley out.

While the Indians of course still missed Brantley, Ramirez was every bit as good as Brantley was the previous season, and the Tribe doesn’t get to the World Series with him.