Cleveland Indians: Is a Jose Ramirez extension still possible?

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Reports are the Cleveland Indians are interested in extending their star third baseman Jose Ramirez, but can a deal be done and what would it look like?

According to reports, the Cleveland Indians are interested in extending their star third baseman Jose Ramirez. While some fans will mock this given the trades they’ve made in recent years, the notion makes a lot of sense. In fact, it may sound familiar if you frequent this site as I wrote about how the Indians should do this exact thing last year during Spring Training.

A deal makes a lot of sense for both sides, though it should be noted that reports are Ramirez has “resisted” talks to this point, but that shouldn’t stop the Indians from still pursuing a deal, and really the one I suggested last year still holds mostly true. To refresh your memories, the I proposed was:

"’20: $6.25M, ’21: $9M, ’22: $16M, ’23: $18M, ’24: $18M, ’25: $20M, ’26: $20M, ’27: $20M, ’28: $20M, ’29: $22.5M club option ($2.5M buyout)$10.25M signing bonus ($5.25M paid in 2020, $5M paid in 2021)"

This deal was very similar to the extension Christian Yelich signed with the Milwaukee Brewers last March. Heading into 2020 Ramirez had four years of control remaining, two guaranteed years (2020, 2021) and two team options (2022, 2023). Yelich only had three years of control left, two guaranteed years and one team option, which means that Ramirez is now even more in line with where Yelich was prior to signing his extension.

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In fact, Ramirez is even entering his age 28 season, same as Yelich was. Yelich was coming off an MVP season too while Ramirez finished second, though was the best player in baseball and was robbed of the award. Both players can hit, field, and run. They are complete package that one would expect to age relatively well.

Yelich ultimately got a 9-year, $215 million deal, though he was set to make $41.5 million over the next three years if his option was picked up. Take those years out and it becomes a 6-year, $173.5 million extension, with potential to be a 7-year, $187M extension if his option is picked up. That’s a lot more than the above deal I suggest for Ramirez; however, $30 million of Yelich’s salary is deferred until the years 2031-2040.

In any case, taking out 2020 salary from above (since obviously that year has passed), we can potentially re-work that deal to get it closer to Yelich’s. Add in another $20 million spread

"’21: $9M, ’22: $16M, ’23: $20M, ’24: $26M, ’25: $26M, ’26: $26M, ’27: $26M, ’28: $26M, ’29: $26M, ’30: $21M club option ($6M buyout)$3M signing bonus"

This deal is a 9-year, $210 million deal, $5 million less than Yelich but without any deferrals. It adds $199 million in new guaranteed money for Ramirez and $177 million more than what he’s scheduled to get if both options are picked up. Would Jose go for that?

Like Yelich, Ramirez is set to enter free agency for the 2024 season in which he’ll be 31 years of age. We’ve seen in recent years that teams are becoming more hesitant to give out the mammoth deals to guys in their thirties. It’s almost certainly one reason Yelich signed his deal, which many viewed as team friendly.

Jose Ramirez has already signed one team friendly deal so maybe he won’t have any interest this time and will simply bet on himself to try and get an Anthony Rendon type deal (7yr/$245M). Rendon was 29 when he began his new deal though while Ramirez will be 31. Robinson Cano was entering his age 31 season when he signed for 10 years and $240 million. He’s of course  been suspended multiple times for performance enhancing drugs so that contract may not be one to try and use in negotiations.

Ultimately I’d be a bit surprised if an extension was reached. Three years of control is a long time and it’s so cheap the Indians may just ride it out. However, it’s good to know they are interested in a deal. There were also reports earlier this year that the Tribe offered Francisco Lindor between $225-250 million before they traded him to the Mets. If they have that money for Lindor why not spend it on the better Jose Ramirez?

Next. Three last minute free agent additions to explore. dark