Cleveland Indians: Jose Ramirez likely safe, but not untouchable in trade

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Could the Cleveland Indians trade Jose Ramirez?

The last few seasons the Cleveland Indians have made big splash after big splash in trades, involving nearly anyone on the roster. The team has dealt the star shortstop in Francisco Lindor as well as starting pitchers Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. With so many moving parts there’s been one player to survive it all, being Jose Ramirez. At least for now.

The chances of moving Ramirez should be slim, but when it comes to the Tribe anything is possible in the world of trading. His team-friendly contract makes him an intriguing option around the league and if Cleveland wants to transition towards younger talent, Ramirez could be out. What’s scary is the fact that this is no longer just talk, there’s reports to pair with it.

If that initial tweet would have stopped after “Ramirez” that would have been perfect. “The Indians reportedly won’t trade Jose Ramirez.” Fantastic. Unfortunately, it continues. “Unless they are overwhelmed.” Here we go. The door is cracked open.

There are few players in baseball that end up as untouchable, especially for small market teams. However, when you look at Jose Ramirez’s contract and stats it should be enough to qualify. He’s one of the best bargains in the game, which is exactly what small market teams like the Cleveland Indians aim for.

We’ll start with his contract. Before we dive in, keep in mind that Ramirez was the MVP runner-up last year, Silver Slugger and an All-Star this year. Back to his contract. Ramirez has two years after this season left on his deal, both club options, that could keep him in Cleveland through 2023. His price in 2022 would be $12 million and then $14 million in 2023.

Those numbers would consistently be the highest on the team, but it’s nothing compared to the level he is playing at right now. Other third baseman, like Nolan Arenado, are making nearly triple that. Jose Ramirez is easily the best bargain in baseball, excluding players on arbitration and rookie contracts.

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Now, Ramirez is technically having a down season right now for the Cleveland Indians. He’s slashing “just” .254/.341/.505 with 18 doubles and 19 home runs. His average isn’t what he’s done in the past, but for the other offensive stats he’s consistently among the best in the American League.

So, Ramirez is statistically great and his contract is about as team-friendly as you can get for his value. Why would any team want to trade that? Well, what are other teams willing to trade for that? That’s why Ramirez isn’t untouchable. There’s the chance that the team gets blown away with an offer.

Let’s face it, though, the Tribe weren’t blown away with what the return was for Francisco Lindor. The difference is Lindor needed a hefty extension. Ramirez is already locked in for two more affordable seasons. Considering that, the price tag for Ramirez is much higher in a trade.

As for Cleveland, they have a plug-and-play option ready in Nolan Jones at third base. The club’s No. 1 prospect, Jones has been finding his stride in Columbus. In typical Cleveland fashion, trading Ramirez would open the door for the next wave while adding talent to the farm.

Jones won’t be able to match Ramirez statistically just yet, but he’s knocking at the door to the majors. Unfortunately, there isn’t a spot available. The team is pushing him into the outfield, but if his natural position became available that would allow him to focus on the transition to the majors alone, not in addition to learning a new position.

With all that being said, we return to the key word, overwhelmed. What team is going to overwhelm the Cleveland Indians with an offer for Jose Ramirez? Most of the contenders have a third baseman and while Ramirez can play other positions, he’s voiced that he wants to be at third and he’s proven that’s where he plays the best.

When it’s all said and done, Jose Ramirez should remain with the Cleveland Indians. It’s just curious to see that the team is listening to offers. That should illustrate this team’s position more than any of the other deals they’ve made.

This team wants to save money. Would moving Ramirez do that? Sure. Is it a smart move to make? Not at all.