Cleveland Guardians: 1 trade we’re glad didn’t happen at the trade deadline
The Cleveland Guardians organization is no stranger to trade deadline deals. Whether it be adding pieces like Brad Hand or moving players like Mike Clevinger, Cleveland has always found a way to be active at the deadline. Despite a down season, 2021 proved to be no different as Cleveland’s front office sold talent like Eddie Rosario while buying future assets like Myles Straw. However, there’s one deal that didn’t happen, thankfully.
Every team has to make difficult decisions at the deadline and some are accepted by fans better than others. One move that most likely would have shook Cleveland’s fan base to its core would have been trading Jose Ramirez at the deadline.
Trading Francisco Lindor was expected. He was going to outprice himself in Cleveland. However, Ramirez has a team-friendly contract, is a fan favorite and is arguably the best player on the roster. Yet, the front office was still fielding calls for the All-Star third baseman.
In a recent article, Shi Davidi, who covers the Toronto Blue Jays, reported that former Cleveland front office leader Mark Shapiro and company called up his old team to try and make a deal for Ramirez. The Blue Jays were very active at the deadline, adding Jose Berrios and Brad Hand among others. One player they weren’t able to land was Ramirez.
Davidi kind of glossed over the point, mentioning it and moving on, so the deep details weren’t included. However, it’s hard to imagine the type of package that the Blue Jays would have been able to piece together to draw interest from Cleveland.
Moving into 2022, the Cleveland Guardians are far from set, but there’s a plethora of talent at the positions of need. The middle infield vacancy has Tyler Freeman, Gabriel Arias and many others pushing for time while the outfield has George Valera and Oscar Gonzalez making a case. That doesn’t include players like Nolan Jones who just need to find their spot in Cleveland.
Now, you can never have enough prospect talent, but finding a deal worth the value that Ramirez brings to Cleveland would be very difficult. As MLB Trade Rumors eluded to in their coverage of the report, Ramirez’s deal and Cleveland’s optimism combine to make a very high price if Ramirez were to be dealt. Not to say it isn’t possible, but getting there would be a challenge for sure.
For the return, Toronto surely would have had to sacrifice their top prospect in catcher Gabriel Moreno. A catcher for the future is still a need in Cleveland and while Bo Naylor and Bryan Lavastida have the potential to provide that role, they won’t be ready just yet. Moreno got a taste of Triple-A in 2021, so an early season promotion to the big leagues could be in order for 2022.
The downside is that Moreno played just 37 games during the 2021 season. Now, he did slash .367/.441/.651 and he’s been a career .300+ hitter in the minors, but the injury concerns are obvious.
Beyond Moreno, there isn’t a ton of immediate help that could intrigue Cleveland. Perhaps the addition of Cavan Biggio could have sweetened the deal a bit, being a youthful utility player that could try his hand at second, but his sub-.250 batting average and inability to settle in anywhere in the field doesn’t make that seem worth it either.
The unfortunate reality is that these talks might not be completely done yet. Jose Ramirez is still a bargain deal moving forward with club options for both 2022 and 2023. As for the Blue Jays, they will have an even bigger need for Ramirez heading into the upcoming season, meaning they might be willing to up their offer. The problem is that they just don’t have much to offer in the first place.
From the perspective of the Cleveland Guardians, a team with a low budget, they have to listen to offers. When it comes to Ramirez, though, the deal would have to be one of the best ever offered. Between his team friendly contract and the talent he offers on the field, Ramirez’s value to the front office is near priceless. For now, we can be thankful a deal wasn’t done, but we still have to sit on the edge of our seats all winter hoping talks don’t resume.