The Cleveland Guardians picked up Jose Ramirez’s option for 2022, but the team needs to seriously start considering his future on the team.
As expected, the Cleveland Guardians picked up third baseman Jose Ramirez’s no-brainer $12 million contract option for 2022 after yet another MVP-esque season in which he hit hit .266 with 36 homers, 103 RBIs, 27 steals, a 137 wRC+ and a 6.3 WAR. That means with catcher Roberto Perez moving on to Pittsburgh, Ramirez is officially the last member of the 2016 World Series team (I’ll go to my grave believing the rain delay cost Cleveland the championship) still on the roster.
With Ramirez set to turn 30, and the Guardians in the midst of a youth movement, it might be time for Cleveland to move on sooner than later. The pitching staff is expected to rebound this year (as long as it doesn’t experience another once-in-a-century rash of injuries), and as it has for the past few years, the Guardians offense will most likely struggle to score runs.
The Guardians Must Trade Ramirez for a Bevy of Prospects
It’s been said that Ramirez might be willing to sign yet another-team friendly deal, an extension that might help him end his career in Cleveland, but the way this team is currently constructed, one bat is not going to change the outcome of a season that might be considered the beginning of a rebuilding phase for the team. With a team batting average of .238 and OPS of .710, it’s time to face the truth: the Guardians are more in need of an overhaul.
While Guardians fans can hope that the likes of Franmil Reyes, Myles Straw, and Bobby Bradley can carry the team offensively, Cleveland should focus on bringing in a high volume of highly touted prospects. And imagining the type of haul the Guardians could get for Ramirez, who has another team option for 2023, is certainly enticing.
If by mid-season, the Guardians are not looking like a playoff team (especially if the field is expanded after the lockout), they should absolutely trade Ramirez to a contender for a bounty of prospects and an average major leaguer with potential. The Guardians front office has done an exceptional job moving off guys at the right time and getting great returns. One only has to look to last year’s Myles Straw trade to see how efficient Cleveland’s major-league scouting department is.
The Guardians cannot be emotional about this decision and must begin building the next championship window now.