Cleveland Guardians formally announce José Ramírez contract extension

CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 13: Jose Ramirez #11of the Cleveland Guardians slides in safely for a double in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 13, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 13: Jose Ramirez #11of the Cleveland Guardians slides in safely for a double in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 13, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 13: Jose Ramirez #11of the Cleveland Guardians slides in safely for a double in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 13, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 13: Jose Ramirez #11of the Cleveland Guardians slides in safely for a double in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 13, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The contract extension for Cleveland Guardians third baseman José Ramírez is now official, and it’s an even better deal for the team than originally reported.

The Cleveland Guardians made it official Thursday: José Ramírez is going to be with the organization for a long, long time – potentially longer than any other position player in franchise history.

Ahead of the team’s home opener Friday, the Guardians released the particulars of Ramírez’s seven-year deal, and a couple things stand out. First of all, the Guardians are paying Ramírez $9 million less than originally reported, so the deal now stands at a total of seven years, $141 million. The deal includes awards bonuses and the full no-trade clause, but the Guardians are getting quite the bargain.

It really showcases just how much of a unicorn Ramírez is. He has grown to love the city of Cleveland and the organization for which he plays, and essentially had zero desire to move to a larger market. That being said, he still wasn’t chasing every possible dollar from the Guardians or any other team, which certainly would have been his right to do. Instead, he seems content to be part of what the Guardians are building, giving the team the mythical “hometown discount” to help build around him. That… doesn’t happen.

Speaking of what the Guardians are building, Ramírez’s deal is structured in such a way to give the team financial flexibility in the coming years. Specifically, the contract is front-loaded; Ramírez will now make $22 million in 2022, a $10 million raise. But he’ll be making $14 million in 2023, $17 million in 2024, $19 million in 2025, and so on. Here is how it breaks down in full:

Paying José Ramírez $21-25 million a year is still a bargain, but paying him under $20 million three straight years while he’s still in his prime is an absolute steal that conceivably allows the team to spend money elsewhere while it is in contention. Will that include team extensions for players like Shane Bieber and Franmil Reyes? Will the team sign complementary players to build around its emerging young core? It’s an exciting prospect, and José Ramírez is the one who is making this happen.

There are many good tidbits from Zack Meisel’s article in The Athletic about how the deal ultimately came together, including Ramírez wanting to speak directly to team owner Paul Dolan. Ramírez desperately wants to play his entire career in one uniform, and for him to choose the Guardians like this is an incredible gift for the organization. The front office surely recognizes this opportunity and appears willing to do everything in its power to take advantage in the next few years.