Shohei Ohtani is staying in Los Angeles, but it is his decision to switch leagues that could result in big changes when it comes to end-of-season accolades in the American League.
The removal of someone who will more than likely be the betting favorite to win Most Valuable Player more often than not clears an obstacle in the path of Jose Ramirez in his quest to win the elusive award.
Ramirez has five top-six MVP finishes in his career, including three times finishing in the top three in four years (2017 - 3rd, 2018 - 3rd, 2020 - 2nd). Coming close so many times but still being edged out by someone else has got to eat at someone with Ramirez’s level of competitiveness.
The 31-year-old switch-hitter is one of, if not the best third baseman in all of baseball. With four Silver Sluggers to his name, Ramirez has proven he is an elite hitter and has shown the ability to carry the Guardians for extended stretches. While the award voting process is up to each individual’s interpretation to determine what valuable means, there is nobody in the game of baseball as important as Ramirez is to the Guardians.
While Ohtani’s American League departure clears a path for Ramirez, a new obstacle has arrived in The Bronx in the form of Juan Soto in a Yankees uniform. Soto should be able to hit his fair share of home runs over the short porch in right, but that does not necessarily mean Ramirez is destined to finish as an also-ran in the future.
Even though the Yankees are Aaron Judge’s team, there is a chance that Soto plays well enough at the same time that the two cannibalize votes from each other, making it possible for someone else, possibly Ramirez, to win the AL MVP.