Hey, quick question. Would you like to lock up the best offensive player your franchise has had in a decade for virtually nothing? Yeah? OK cool, sign here.
First reported by Jon Heyman, the Cleveland Guardians have made the move we all knew was coming by exercising José Ramírez’s $12 million option for 2022. If you want to be cynical, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be a Guardian in 2022, but right now it means he’s on track to return to Cleveland in 2022.
This move was, of course, just a formality. The option was on the club to pick up and there was never a chance they wouldn’t do it. Ramírez has spent all nine years of his major-league career with the Guardians, putting up seasons ranging from All-Star to MVP worthy in for the better part of the last five years. Last season, he fell just three dingers shy of a career-high, but he still slugged 36 with a .266/.355/.538 slash in 152 games.
Ramírez, 29, still has another club option on the table for 2023 for an equally affordable $14 million. These two options represent the tail end of a six-year, $35 million deal he signed following his breakout 2016 campaign in which he only looked like a high-contact hitter in the same vein as Michael Brantley. A merely Very Good player with defensive versatility and the ability to get a bat on any ball. In the years since he has added power to his game and taken off into one of baseball’s best third basemen and all-around players.
Since signing the deal in 2017, Ramírez ranks third among position players with 28 fWAR and he has slashed .280/.365/.547 (149 wRC+) with 144 home runs. He also wore a chain of himself wearing a chain which I feel obligated to mention in every article about it because come on. That rules.