As Opening Day for the 2022 season inches closer, several teams are dealing with lingering contract situations. The Cleveland Guardians are stalled in extension talks with star third baseman Jose Ramirez.
Ramirez strongly desires to extend his tenure with Cleveland, but that hasn’t translated to a new deal. The linger dilemma has led to the Toronto Blue Jays emerging as a potential landing spot.
Jose Ramirez contract extension talks stalling with the Guardians
The Guardians have made it extremely clear that they want to work out a long-term deal with Jose Ramirez.
However, that has yet to translate to a new contract to keep the star third baseman in Cleveland for the next several years. The 29-year-old will make $12 million in 2022, and the organization holds a $14 million club option for the 2023 season.
The two sides are working through contract talks, but those discussions are stalling with a deadline of Opening Day to get a new deal done. The Guardians are believed to be low-balling the three-time All-Star by reportedly offering a five-year, $105 million deal, which would put him under a $20 million annual salary. Cleveland has notably trimmed their roster payroll over the last few years, including trading Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco.
Ramirez is regarded as one of the game’s top third basemen, making keeping him a must for the Guardians. He is in the prime of his career, with many productive campaigns ahead. He’s coming off another strong campaign, where he batted .266 with 36 home runs, 103 RBI, and a career-best 111 runs scored in 152 games.
Ramirez has finished in the top six in AL MVP voting four times while earning three silver slugger awards in the last five seasons. The lack of movement in contract talks has led another AL team to pop into the trade picture.
Jose Ramirez is drawing significant interest from the Blue Jays
The Guardians are working aggressively against the clock to get Jose Ramirez under a new contract.
Things can certainly change, but the uncertainty has opened the door for the Blue Jays to swoop in to pursue the star third baseman, according to Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital.
Although Toronto may already have acquired Matt Chapman from the Oakland Athletics to fill their third base need, the organization would shift Ramirez to second base, where he’s played 145 career games. The rest of the infield would feature Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first and Bo Bichette at shortstop.
The Blue Jays possess potentially one of the league’s top batting orders anchored by their perennial MVP candidate. Adding Ramirez to the fold could elevate them toward becoming serious World Series contenders. The front office strengthened the pitching staff by signing Kevin Gausman to a five-year, $110 million deal while adding reliever Yimi Garcia.
Toronto is serious about making another leap forward, and acquiring Ramirez would do that.
Cleveland holds all the cards to keep their star third baseman
As much as the Blue Jays would love to land Jose Ramirez, the Guardians dictate his fate.
The 29-year-old wants to play his entire career with the organization, putting pressure on the front office. The fumbling of the contract talks with Francisco Lindor should serve as further motivation to get it right with Ramirez. The organization can ill-afford to lose another cornerstone piece.
The clock may be ticking, but the Guardians know what has to get done to keep their star baseman.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.