The Cleveland Indians and utility man Jose Ramirez have agreed to a long term extension according to multiple reports.
The deal, which will begin next season is for four years and will guarantee Ramirez $26 million dollars. It also has two club options for 2022 and 2023 which could bring the total value of the deal to $50 million dollars.
The 24 year old will be the primary third baseman for the defending American League Champions but likely is starting the season at second base while Jason Kipnis recovers from inflammation in his shoulder. Ramirez has also spent time throughout his career at shortstop and in the outfield.
2016 was the breakout season for Jose Ramirez. Playing in 152 games, he hit .312 with 11 home runs, 76 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases, all career high numbers.
In the postseason, he appeared in all 15 games for the Tribe, hit .268 with one home run and 3 runs batted in.
He was at his best with runners in scoring position, hitting .355 with one home run and 62 runs batted in. With two outs and runners in scoring position, he was even better hitting .362 with that one home run and 31 runs batted in.
Ramirez was originally going to hit the free agent market in 2021 and he gave up three years of free agency to stay in Cleveland long term, the team that took a chance on him as a 17 year old in 2009 as a amateur free agent.
The Indians have secured their own before the regular season before, they extended Kipnis in 2014 and then gave pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco before the 2015 season. Those three along with Ramirez are guaranteed to be here through at least 2019 and potentially the 2020 season. Along with relief pitcher Andrew Miller and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, the nucleus to contend for World Series is set for the next few years.
The next long term deal in line would be for shortstop Francisco Lindor. While the Indians don’t have to do it now, they may want to secure his services all the way through his prime with the advantage to avoid arbitration for Lindor, which would begin in 2019.