Despite what some may claim, keeping Jose Ramirez for the 2021 major league season is the right move for the Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Indians are keeping prized third basemen Jose Ramirez for the 2021 season, despite a rumor cropping up earlier in the offseason that the Tribe was in fact fielding offers for the multi-time AL MVP finalist. This report comes from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal who wrote that “Cleveland is not interested in moving (Ramirez).” So the panic attacks in Cleveland can stop in earnest.
Keeping Ramirez is not a mistake as some have erroneously stated. The Indians’ offense should be improved upon last year’s disastrous offensive season. The team has signed outfield help, and re-signed Cesar Hernandez, and will more than likely see Triple-A prospect Nolan Jones start in left field. Those additions will help the offense, as well an entire year of a healthy Roberto Perez.
While some will claim the offense can’t be better without current Mets shortstop Franciso Lindor, they are forgetting that Francisco Lindor has not been the hitter over the last few years that many envisioned him to be. Lindor only hit .258 last year, and while some will say that it was a fluke, the fact is his batting average has fallen practically every year he’s been in the majors. He hit .313 his rookie year, but after 2016, his highest average was .284. While he averaged 30+ home runs from 2017-2019, his batting average, on-base and slugging have all dipped.
Lindor has peaked as an offensive player and the hope of him being a .300/.400/.500 player is a pipe dream at this point. Replacing Lindor offensively won’t be easy but it’s not going to be nearly as hard as some people want to believe. The biggest issue will be matching his defensive stability.
So while yes, Lindor is gone, but there’s going to be a handful of top-prospects emerging alongside Ramirez, Eddie Rosario, and Franmil Reyes. Names like Josh Naylor, Jake Bauers, Bobby Bradley, Yu Chang, and of course Jones are all going to get the chance to prove they belong.
Not to mention, while not usually big spenders in free agency, the Dolans have always allowed the team to make trades to improve the team. As long as the Indians are within firing distance of the playoffs, the team will make trades to improve themselves.
Having this offense built around a three-time finalist for the AL MVP and arguably the best hitter in the AL isn’t a bad idea what so ever. In fact, should this team improve offensively and Ramirez gets out to, and keeps pace with a hot start, Ramirez may finally get that elusive MVP award.