The Jose Ramirez trade rumors look they’ll be rekindling soon.
The Cleveland Guardians are still on track for their regularly scheduled Opening Day, but that will change if the union and owners don’t work out a new collective bargaining agreement by Feb. 28. If that happens, it’s been reported MLB will push back the start of the season.
When the lockout does end, the Guardians, and just about every team in the big leagues will rush to fill holes on the roster.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, that includes teams circling back to the Guards in search of finding a trade for Ramirez.
Olney cites J-Ram’s favorable contract as the reason teams will have to, at the very least, check in on Ramirez’s status.
Even so, Olney doesn’t see a trade because he believes there’s no way opposing clubs can quench Cleveland’s thirst.
"“His contract is so favorable for Cleveland that generating an acceptable offer of prospects might be almost impossible–and the franchise, steeped in pitching, may choose to open its next season under their new name of th eGuardians with Ramirez cemented into their infield. But as clubs looking for infielders (like the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Astros) weigh options, they’ll at least pose the appropriate questions about Ramirez.”"
Ramirez will earn $12 million this season. He has a club option for $14 million next season. He’s a perennial MVP candidate. Olney’s spot on. Of course other clubs are going to check in.
I also agree with his statement that the Guards may choose to stick with Ramirez. I’d say fans are about split on the name change. It’s not so much the “Guardians,” rather, not everyone is ready to quite the “Indians.”
With that in mind, the organization doesn’t need the bad PR that comes with trading it’s best player. Ramirez isn’t as popular as Francisco Lindor, but the people buying season tickets will fill up with salt over any J-Ram deal.
The Guardians payroll is projected to be around $50 million. I could see them spending up to $70 million. They need another outfield. They need bullpen help. They may be good enough to contend if the starting pitching holds up.
Keep in mind, though. Holding onto Ramirez now doesn’t eliminate a trade in the future. If the Guards are out of it by the break, Ramirez’s name will certainly pop up in trade rumors.