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Cleveland signed veteran left fielder Eddie Rosario to a one-year, $8 million deal this week to provide much-needed support to the lineup. The team also brought back Gold Glove Award winner Cesar Hernandez with a one-year, $5 million contract that has a $6 million option for 2022.
Even without Carrasco, the rotation still boasts 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and 23-year-old Triston McKenzie. Assuming nobody else is dealt before Opening Day, contending for the postseason isn’t out of the question.
When it comes to Ramirez, the odds he will be traded are low more so because of his contract than his production.
In March 2017, the two-time All-Star signed a four-year, $26 million extension that has club options of $12 million and $14 million for 2022 and 2023. That’s a massive bargain for a player with a .281/.354/.494 career slash line.
Rosenthal explained how much bang for the buck Ramirez provided in 2020, when his 3.4 WAR led all position players, per FanGraphs:
“Ramirez’s estimated value in 2020, when extrapolated to 162 games, would have been $73.4 million, making the surplus that much greater. Entering his age-28 season, he also would appear likely to outperform the rest of his contract, which includes a $9 million salary in 2021.”
Cleveland has MLB‘s lowest payroll ($36.6 million) in large part because it moved Lindor and Carrasco and declined options for Brad Hand, Domingo Santana and Carlos Santana that totaled $32.5 million.
The fanbase has grown agitated with ownership over a lack of spending to augment a squad that reached the 2016 World Series. From 2016-20, the franchise didn’t finish higher than 15th in year-end payroll.
Dumping Ramirez would only inflame those emotions given his relatively cheap salary.