The Cleveland Indians front office could have easily torn it all down at Friday’s trade deadline.
The problem with such a tear-down is the reaction from fans and those still in the clubhouse.
How are the Chicago Cubs feeling now about their chances to compete not just in 2021, but for years to come?
The Indians decided against the blockbuster deals and can now focus on trying to lock down both stars on long-term deals.
Locking Down Jose
The first thing the Cleveland Guardians should do this offseason is make sure this man is the face of the Guardians for a long, long time. pic.twitter.com/QKYEQg8E2N
— Cleveland Guardians (@OurCLEGuardians) July 24, 2021
Ramirez is in a different boat than Bieber because he only has option years remaining on his deal.
The Indians hold club options in 2022 and 2023, but could easily wipe those away with a new deal.
The superstar infielder already took one team-friendly deal and deserves to get paid.
Under normal circumstances, fans may just be looking at the 2023 trade deadline as the cutoff point of Ramirez’s time in Cleveland.
However, ownership may add some more individuals and as a result, more money.
The team is also changing to the Guardians, and the worst possible thing would be to make a major change and not lock down any star talent.
Ramirez is the everyday face of the franchise and holding onto him was a major victory even if the two sides cannot come to an extension in the next two years.
That becomes tomorrow’s problem, instead of today’s question about what could have been.
Paying The Ace
Shane Bieber said he hasn't had in-depth conversations with the Indians about a long-term contract extension, and suggested those talks will now be on hold until next offseason anyway. pic.twitter.com/fjjyhPcdvy
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 27, 2021
Bieber has still not even hit arbitration and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2024 season.
The Indians now have three arbitration years on their side.
They could tell Bieber to forget about those negotiations and sign him to a six or seven-year deal that wipes out those three years in favor of a regular annual salary.
Between Ramirez and Bieber we are talking about deals that may combine for about $300 million in value.
So it may be a bit too optimistic to assume both could get done.
But at least one?
That has to happen if the Indians, or Guardians, want to let the players know they are actually trying to win.
Continually trading homegrown stars, especially pitchers, will do damage if the team lands a true young star who makes it clear he wants a trade out of town because he knows they won’t retain him.
So ultimately, retaining the younger Bieber may be a more crucial move than keeping Ramirez around.
Is that a hot take?