The Cleveland Indians are in the process of cutting salary in 2021.
But players like Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez stand out as those who could use a contract extension sooner than later.
Bieber is still under team control through 2024 so he may not be a top priority just yet.
Ramirez, however, is set earn $9 million in 2021 before having club options in 2022 and 2023.
He already signed an extremely team-friendly deal in 2017 and may want some big money when he hits the open market.
Optimism for a new deal may have hit a new low this offseason when Francisco Lindor was traded and Carlos Santana was allowed to walk.
Would a Ramirez trade follow?
ESPN’s Jeff Passan offered up a bit of good news when he revealed the Indians are interested in getting Ramirez signed to another extension.
That report also explains that Ramirez has so far not been interested in the talks.
This could mean the two sides are too far apart in terms of money.
But the fact the team is interested is a great step and could mean the money that was going to be used on Lindor, if he would have taken a discount, could be spent on Ramirez.
The @Indians are interested in extending 3B Jose Ramirez.
Cleveland has Jose's contract under control through the 2023 season, but the Indians “would love to” work out another extension, according to ESPN's @JeffPassan. pic.twitter.com/MmtpWSCCZc
— Everything Cleveland (@everythingcle_) March 17, 2021
Figuring Out a Ramirez Extension
Ramirez is 28 years old and is going to want to sign a long-term deal after finishing third or better in the American League MVP voting three times since 2017.
He would also probably like to get more certainty and wipe out those club options.
The Indians have the money to spend and should be able to retain both Ramirez and Bieber without much issue.
That is, if there is a desire to win.
One deal that could be copied is what the Milwaukee Brewers offered to Christian Yelich.
He ended up signing a seven-year, $188.5 million extension.
While he likely could have gotten more, he found a team he liked and is still making an unimaginable fortune.
Ramirez getting a similar deal could work and also ensure he doesn’t have to test free agency after the age of 30 if the Indians want to pick up those options.
There is no need to hesitate on offering Ramirez an extension.
He has arguably been the team’s best player since 2017 and his finishes in MVP voting prove that.
.@Indians Shane Bieber & Jose Ramirez are favorable candidates in the AL Cy Young & MVP preseason odds ⬇️
If you’re headed to Vegas for March Madness & looking to dabble outside of basketball = JRAM at 12:1 or better is awesome value for AL MVP pic.twitter.com/4BQpclggLq
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) March 12, 2021
The ultimate question comes down to whether the Indians ever want to hand out a deal worth around or over $200 million.
Getting to $300 million may just be impossible.
Another concern is if Ramirez feels wronged by the original deal he signed.
The good news from this is that the Indians are reportedly not looking to move on from Ramirez.
Trading him in 2021 would be too much for fans to handle and would be a terrible sign for the team’s chances to compete in the near future.
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