Jose Ramirez was an All-Star for the Cleveland Indians once again in 2021 and even played in the game, unlike teammate Shane Bieber.
But now, Ramirez is out of the lineup for a second straight day as the Indians remain in Houston to take on the Astros.
+ INF Yu Chang recalled from Triple-A Columbus
– RHP Justin Garza optioned to Triple-A Columbus#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/eria5a9pXx
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 21, 2021
This has resulted in Yu Chang getting the promotion and immediately stepping in again at first base.
It also means Franmil Reyes is in right field, which should be fascinating to watch.
Not having Ramirez in the lineup is a problem and is due to some lingering elbow pain that can be aggravated with a swing.
Terry Francona said José Ramírez's elbow still occasionally bothers him if he overextends himself on a swing, so he might get a day off every so often over the next couple weeks (including today).
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 20, 2021
This is not a good problem to have and could mean Ramirez is unable to swing with confidence until his elbow returns to some sort of full health.
Temporary And Long-Term Fix
Having Chang back on the roster allows Ernie Clement to slide in at third base and for Bobby Bradley to be the DH, which is a role that suits him anyway.
This allows Clement to get regular playing time, even if it comes with unfortunate circumstances.
And with the current outfield shortage, it makes sense why they just put Reyes out in right.
The question then comes if the Indians go on a losing streak right here before the trade deadline.
If contending is not a priority, should Ramirez be shut down?
Clement could get regular time in that scenario and perhaps that would allow Nolan Jones to finally get his long-awaited call-up.
This is, of course, a worst-case scenario for the team.
However, the benefit is keeping Ramirez healthy and not risking further injury.
But if he is indeed held out, what does that mean for his future with the club?
There are so many questions right now that can be put to the side if the team can keep pace in the American League playoff race.
His Year So Far
One player cannot solely carry a lineup, but Ramirez’s absence may be too much to overcome.
He is at 3.0 WAR on the year and there is no one right now who could properly replace him on the roster.
Ramirez has 19 home runs, 52 RBI, and should once again get MVP votes, just not as a top favorite like he has been in the recent past.
Having a healthy trio of Ramirez, Reyes, and Bradley is the key to the offense’s success.
But even Bradley is dealing with some pain, which explains why he is the DH in Houston.
Tito: "We wanted to give him a chance to come in and loosen up before we pull the plug on him not playing. But at the same time, we don't want to hurt him. So we'll see how it goes."
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) July 21, 2021
So once Bradley is back to normal, the Indians won’t have to put Reyes out in right field.
The injuries continue to pile up and fans are still looking at the looming returns of Bieber and Aaron Civale as a huge sign of hope.
The true hope is that both don’t return once it is too late.
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