CLEVELAND – José Ramírez forced the Gardeses to dig into his pocket.
The third All-Star bassist accepted a five-year, $ 124 million contract on the eve of the opening day with Cleveland, a record deal for a franchise that has not been able to trade with major baseball spenders over the years.
Ramirez’s agreement will be extended during the 2028 season, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Ramirez has yet to become a physicist and many other details need to be finalized before the contract becomes official, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The deal includes a full non-swap clause and is the largest in the team’s history, more than double the $ 60 million committed to batter Edwin Encarnación five years ago.
It will be baseball number 16 for $ 100 million or more since the end of the World Series.
The Guardians open the 2022 season, their first game since they changed their name from Indians, to Kansas City on Thursday, and will start knowing that Ramirez will remain third and bat third over the next few years.
“An absolute grinder on the field,” said pitcher Shane Bieber, who will start the first game. “Play with your heart and soul out there. Sweat of blood and tears. He’s just a guy who, as a pitcher, you’re on the mound and looking over your right shoulder and it’s a feeling of comfort to know he’s there giving his all in each and every one of the plays and that he invested each and every one of the tickets, the pitches and the games. “
Ramirez’s team and representatives had been in talks for weeks about a training camp deal in Arizona. The 29-year-old Ramirez had expressed a desire to end his career with Cleveland, who signed him as a teenager in the Dominican Republic.
After stalling, negotiations intensified in the last two days before the Indians broke into camp when rumors surfaced of a possible exchange involving Ramirez. The Guardians have left their normal comfort zone, but will now have Ramirez for seven more seasons.
“He talks about his game on the field, but having him at the club and continuing to have him in the foreseeable future is important to me, to the rest of the team and to him and the management,” Bieber said. “I’m glad he stays.”
Since entering Cleveland in 2013, Ramirez has become one of the best baseball players, able to impact the game with his bat, glove and bases, where he often loses his helmet as he heads to the next base.
Cleveland owner Paul Dolan has long been criticized for not spending on players, as the Guardians have almost served as a feeder for the game’s larger markets, with stars such as Francisco Lindor, Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee wither. being exchanged or leaving as free agents. because the team could not afford to keep them.
But in recent days, the Guardians have locked up Ramirez and agreed to a five-year contract with the closed Emmanuel Class.
Ramirez’s signing does not meet all of Cleveland’s needs, but with him anchoring his lineup and a solid initial rotation with Bieber, the Guardians should be able to stay in contention at Central AL.
Ramirez had two years left with a five-year, $ 26 million contract he signed in 2016. That deal included two team options – 12 million in 2022 and 14 million next season – making him the highest paid player on the roster. Cleveland.
Ramirez, a three-time All-Star, hit .266 with 36 homers and 103 RBIs last season. He finished in the top three voting MVP three times in the last five seasons.
The Guardians signed Ramirez in 2009. He was raised as a shortstop, but moved up to third to make way for Lindor, who became unavailable and was traded to the New York Mets before last season.
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Ramirez, Guardians agree to a 5-year, $ 124 million deal
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