Jose Ramirez Trade Rumors: Cleveland Won't Deal Star Unless 'Overwhelmed' by Offer

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 19, 2021

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 01: Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) doubles to left during the third inning of the Major League Baseball game between the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians on July 1, 2021, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cleveland has parted ways with a number of key players in recent years through trades or letting their contracts expire. The franchise remains committed, however, to star third baseman Jose Ramirez.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Cleveland would need to be "overwhelmed" by an offer in order to move Ramirez ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

Rosenthal cited the Tampa Bay Rays as a team that might attempt to test Cleveland's resolve.

Finances seem to have driven many of the organization's biggest decisions of late.

Francisco Lindor was heading into the final year of his contract prior to his trade to the New York Mets. Corey Kluber was due to make $17.5 million in 2020 as he landed with the Texas Rangers. The team saved a hefty hunk of change by declining club options for Brad Hand, Carlos Santana and Domingo Santana.

Finances might similarly be a factor behind the front office's assessment of Ramirez, only this time they're working in Cleveland's favor.

The 28-year-old makes $9 million this season and has club options for $12 million in 2022 and $14 million in 2023. That's a bargain for the value he provides on the field.

Through 85 games, Ramirez is batting .257 with a .510 slugging percentage, 19 home runs and 52 RBI. He's fresh off earning the third All-Star appearance of his career, and his 2.9 WAR is tied for 12th among American League position players, per FanGraphs.

The postseason window isn't closed for Cleveland, either. The team is eight games behind the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central and sits 3.5 games back from the second wild-card spot.

Cleveland's offense isn't all that good to begin with. Taking Ramirez out of the mix would make the lineup even more anemic, thus nullifying what can be a dominant rotation when everyone is healthy.

If the franchise is ready to commit fully to a rebuild, then executing this trade makes sense. For now, it doesn't appear general manager Mike Chernoff is ready to go down that road.