Following a breakout 2016 season, Jose Ramirez has made a long-term commitment to the Cleveland Indians by agreeing to a five-year contract extension. The team announced the move Tuesday, noting the extension carries club options for 2022 and 2023.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported Ramirez and Cleveland were nearing an agreement on March 24, later adding it guarantees the 24-year-old $26 million and includes two team options through 2023 that could make the total value worth $50 million.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also reported the two sides were in agreement.
Ramirez tweeted out a humorous image of his mood after the deal was reported to be done:
Ramirez was an integral part of Cleveland's run to the World Series last season. He moved around the diamond at the start of 2016, playing left field, second base and eventually settling in at third base.
After a disappointing 2015 in which Ramirez hit .219/.291/.340 in 97 games, his offense took off last year with a .312/.363/.462 slash line in 152 contests for the American League champions.
As August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs noted last August, Ramirez essentially filled the void left by Michael Brantley, who was limited to 11 games in 2016 because of lingering effects from offseason shoulder surgery:
Brantley never struck out; Ramirez has never struck out. Brantley ran a league-best 92% contact rate; Ramirez this year is 11th, at 88%. Brantley walked enough to turn his elite batting average into an elite on-base percentage; Ramirez has done the same. Brantley suddenly began hitting for more power than folks had expected; Ramirez has 10 dingers.
Last season, Ramirez's 4.8 wins above replacement from FanGraphs tied with Jason Kipnis' for second among the Indians' position players, trailing only Francisco Lindor's 6.3.
Expectations are understandably high in Cleveland this season after last year's playoff run and the offseason signing of Edwin Encarnacion to boost a lineup that finished fifth in runs scored (777).
The Indians have an excellent core of talent in place, with Ramirez joining players like Lindor, Kipnis, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco who are under team control through at least 2020.