Source AP: Ramírez and Guardians agree 5-year, $124m deal
CLEVELAND – José Ramírez forced the Guardians to go deep into their pockets.
The All-Star third baseman agreed to a five-year, $124 million deal on the eve of Opening Day with Cleveland, a franchise that hasn’t been able to swing with the big spenders of the baseball over the years.
Ramírez’s deal spans the 2028 season, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Ramírez still needs to pass a physical examination and many other details need to be finalized before the contract is official, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It will be baseball’s 16th contract of $100 million or more at the end of the World Series.
The Guardians open the 2022 season — their first game since changing their name from Indians — in Kansas City on Thursday.
The team and Ramírez’s representatives had been in talks over a deal for weeks at training camp in Arizona. Ramírez, 29, had expressed a desire to end his career with Cleveland, who signed him as a teenager from the Dominican Republic.
Ramírez has become one of baseball’s best all-around players, capable of impacting the game with his bat, his glove, and on bases, where he usually loses his helmet while rushing to the next base.
Cleveland owner Paul Dolan has long been criticized for not spending enough on players as the Guardians have almost served as the source of the game’s biggest markets with stars including Francisco Lindor, Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee who were traded or left free. agents because the team couldn’t afford to keep them.
But in recent days, the Guardians locked up Ramírez and agreed a five-year contract with closest Emmanuel Clase.
With Ramírez anchoring their roster and a solid starting rotation, the Guardians should be able to stay in contention in the AL Central.
Ramírez’s new contract doubles the biggest deal Cleveland has ever given to a player, surpassing the $60 million promised to slugger Edwin Encarnacion five years ago.
Ramírez had two years left on a five-year, $26 million deal he signed in 2016. That deal included two team options — $12 million in 2022 and $14 million next season — that made making him the highest-paid player on Cleveland’s roster.
His new deal also includes a full no-trade clause.
A three-time All-Star, Ramírez hit .266 with 36 home runs and 103 RBIs last season. He’s finished in the top three in MVP voting three times in the past five seasons.
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