Star-studded third baseman Jose Ramirez stunned the MLB world this spring when he graciously accepted a low-ball offer from Cleveland Guardians management and signed a seven-year extension with the franchise, locking him down until 2029 with a no-trade clause included.
For some athletes, money buys happiness. They get their payday, and they pack it in, under-preforming and not living up to the contract given. There’s numerous examples in baseball of players receiving 10-plus year contracts and not living up to the bill. Albert Pujols in 2011 with the Angels, and Robinson Cano with the Mainers in 2014 are two somewhat recent examples to chart.
Since signing his extension, the heart and soul of the Cleveland baseball franchise has done the complete opposite of packing it in.
As of June 22nd, Ramirez has posted the following numbers: 70/231 (.303 batting average), 16 homers, 41 runs scored, 62 RBI’s and 11 stolen bases. The .303 batting average is good for 15th in the majors but only four players have had more appearances at the dish than Ramirez.
The 16 homers are also tied for 13th in the sport. The 41 runs scored are tied for 18th. The 62 RBI’s are second (only one behind Pete Alonso of the Mets), and the 11 stolen bases are tied for 11th.
Stats may not tell the complete picture, but when looking at No. 11’s MVP case, when you compare his numbers with everybody else’s on his own team, it should be a no brainer to the MLB voters.
Ramirez’ .303 average is second on the Guards, only to Oscar Gonzales (.330), but the latter has only had 91 at-bats while the former has logged 231. The best hitter behind Ramirez? Andres Gimenez, who has 50 less at-bats than “Enriquoto”.
His 16 homers stand nine above second place, his 62 RBI’s almost double second place (35), and his 11 stolen bases tie Myles Straw for first.
Many baseball experts predicted the Guardians to be at the bottom of the AL Central this season, with many thinking their pitching would not be able to hold up the offensive struggles with all the young pieces in the starting lineup throughout the entire 162 game campaign. Yet, as the team gets set for a division-leading showdown with the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis, it’s been the offense carrying the load, especially early in the season. The team average is currently good for 10th in all of baseball (.249), compared to last season when they finished 21st (.238)
Ramirez does not receive the national attention he deserves due to the Cleveland market. Mike Trout (Los Angeles) and Aaron Judge (New York) are leading the current MVP odds ahead of the Guardians’ hot corner defensive man and all-around hitter. Trout’s team is three games under the .500 mark, and they had to fire their manager after a 14-game losing streak. Trout also has the likes of Shohei Otani a part of his supporting cast while Judge has a cascade of bombers with him in New York (even if he’s arguarbly the best hitter on the team).
Ramirez doesn’t have nearly the help Trout and Judge has. That’s not to diminish what the young men have done throughout the early part of the campaign for the Guardians. It’s just a matter of experience and statistics.
MVP stands for “Most Valuable Player”. That does not mean the best player on the best team. One of the definitions of the word “valuable” means, “Of great use or service”, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.
Where would the Yankees be without Judge? My guess: Still competing for the AL East crown. They may not be the best team in MLB, but they would still be a good team.
Where would the Angels be without Trout? My guess: Still near the bottom of the AL West. They may not be as bad with Trout, but Trout has never made the postseason, so what value has he truly brought to the secondary LA team?
Where would the Guardians be without Ramirez? My guess: At the bottom of the AL Central like the experts predicted heading into 2022.
Instead, they’re near the top and six games above the .500 threshold, mostly due to the play of a man who loses his helmet every time he rounds a base,
That is the definition of valuable.
Clevelanders know it, and the rest of baseball should know it, too: Ramirez should be the leading candidate for MVP in 2022.
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