José Ramírez is a Perfect Fit for Mets

The price will be incredibly steep, but oh what a difference José would make

We spoke on Friday about Carlos Correa and his willingness to move to third base, as well as a few of the in-house options the Mets have been trying to make stick at the position in recent years.

However, as incredibly talented as Correa is (as evidenced by yet another watershed postseason performance in Houston’s ALCS Game 1 win over Boston on Friday), he will not come cheap. Like, not even close. And the Mets have other holes to plug this offseason.

An annual average salary hit of somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million per is a major investment, as is shelling out another $300 million pact on top of Francisco Lindor’s $341 million contract extension signed last spring.

Despite the Mets’ glaring need for a first-class hot-bagger, maybe breaking the bank (monetarily, at least) to make it happen isn’t absolutely necessary.

As was heavily reported at the trade deadline and amplified in recent weeks (Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca), Cleveland was indeed listening to offers on switch-hitting third baseman José Ramírez.

The Yankees were rumored to be in the mix, as were the Blue Jays, per Davidi’s report earlier this month. Cleveland balked at moving their 29-year-old cornerstone, but it’s safe to assume they’re still listening.

The Dominican product began his MLB career quietly (.239/.298/.346 over 180 games from 2013 through 2015), as one does playing in the major leagues at ages 20-through-22.

But since becoming an everyday player for Cleveland in 2016, Ramírez has been a pillar of production, hitting .286/.364/.531 with 155 home runs, 221 doubles, 496 RBIs, and 134 stolen bases over 800 games.

His 134 wRC+ over that span ranks 21st in the majors and his 32.7 wins above replacement (FanGraphs) are good for third, behind only Mike Trout (39.3 fWAR) and Mookie Betts (37.4). That’s pretty good.

Toss in three American League All-Star nods, three top-three AL MVP finishes (2017, 2018, 2020), and absolutely impeccable defense at third base (+7 OAA in 2021, fifth in MLB; +30 since 2016, third in MLB), and you’ve got yourself a potential Hall of Fame career in full swing.

[heavy aristocratic voice]

“Oh, the Mets must have him.”

So why in the world would Cleveland be looking to trade Ramírez? Switch-hitting, arguably five-tool players don’t grow on trees.

Well, for the same reason they dealt Lindor to the Mets for a bucketful of top-tier talent last year: they want to get what they can before he leaves in free agency.

Without opening up another can of worms entirely, any MLB ball club can sign or re-sign any player in the game if they wanted to. They literally own MLB ball clubs. They have the money.

Anywho… Cleveland’s, um, frugality, should and likely will be someone else’s opportunity to add an elite ballplayer to their roster in Ramírez. And, in our humble opinion, that team should be the Mets.

Unfortunately, this won’t cost anything akin to the haul New York sent Cleveland for Lindor (Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Josh Wolf, Isaiah Greene). The price tag will be much, much more.

Ramírez has two option years remaining on the four-year, $26 million deal he signed ahead of the 2018 season; $12 million for 2022 and $14 million for 2023. For the aforementioned level of productivity, that’s a bargain.

And for that reason, Cleveland will keep the upper hand in any trade negotiations. That, and because Ramírez is just this freaking good.

So what might it take to pry José Ramírez from the Cleveland… are they the Guardians yet? A lot.

Let’s assume J.D. Davis will be offered as an MLB-ready piece. OK, that’s a decent start. Tack on a high-end pitching prospect (think JT Ginn) and you’re probably halfway there.

Getting bullied for one of either Brett Baty (absolutely raking in the Arizona Fall League; 5-for-7, two walks, no strikeouts) or Ronny Mauricio (High-A East All-Star nod; .323/.364/.452 slash over 33 PA with Double-A Binghamton at four years below league average) is likely on the docket, as well.

We draw the line at Francisco Álvarez, for whatever that’s worth. Otherwise, let’s make a deal.

Will the Mets’ already-light farm system feel the sting of losing more than a few high-end prospects? Most definitely.

But could José Ramírez’s impact arguably push this group and whatever other additions they make to it this offseason over the top? That kinda checks out, too.

Should be a fun winter season. LFGM.


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