GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Ramirez was one of the most valuable members of the Indians last season, filling in at multiple positions and enjoying one of baseball's best breakout campaigns. Cleveland clearly believes that last summer's performance was no fluke.On Friday night, MLB.com confirmed that the Indians reached an agreement
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jose Ramirez was one of the most valuable members of the Indians last season, filling in at multiple positions and enjoying one of baseball's best breakout campaigns. Cleveland clearly believes that last summer's performance was no fluke.
On Friday night, MLB.com confirmed that the Indians reached an agreement with Ramirez on a five-year, $26 million contract extension that includes team options for 2022 and '23, pending a physical. The deal has a maximum value of $50 million.
The Ramirez contract falls in line with Cleveland's history of locking up its young core players. On the current roster, players such as Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes have each inked multiyear extensions. Kluber's was the largest pre-arbitration deal in baseball history for a pitcher, and Gomes' pact was the largest pre-arb extension for a catcher.
• Deal reveals Indians' commitment to future
Ramirez, who is entering his final pre-arbitration season, has all of his arbitration years covered in the new contract, as well as one year of free-agent eligibility. The $26 million includes his 2017 salary, and the team options, which would cover two more years of free agency, are worth $11 million and $13 million, respectively.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports was first to report that the Indians and Ramirez reached a deal.
Last season, the 24-year-old Ramirez began as Cleveland's main left fielder while Brantley was sidelined with a right shoulder injury, and eventually found a home at third after the Indians parted ways with Juan Uribe. This spring, Ramirez was in line to open at third, but has recently been working out at second base, considering Kipnis (right shoulder) will miss the start of the season.
During Cleveland's run to the American League Central crown and league pennant last year, Ramirez appeared at third base (117 games), left field (48), second base (nine) and shortstop (five). Offensively, the switch-hitter also emerged as one of the Tribe's most reliable weapons, hitting out of the fifth spot for a considerable portion of the season.
In 152 games last year, Ramirez hit .312 with an .825 OPS and was one of baseball's hardest hitters to strike out (10 percent of his plate appearances). He compiled 46 doubles (most in club history for a switch hitter), 11 home runs and three triples, while stealing 22 bases, collecting 76 RBIs and scoring 84 runs. Ramirez ended the year fourth on the Indians with a 4.6 WAR (per Fangraphs.com).
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.