José Ramírez wants to retire with the Cleveland Guardians

CLEVELAND — Extension talks with All-Star third baseman José Ramírez were inevitable as he neared the end of his previous contract. So when they started this offseason, Ramírez came with one goal in mind: to stay with the Guardians for his entire career.

He set four objectives at the start of the negotiation process:

1. He wants to retire in Cleveland
2. He wants to have his jersey removed by the organization
3. He wants to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, representing Cleveland
4. He wants to win a World Series with the Guardians

The reason the five-year, $124 million extension was able to be achieved between the Guardians and Ramírez was because of his desire to stay with the team that had first given him a shot at becoming a soccer player. professional baseball. Of course, there’s always a risk for a club when it comes to inking long-term players, but after the huge contracts we’ve seen handed out to players like Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor, it’s easy to imagine someone who has had four top-3 AL MVP finishes in the past six years receiving that much money.

But Ramírez knew that the market he wanted to stay in was probably not going to distribute this monstrous contract. It didn’t matter to him. His desire was to stick with this organization, and after weeks of conversations throughout spring training, they were able to work out the major parts of the deal before Opening Day. It wasn’t until Thursday, when the club officially announced the extension, that all the details were finalized.

“Today may be the most exciting day we’ve ever had for this franchise,” said Guardians CEO and owner Paul Dolan. “Frankly, the most important player in all of this was Jose himself. His commitment to Cleveland was extraordinary. Not only did he say he wanted to stay, he sat down with us and he allowed us to sign.”

The immediate question that pops into everyone’s head is “Why?” Why would a player who could earn more by testing the free agent market choose to stay in Cleveland? Ramírez noted the love for the fans and their support during the ups and downs of his career, as well as the reasons stated above. But after listing all these reasons, the main determining factor was the sweetest of them all.

“Because really I just want my daughter to use only one jacket,” Ramírez said through team interpreter Agustin Rivero.

Due to the lockdown, Ramírez and the Guardians had to put all of their conversations on hold until spring training was underway. Both teams stayed busy throughout camp despite balancing the build-up to the opening day – which Ramírez admitted was difficult.

“In reality, there was some distraction because of that,” Ramírez said. “It’s hard to compensate for both the things – the practice and the negotiations – and what’s going to happen. But once that’s done, I feel like I have time to focus on my priority, which is to win games with this team.

Spending his entire career with one team was not that uncommon. Today it’s almost unheard of, but Ramírez thinks the game would benefit from players rekindling that kind of loyalty.

“I think it would be much better if more players did that,” Ramírez said. “I just kept in mind that organizations are the ones that give you an opportunity when you’re a kid and they’re the ones that allow you to become a professional player. So for me, I appreciate having that a lot more. this opportunity to finalize my career and not only to play for this team, but to finish my career with this organization which gave me the chance to be a player in the first place.

Guardians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti recalled the scrawny second baseman who didn’t really drive the ball in 2013 or 14. Since then, this scrawny middle fielder has found a home in the hot corner, led the Majors with 56 doubles during the 2017 season, was named to three All-Star Games, won three Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top three in the AL. MVP voting three times. Now he has until at least 2028 to win a World Series with Cleveland.

When his contract expires, Ramírez will be 36 years old. If there’s more baseball in his future after this, it’s clear he’ll want to play with one team. If his career comes to an end after the 1928 season, he will wait for the rest of his wishes he made in the last offseason to hopefully be granted.

“Hopefully his next move from Cleveland is to Cooperstown,” Dolan said, “and we can all enjoy this ride with him.”

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