Padres, Guardians were “pretty deep” into trade talks for José Ramírez before Cleveland extension
José Ramírez was one of several players the San Diego Padres were interested in signing or trading for this spring that didn’t pan out.
Instead, he signed a historic extension with the Cleveland Guardians, whom he has been with since he signed as an international free agent in the fall of 2009. He made his debut in September 2013, and will play his 1,000th game in the coming weeks.
The Padres were the Interest Kings of the offseason and spring training, linked to many, but almost never closing the deal.
So how close were they to getting Ramírez, exactly?
On Saturday, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal said the Padres and Guardians were deep into it, though the latter were simultaneously working the extension angle with their longtime infielder.
When the two roads diverged, the Guardians, long lambasted for unloading top talent and keeping a low payroll, took the ‘road less traveled by,’ and finally paid up. They gave their star a five-year extension with a hefty $124M price tag and a full no-trade clause. Including his $12M salary this year and the team picking up his 2023 option for $13M, he is guaranteed $150M in this deal. It’s the largest contract in franchise history, and essentially makes Ramírez a career Clevelander.
The Padres’ pursuit of Ramírez made a lot of sense and no sense at all. They seemed intent on staying under the luxury tax threshold to reset after paying the penalty last year (it increases with every consecutive year), and therefore, wouldn’t have had any room for the pricy infielder. But for a team without Fernando Tatis Jr. until at least early June, adding the three-time Silver Slugger made all the sense in the world.
As for where Ramirez would’ve played, with Manny Machado at third base through 2028, Rosenthal says he would’ve slotted in at second base:
"“Just imagine this infield: Machado at third, Tatis at short, Jose Ramirez at second, Hosmer at first. Fun to think about, even though it didn’t quite get there.”"