The Blue Jays may have missed on Francisco Lindor, but they shouldn’t stop calling Cleveland this winter, especially if Jose Ramirez could be had.
I’m not going to lie, even though I had some major reservations about the idea of trading for Francisco Lindor, I was still disappointed to see the Mets beat the Blue Jays to the punch. That was even more so the case because Cleveland packaged Carlos Carrasco in the deal, which would have been a fantastic fit for the Blue Jays.
What’s done is done though, and Ross Atkins and his staff will have to move on to other ideas whether they like it or not. However, there’s a chance that some of the groundwork they laid with Cleveland in discussions about Lindor could still prove useful. They may have an idea of who Cleveland likes from their minor league system, and there’s still a chance that a trade could make sense here. Especially if Cleveland is willing to make Jose Ramirez available in another blockbuster.
In my opinion, there’s a decent argument that Ramirez is an even better fit with the Blue Jays than Lindor could have been. They won’t have to move Bo Bichette off of his preferred position at shortstop, and Ramirez offers positional versatility and experience at third and second base. The 28-year-old is also a bargain, earning just nine million in 2021 according to spotrac.com, following by club options for 12 million in 2022, and 14 million in ’23, both carrying two million dollar buyouts that won’t be used. Oh, and he’s a career .281/.354/.494 hitter with power and speed.
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So why would Cleveland trade a player like that? Normally they wouldn’t, but I think it’s fair to say that they’re ready for a rebuild in “the Forest City” after letting go of Lindor and Carrasco. That doesn’t mean they’re going to make a similar salary dump with Ramirez, but the Blue Jays most definitely have the prospect pieces to get a deal done, and it could be the type of situation that even warrants a bit of an overpay.
To get some semblance of value here, I turned to a fun tool in baseballtradevalues.com. For those that haven’t stumbled upon the site, it provides a value for most players based on their ability, age, contract situation, future projections, and more. It’s not perfect, but trying to predict the value of players in the heads of every GM across the game is an impossible task, so they’re certainly close enough for me for the purposes of this exercise.
Ramirez is valued very, very highly at 72.8 for a median score, which makes sense when you combine his production, reasonable contract, and three years of control, all at 28 years old. That means the Blue Jays would have to pay a very big price, but as I said above, it may be worth it in this case. Here’s what I’ve come up with, and allow me to explain:
The first thing I’ll say is that I’m aware that the Blue Jays’ offer doesn’t meet the score of 72.8, or the “overpay” that I’ve alluded to. However, I’d bridge that gap by offering to pick up a hefty portion of the rest of Grichuk’s 3/28 million owed. Maybe kicking in 20 million would get it done? It would allow Cleveland to use Grichuk and Fisher in their outfield on a very minimal cost, and believe it or not, that could be a very real upgrade from what they’ve had out there in recent years. They already have the lowest payroll in baseball, but I’m sure the idea of saving even more during a pandemic would be enticing.
The centre piece is Jordan Groshans, a legit top 100 prospect, and potential future star. Cleveland would also receive Alejandro Kirk, who could help and now and later with their catching position, and a legitimate arm in Adam Kloffenstein, who I believe will be a top 100 prospect sooner than later as well. Maybe a package of Groshans-Kirk-Kloffenstein-Grichuk-Fisher (and remember, with 20 million) wouldn’t be quite enough, but given the returns we’ve seen for Lindor, and even Darvish, I don’t think it’s far off.
For a legitimate star like Ramirez, I’d be fine with the Blue Jays going even further than that if necessary, but not by a whole lot. With the offseason clock ticking away, they need to find an impact way to improve the roster, and while it would be expensive, I’d keep calling Cleveland in hopes of convincing them to continue their own rebuild.