Free agency isn’t the only way to acquire baseball players for your team. This, you obviously know. So, let’s talk about some guys the Cubs could trade for this offseason.
The reason I bring up Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez is that his team did some serious housecleaning last winter, trading away Francisco Lindor. Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger and Adam Cimber. At one point last offseason they looked like they were headed for a $40 million payroll (and eventually, per Spotrac, they wound up at only $50 million). Ramirez is the only Cleveland player signed for 2022 on a multi-year deal, and even if you add up potential arbitration awards, that only totals $37.2 million for Cleveland’s payroll next year.
They dealt Lindor and Carrasco largely for financial reasons. Somehow, they managed to stay in contention for the first couple of months of the season, but after falling out near the deadline, they then traded away Cesar Hernandez, Phil Maton and Eddie Rosario. The latter two are currently playing in the World Series.
This is a very long introduction to my premise, which is that I suspect Cleveland will want to trade the one big contract they have remaining, the deal for their third baseman Jose Ramirez, who has two team options remaining. His 2022 option is for $11 million with a $2 million buyout. I cannot imagine Cleveland buying him out and losing him for nothing. So they’ll exercise the option for $11 million. There’s another option for $13 million for 2023.
The Cubs can absolutely afford those two years for a player of Ramirez’ caliber. He’s won three Silver Slugger awards, finished in the top three of MVP voting three times and made three All-Star teams. He’s about a 5 bWAR player. Basically, he’s Kris Bryant without the injuries and without the recognition; I’d say Ramirez might even be the best great player in MLB that no one pays any attention to.
So, how to trade for Ramirez? First, the Cubs would pick up all the money, $24 million for two years’ worth of Ramirez. The first piece of the deal would be Patrick Wisdom. That, at least, would give Cleveland a guy who could play third base for them and give them reasonable production for a couple years.
Obviously, Wisdom alone for Ramirez wouldn’t get it done. The Cubs would likely have to throw in a couple of very good prospects.
For me (and I presume for you), Brennen Davis is off-limits in any trade. So I’d start with Miguel Amaya. This presumes, of course, that the Cubs are going to sign Willson Contreras to a long-term extension. If they do that (and in my view they should), they don’t need Amaya, who could start for Cleveland. To this I’d add Anderson Espinoza, who the Cubs acquired from the Padres in the Jake Marisnick deal.
That’s my offer: Ramirez and his entire contract to the Cubs for Patrick Wisdom, Miguel Amaya and Anderson Espinoza. This is one reason you have good prospects, to trade them for quality major-league players.
Who says no?
Jose Ramirez and his entire contract to the Cubs from Cleveland for Patrick Wisdom, Miguel Amaya and Anderson Espinoza...
This poll is closed
... sounds good! Get it done, Jed!
... not enough, Cleveland will want more players in return
... don’t want Ramirez. Pass
Something else (leave in comments)