CLEVELAND — Cleveland fans, you can finally exhale.
Just over 24 hours before their home opener at Progressive Field, the Guardians have officially confirmed a new seven-year contract with superstar third baseman José Ramírez that will keep him with the club through 2028. The deal is reportedly worth a franchise record $141 million, including a $10 million signing bonus in 2022 and $105 million in new money over the final five seasons
"JRam is staying put!" the Guardians tweeted with an appropriate smiling teardrop emoji. It was something that seemed impossible even weeks ago when negotiations apparently hit a snag, but eventually, The Athletic's Zach Meisel wrote that Ramírez himself directed his agent to get it done.
Details of the contract actually leaked a week ago before the regular season began, but even though teammates were open in their joy of knowing Ramírez would be sticking around, announcements from both relevant parties were still on hold as details were finalized. With that now over, the celebration can begin, including from Guardians President Chris Antonetti:
"We're thrilled to reach a contract extension with José Ramírez that will keep him in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. José has been such an integral member of our organization and will continue to be a cornerstone of our club moving forward. José has established himself as one of the best players in the game, and beyond that, he’s an incredible competitor and teammate. He exemplifies the attributes and qualities we seek to develop in our players, and he sets an admirable standard for others to strive toward. We deeply appreciate the commitment that José has made to our team, franchise and city, and we look forward to building our future clubs around him."
Since breaking into the big leagues in 2013, Ramírez has developed into one of baseball's best and most exciting players. Now in his 10th season with Cleveland, José has posted a career OPS of .861 (127 OPS+) along with 612 runs scored, 166 home runs, 154 stolen bases, and 34.4 fWAR. During that stretch, he has also made three American League All-Star teams while helping the club reach the postseason five teams, including an AL pennant in 2016.
With his new contract now signed and sealed, J-Ram chose to mark the occasion in the best fashion possible: By recreating the famous "Wolf of Wall Street" scene where Leonardo DiCaprio's character defiantly tells his employees he's "not f---ing leaving!" Ramírez's head is superimposed on DiCaprio's body, with Terry Francona, Shane Bieber, and Franmil Reyes among those appearing in the audience.
Leo's words could ring even truer for Ramírez, whose extension also reportedly includes a full no-trade clause. Should he indeed remain in Cleveland for the duration of the deal, his 16-year tenure would be the longest by a position player in franchise history.
Initial reports indicated the contract would be worth $150 million, but the New York Post's Jon Heyman says the actual number is $9 million less than that. Heyman reports Ramírez's salary will jump to $22 million in 2022 before falling to $14 million in '23, the same figure of the final club option year of his previous deal. The figure will then steadily increase across the remaining five years before peaking at $25 million in 2028, and additional performance incentives will also be up for grabs.