Contract stalemate is a bad sign for Guardians

The Cleveland Guardians may have signed reliever Emmanuel Clase, but they remain away with their team’s star — slugger Jose Ramirez.

The Guardians have an April 7 deadline for extension talks with Ramirez, which also happens to be Opening Day. While there was initial hope the two sides would do something, talks reportedly broke down later this week, casting doubt on whether a deal could be reached before said deadline.

By Cleveland.com:

“Representatives for Ramirez and the Guardians have talked intermittently about an extension. It was an important week in trying to get a deal done, but it looks like negotiations have stalled, if not ended.

Ramirez is already the Guardians’ highest-paid player, but that doesn’t mean much, as he’s earning $12 million this season with a club option for 2023. Considering his real value, Ramirez is a steal.

His agent knows that, which is why both sides are now talking about an extension. Still, it looks like the Guardians are in no rush to give in, especially as they have the club option for next year.

Jose Ramirez’s extension goes against the nature of the Guardians

The Guardians have never given a player more than $60 million guaranteed, which matches the contract they signed with free agent Edwin Encarnacion in the 2016-17 offseason. Ramirez would want more than that, which is probably why he’s been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason.

If a deal isn’t reached by April 7, expect those rumors to increase to start the season and trade deadline. Cleveland is listed as a team near the middle of the AL Central standings and, therefore, would be willing to sell to a competitor in late July.

Ramirez’s affordability is one of his most attractive assets, but any team that acquires him should engage in those same contract negotiations. Maybe teams that don’t see themselves as a small market would be more interested in a player of his caliber.