Jose Ramirez will undergo hand surgery and should be ready for spring training
Star of the Guardians Jose Ramirez will undergo surgery on his right hand early next month, agent Rafa Nieves told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas (Twitter link). The procedure shouldn’t impact his preparation for the upcoming spring training. Tenchy Rodriguez was the first to report (on Twitter) that Ramírez should undergo surgery.
Ramírez first suffered the injury mid-season, Rojas adds, but he solved the problem as the Guardians raced and ultimately headed for an AL Central title. He remained in the lineup more or less every day, appearing in 157 regular season games and starting all seven of the club’s postseason games at third base. Ramírez missed two games in late June with a right thumb injury, but has avoided the injured list all season.
Whether it’s directly related to the thumb problem or not, the four-time All-Star has slowed down after an otherworldly first few months. Ramírez carried a .292/.389/.641 line in 244 plate appearances on June 13. By wRC+ measurement, he was the fifth-best qualified hitter in the game up to that point. However, Ramírez injured his thumb for the first time in a series against the Rockies which took place from June 14-16 (link via Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com). From that point on, he posted a .273/.336/.446 line in 441 trips to the plate. Even the seemingly diminished version of Ramírez was an above average player, but his second half fell far short of the MVP-caliber form he showed at his best.
After Cleveland was eliminated by the Yankees yesterday, Ramírez decided to go under the knife. It is expected that the problem will be corrected in time so as not to interrupt his preparation for the next season. Assuming all goes according to plan, the 30-year-old should head into 2023 as one of the best players in the sport.
Ramírez signed a team-friendly seven-year contract extension with Cleveland in spring training, ensuring he remains with the only organization he has ever known. He owes $119 million over the next six seasons, a boon for the kind of production on both sides of the ball he provides in his prime. He will remain the centerpiece of a young formation of Cleveland which was about average overall this season. The Guardians got solid contributions from a number of young players (i.e. Steven Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez and Andres Gimenez) and will look to build on this year’s surprising division title over the coming seasons.