There has been a lot of talk about how the Astros are going to replace Carlos Correa at shortstop if he does choose to leave via free agency. They’ll most likely give either Jeremy Pena or Pedro Leon a shot to hold down the position to start the season.
But if both of them fail to produce offensively to a sufficient level, the Astros should pray the Guardians are out of it so they can trade for Jose Ramirez.
Sliding Ramirez in at third base and moving Alex Bregman to shortstop would be a nice way to add a big bat should Pena or Leon falter. And Ramirez is an entirely attainable target. While the Guardians finished in second place in a weak American League Central last year, their trajectory seems to be trending downward.
They already lost Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco and are known for operating on a smaller budget. Jose Ramirez only has one year left on his contract, a player option for $14 million that he almost assuredly will turn down to test free agency as he turns 30.
The Guardians finished in second place in their division last year but under .500 at 80-82. While the division is weak, the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals showed tremendous improvement last year in the second half.
While the Guardians went 35-40 in the second half of 2021, the Tigers went 37-34 and the Royals went 38-35. The Tigers and Royals have talented prospects on the way up while Cleveland has been declining since their 2016 World Series appearance.
Ramirez is a bona fide 30 homer 100 RBI threat and while he would be a defensive downgrade, it should be noted last season was far and away his best year defensively at third base with 10 Runs Saved Above Average. That’s double his previous high of five Runs Saved Above Average he had in 2016.
Considering he would be a one year rental, the Astros shouldn’t have to give up too much of their farm that includes no Pedro Leon nor Korey Lee, but may have to part with high-risk, high-reward prospects like Forrest Whitley to get him.