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Guardians' trades, prospects pay off with All-Stars Ramírez, Giménez and Clase

Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez fields grounders during a workout at Progressive Field.
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Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez fields grounders during a workout at Progressive Field.

The Cleveland Guardians will have three All-Stars at next week’s game in Los Angeles: Third baseman José Ramírez, second baseman Andrés Giménez and relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase.

Sports commentator Terry Pluto says the selections show the that the front office has an eye for talent.

José Ramírez:

"This is a guy they found on the back diamonds in the Dominican Republic and signed him for $50,000 — Basically, minimum bonus they give any player. He was nobody's hot prospect. And here he is going on his fourth All-Star Game," Pluto said.

Ramírez this year signed a seven-year, $141 million contract extension.

"It's the longest contract in terms of big dollars or anything else in Cleveland baseball history. And then he has one of the best first halves he's ever had. He now is the face of the franchise," Pluto said.

Andrés Giménez:

The shortstop-turned-second baseman came to Cleveland when the team traded Francisco Lindor to the Mets after the 2020 season. He's having a breakout season after struggling in his first year with the Guardians.

"He signed at the age of 16 with the Mets. Unlike Jose Ramírez, who signed for $50,000, Giménez signed for $1.2 million. So in other words, he was targeted already at a young age that he was going to be a really good player. In 2020 he came up to the big leagues at the age of 21 with the Mets for a little while. Didn't do a lot. After that season he comes to the Guardians, but he struggles... all over the place. Giménez goes up and down from the minors to the big leagues last year. No hint that what was coming this year. Now, at the age of 23, he's batting around .300. He's driving in runs. I don't think there's anybody since the baseball season began who wrote [to me], 'Boy, they never should have traded Lindor.' They have Giménez under team control for like five more years. He's going to be a star."

Emmanuel Clase:

"Just as Lindor was an All-Star-caliber player when they traded him, Cleveland traded another all star, Corey Kluber, for Emmanuel Clase. He was a relief pitcher and threw very hard up to 100 miles an hour, but he was like 21 when they traded for him. And if you line up all the relief pitchers in baseball, there are some teams that might take Clase first. They signed him to a long term contract.

Pluto says the team has generally made good trades and has a eye for talent.

"But it is unlike a lot of the other sports, you know, most of the time the NBA stars are guys that were stars forever, you know, in baseball, they come through the minor leagues and they develop later. And they're coming from different corners of the world."

Pluto says he expects the team to continue to play around .500 ball in the second half of the season.

"They have not only the youngest roster in the majors, they have a roster whose average age is younger than the average in Class AAA. But, we're not saying, 'Oh, who's going to leave at the end of the year' or 'They're not going to be able to afford these guys.' They're going young and cheap, but it could work if they're talented. Tampa Bay's done it for years that way now. Oakland, while struggling this year, did it for a long time."

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.