Yankees should inquire about Jose Ramirez if Indians are trading Francisco Lindor

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians slides safely into third base against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning at Progressive Field on September 23, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 3-2. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians slides safely into third base against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning at Progressive Field on September 23, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 3-2. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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Yankees fans are perhaps forgetting about another crucial Indians trade piece.

All the offseason trade buzz is centered around Cleveland Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor, and rightfully so. He’s one of the best young players in the game and fans would love to see him on a contender that’s willing to pay him instead of a stick-in-the-mud Indians team that’s looking to cut costs.

The New York Yankees have been among the rumored destinations for Lindor, but that actually complicates things more than you’d expect for the Bombers. In this case, they’d have to part ways with either DJ LeMahieu or Gleyber Torres, or fully change positions again for Torres in the event LeMahieu is the one that goes. Is this really what the Bombers want to do?

Even if LeMahieu does leave, do they really want to invest heavily in another shortstop (Lindor will probably command a $200 million contract) and not explore Torres as the long-term solution? It’s complicated, but one can assume the front office probably doesn’t want to do that.

And if they don’t, they should ask the Indians about one of their other star players who could help them in a number of ways.

Here’s why Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote about Jose Ramirez in his piece about potential DJ LeMahieu replacements:

"“This is more of a pipe dream. If the Indians completely sell off, the line for Ramirez is going to be long, and others would likely have more to give than the Yankees. Also, unless Gio Urshela were part of the return, Ramirez would have to shift back to second base as a Yankee. He is a switch-hitter with three years at $33 million owed, with both option years triggered. Ramirez has finished in the top three of AL MVP voting in three of the past four years. Shortstop Francisco Lindor is near certain to be traded by Cleveland this offseason, but if the Yankees don’t re-sign LeMahieu, would they give up a host of prospects, plus pay Lindor more than $20 million in 2021?”"

Ramirez signed a five-year contract extension with the Indians ahead of the 2017 season and now has a very favorable team-friendly deal. It’s worth asking! He’s signed through 2023 and will cost a grand total of $11 million per season. If the Yankees want to save money and maintain star-level production, giving up a haul of prospects for Ramirez is the move.

However, we have no clue if the Indians would even entertain this. It’s clear they signed Ramirez to that extension for a reason and jettisoned the high-priced Corey Kluber in favor of moving forward with cheaper rotation options. Then again, losing Lindor really hurts their chances of contending, especially with the Twins being as good as they are and the White Sox only getting better and better.

If the Indians are open to this idea, then the Yankees would have an MVP-caliber player who can log reps at second and third base. Perhaps they bring back LeMahieu and move Gio Urshela in the deal, which would soften the blow for prospects. And if LeMahieu does leave, the Yankees can replace him with Ramirez at second base and keep Torres at short. It seems like a win-win if the team is hopeful Gleyber’s the long-term answer at shortstop.

On top of that, it’s a lot less complicated than a move for Lindor. A trade for Ramirez can be made whether LeMahieu is staying or leaving, and nobody would have to change positions. Just something to think about, because we’re about to see things you’d have never expected to happen as the offseason progresses.