AP Source: Indians, Ramirez agree to contract extension
CLEVELAND (AP) Jose Ramirez's breakout season was enough to convince the Cleveland Indians he's worth a long-term investment.
The versatile Ramirez, who helped the Indians get to their first World Series since 1997 last year, has agreed to a contract extension with the club. Ramirez will sign the contract after taking a physical, said a person with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal can't be finalized until the medical examinations are completed. It could be several more days before the extension is announced.
Terms were not yet available.
Ramirez was instrumental in the Indians winning the AL Central title and first pennant in nearly 20 years. The 24-year-old batted .312 with 11 homers and 76 RBIs, and he was at his best in the clutch, batting .355 with runners in scoring position.
He played third base (91 starts), left field (47), second (3) and shortstop (3) and batted in every spot in manager Terry Francona's lineup. Most importantly, Ramirez picked up the offensive slack when former All-Star Michael Brantley was sidelined for all but 11 games with a shoulder injury.
The Indians view Ramirez as one of their core players and have been in discussions with his agents during training camp as they wanted to lock him into a long-term deal despite him being under their financial control for several more years.
Cleveland is also interested in signing All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and catcher Robert Perez to extensions.
Ramirez finished second in the AL with 46 doubles and had 22 steals.
With second baseman Jason Kipnis expected to start this season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, Ramirez could shift to the right side of the infield to start the year. It's that flexibility that has made Ramirez invaluable to Francona.