There are a lot of question marks as the Guardians sort through how to construct their roster this offseason. One of those questions is what the Guardians will do with their designated hitter spot in the lineup.
One option may not be bringing in an outside bat via trade or free agency. It could be using Jose Ramirez as one of the team's designated hitters.
Jose isn't a stranger to being the team's DH. He appeared in 30 games as Cleveland's designated hitter in 2022. In 135 plate appearances, he slashed .245/.348/.381 with a .730 OPS. He also had two home runs and 16 RBI.
I think that it's a real possibility that fans could see more of J-Ram as the team's designated hitter in 2023 for a couple of reasons.
The first one is that Jose will be coming off an offseason in which he had thumb surgery to repair a ligament. The original report was that it will not affect his availability for Spring Training, but who's to say it still won't be bothering him?
In a scenario where the thumb continues to bother Jose into the season, having him solely focus on hitting would be a good option. Plus, as good of a defender as Jose is, hitting is what he does best.
Ramirez is also 30 years old, he's not getting any younger and is arguably in the prime of his career. Perhaps the Guardians could extend that prime on the offensive side a little more by taking away some of his defensive duties.
The Guardians also have a jam of infield prospects that need to get time at the Big League level to prove what they have. With Ramirez as the designated hitter, this opens a spot in the infield that would allow Tyler Freeman or Gabriel Arias to get those at-bats and time in the field.
(I'm taking the roster as it is right now, so I'm assuming Amed Rosario will be there at shortstop on Opening Day.)
The nice thing about this Cleveland roster is that there are a lot of directions and lineups that Terry Francona could come up with. Using Ramirez as the DH is just one possibility and it could be a positive for himself and a great fit for the team.
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