A breakout season paid dividends for Jose Ramirez on Tuesday morning.
The Cleveland Indians and Ramirez officially agreed to a five-year extension worth $26-million guaranteed with club options for the 2022 ($11-million) and 2023 ($13-million) seasons. In total, the contract has a maximum value of $50-million.
"It means a lot that they believed in me and that they kept their faith in me, and I just really appreciate it and I thank them for that," said Ramirez through the team's translator Anna Bolton. "I'm going to continue to work hard and I'm going to believe in myself and I'm going to continue to do things that I've always done."
Standing at 5-feet-9-inches in height, Ramirez has never had a shortage of confidence at the plate, in the field or on the base paths. In fact, his helmet flew off his head 62 different times over the course of the 2016 season, according to Cleveland.com's Zack Meisel. The switch-hitting 24-year-old finished with 46 doubles, 11 home runs, 76 RBIs, 44 walks, 22 stolen bases and a .312 batting average, all of which were career-highs.
"What you saw last year - that was just me doing me," Ramirez said. "When they moved me down a couple years ago, I didn't worry about it because I continued to play for myself and I continued to do what I needed to do."
Ramirez has played left field, third base, second base and shortstop throughout his four-year MLB tenure. With Jason Kipnis (right shoulder inflammation) likely beginning the season on the 10-day disabled list, Ramirez's flexibility could come into play as early as April.
"It's all the same to me," said Ramirez in regards to what it is like playing multiple positions. "I just worry about getting out there and playing and doing my best no matter what I'm doing."
To go along with his defensive versatility, the Dominican Republic native has also proved on countless occasions that he can hit in the clutch as evidenced by his .355 batting average with runners in scoring position.
If Ramirez can replicate his success from last year, then Paul Dolan's $26-million will go a long way in reaching new heights.
"I want to thank the Cleveland Indians for believing in me since I was 17-years-old," Ramirez posted in a tweet on Tuesday. "I'm very grateful for the opportunities given to me by the front office, Tito, the owners and the fans. This deal was a no brainer to me..."
"Cleveland is my home and I'm happy to be here."
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.