The Guardians' rebranding could have been a disaster if no one was paying attention.
A major team name change in a long-standing market, hawked by Tom Hanks trying to save its street cred, in a year where the team itself might not be too competitive, and might be at the risk of losing its star player. I think of so many other rebranding years, like the Brewers' first year in the NL, the Astros' first year in the AL, the Nats' first year in Washington, the Marlins' first year after the 'Miami' rebrand, and it's a bunch of disasters with players leaving, bad decisions and meh play overall.
So...to set themselves apart from the pack, the Guardians re-signed Jose Ramirez, and in response he got off to another incredible start.
Jose Ramirez has already been one of the best players in the game since 2016. He's been a steady rock at 3rd base, a contact superstar, and a power bat, AND he's beloved in that clubhouse. The kind of formational player most teams dream of, like Joey Votto or Miguel Cabrera. Ramirez is only 29 and I see him going into that category.
Right now, Ramirez is leading the league in RBIs and in total bases, he has 7 home runs, 27 hits and is hitting .360. And he already has a 1.5 WAR. I don't know about you, but I think somebody might be a little cross about just barely missing an MVP the last few years.
It's the worst luck in the world. I thought he had it in 2020, but Jose Abreu came through. I thought he had a shot last year but Vlad and Ohtani brought him down to sixth. And through it all, Ramirez has accumulated 33.0 total WAR since his breakout year in 2016, which is more than a lot of people can accumulate in an entire career. That is him in six and 1/6th seasons. In his absolute prime. And I think that's pretty damn good.
I'm beginning to think that this season might be the 2020 season in terms of MVPs, but for third baseman. Cause, brawl notwithstanding, Nolan Arenado's playing incredible baseball right now, and Ramirez is playing miles above pretty much everybody. And these are two guys who might be Hall of Famers and deserve an MVP, and if it's not this year I don't know when it'll be. I know it's early, I know we're only a month in, but it'd be great if that happened.
There's not really a lot to report about the rest of the Guardians, though that rotation, Civale notwithstanding, is a pretty nice start. I think this team is a bit more humble after being swept by some great teams, but I don't think they're out of it yet, especially as the White Sox are still falling. They can still be a decent spoiler in this division, and Ramirez can certainly help that.
Coming Tomorrow- A man named Greene on a team named Red.