How the Indians can temporarily replace José Ramírez – Lets Go Tribe

José Ramírez is irreplaceable — let’s get that out of the way up front. You may be able to find someone else to hit a baseball, but no one is going to be José Ramírez.

No one’s helmet is going to fly off as they round the bases as much as him, no one will cheer for his teammates as loud as he does, and no one — I mean no one — will have as much swagger as him. But with last night’s news that he was removed from the game due to a nagging thumb injury finally getting the better of him, maybe it’s time to let him sit for a few days and be fully healed down the stretch.

The results have still been there for Ramírez this year … mostly. He’s slashing .248/.350/.478 for a wRC+ of 120 and he is walking more like he did in his 8.0 fWAR 2018 season. But when you dig a little deeper, you can see where the thumb might be impacting his bat — he’s just not hitting the ball as hard as he he usually does. His average exit velocity is the lowest it has been since his rookie campaign at 87.8 mph and he’s barreling the ball just 5.7% of the time, his lowest rate since 2017.

Even if there is nothing physical stopping him from performing, the mental strain of his thumb constantly bothering him may be affecting him. As his own manager, Sandy Alomar, put it:

It’s just a nagging thing that’s (happening) over and over. I think it’s kind of wearing him out mentally in my opinion. Today, he felt it again and we made the decision to pull him out of the game just to give him a chance to recuperate.

Ramírez is expected to miss at least today’s game against the Royals, but what if he has to miss more? On a team that can’t seem to buy a hit on most days, losing their No. 2 hitter — in batting order and in efficiency — is worrisome. Luckily, they have options. Roughly ten of them to be exact. So let’s run them down.

1. Nolan Jones

This is the most obvious move to make for a team dedicated to winning a World Series in 2020. We haven’t seen Nolan Jones play since he torched Double-A last season, but the Indians certainly have at the alternate site in Eastlake. Unless something terrible has happened, there is virtually no reason not to give him a shot in a position where 1) he’s probably your best-hitting option and 2) you have a viable reason to send him down quickly if he struggles and José comes back healthy.

2. Nolan Jones

Jones is currently the Indians’ No. 1 prospect no matter where you look, and FanGraphs gives him a 70 rating for raw power and high marks in scouting reports for his eye at the plate. He walked in a fifth of his at-bats in High-A in 2018 and ‘19, and that only dipped to 14.7% in Double-A last year.

3. Nolan Jones

MLB Pipeline estimated that his time of arrival would be 2020 (check your calendars, that’s now). They, too, praised his patience, work ethic, and willingness to work deep into counts. If it turns out he can’t hit well yet, he’ll at least be a serviceable stop-gap who can soak up some pitches. Unlike, say, Mike Freeman.

4. Nolan Jones

You want to talk about clubhouse chemistry? The Indians have great comradery on the team and in the dugout, and Jones sat on a parking garage across the street to watch his buddy Triston McKenzie pitch in his debut. He’ll fit right in.

5. Nolan Jones

Nolan Jones may or may not be fully polished at the hot corner. There are thoughts that his future may be as an outfielder or even a designated hitter. But if his bat plays — does it matter? The only team to allow fewer runs than the Indians this season is the Cardinals and they have played in eight fewer games. Point being, they can afford to sacrifice some defense for an offensive injection. It is exactly what they have needed for months, if not years at this point. If Jones can lengthen the lineup to any degree and get some bonus real-time reps in at the same time — do it. Just, do it. Come on, Indians. Do it.

6. N̸̡̛̊̌̏͛̑͑̉̌̄͂̋o̶͇̦̳̟̣̩͕͛̀̾̄͐̓̑l̸̛͔̺̪̯͖̼̟̩͓̤̙̫̙̠͈̆͌̆̇̎͐͝a̷̧̗͖̜̳͍͚̰̭̘͛̽̽ñ̷̘̭͑ ̴͖̗̼̝̙͎̘̣̬̠̝̠̪̠̺͒̅͊̀͌̿̂̊̑̈́̓̏̎͘J̵̥̯̫̼͍̅́̐̚̚ͅo̶̡͉͕͍̖̫̰͖͐̉̈̍̃͛͠͝n̸̟͙̒͊͊͛͒̑͛͆ę̸̛̤̪̥̻̲̮͓̘̊̎̈́̌͋̆̽̈́̄̐̀͠ṣ̷̨͔̪̩̋͜

p̵̨̧̢̮̹̟͈̳͍̥̲͎̀̍̒͆͛̕͜ḩ̷̢̭̰̝̀̅ͅ’̴̛̻͚̰͚̭͚͈͎̳͌̉̉͒͂͝n̵͍̗̺͓̝̫̹̬̳̱̗̱̱̈́́̓͒̋̈́̀̇́͗͗̊͗̑̕g̴̡̢̰̙͕̳̳͔̊͜ĺ̵̡̧̻̳̒̎̒́ų̴̬̗̱̞̺͕͖̯͑̚ͅͅi̷̡̗̠̟̟̝̺̳̥̞͊ ̵̧̡̪̣̲̞̹̺̜̞͎̬̃̐͐́͗͐̑̕͜͝͝m̷͈̻̻͚̤̭͓̐͐̊͛̇̉̈́͠͠g̵̠͎̣͕̳͙̿̈͐͆̑̒̋̋ļ̷̛͇̬̫̰͙̹̼̫̀͋̈́͒̈́̚ͅw̶̨̖̫̯͙̰̰̙̖̻͔̪͛̋̓́̾͋͑̈͆́͝’̷̞͈̘̤̦̫̘̗͚̺̽͒͐̉̚̕͜n̶̻̺̾͂̓͊̇̈́̈́̋̈́̇̍͘͠ą̵̝̻̝̖͇̘̭̪͈̓͊̄̂̂͗͒̈́̕f̷̲͖̭͚͚̗̪̜͍͔̈́̏̓͂̄ͅh̴̢̢͓̳͇̭̪̳͇͖͕̹͚̋̑͝ ̶̨̗͒̀̎̎C̴͓̱̣̤̻̆̍̀̾̽̈̚͜ț̵̢̯͙̰̖̼̟͓̙̻̟̌̐̐̔̂̈́̎͘ͅḧ̴̬̮̈̔͋͒̽͗̕͝u̸͓̞̗̦͍̬͇̫͈͈̳̽̄̀̀̋̌͘͝l̸̼̚h̶̙̪̣̙͑̿͂ͅͅų̵̙̉́̏̐͂̍̈́̃͂̄̅̕͜ ̵̢̘̳̦͇̣͚̙̮͉̈̀̐͝R̷̢̩͙̜͐͛̄̉͒̔̾̒͗’̸͉̈́͋̊̂͐̃͌͆̊͋̒͋̐̚͘l̶̢͍͙̀̅͒̀̆͝y̷̜͔̠̤͈̘̤͙̣͙͓͈̞̓̽̂̍̒̔̈̃̒͂͆̚̚̕͜͝ȩ̵̛̥̘̜͉̱̦̗͇͈̪̣̯͈̟̀̅́̏̈́̿̑͋̀̐͆͛͗͘ẖ̴͕͖͔̯̹͕̮̎͊̔́̍̓̍́͒͋̽̒͑̈͠ ̶̼̼̳̪̹̞̀́̈́͆̋̃̒͆̾͝w̸̲͙̮̟͔̓̈̓͂̀g̴̪̒́́͛̏͂̉͂͐̎̓͘̕͠a̴̞̘͉̼̭̻̭̻̲̼͋̈͗̚ḥ̶̪̥͕̼̬̾̏̐́́̕’̷̢̱͇̱̥̯̣̦͉̻͔̯̤̬͒͌̐̃̌͝ͅņ̵̬̝͍͖͛a̴̧͉͓͙̘̥̘̭̭̟͓͕͓̽̈͆̐̏̆͛͒͑͆̅͝ģ̵̡̯̪̰͙̑͂́̐̍͋̀̔̕̚͝l̸̠̙̠̣̯͓̙̬̞͂̋̈́̒̅͋̓̎ͅ ̶̢͙͇̻̭̼̫̲͓̈f̴̝̼̣͓̺̩̜̗́̿̇͝͠ͅh̸̬̆̇̆̂̈́̿̉͜͝ẗ̸̡̠̖̜͕͎̮̓͠ą̷̥̠̗͓̮̯̗͉͕̀͜g̴͙͒̉̂̂n̵̜̖͇͕̩̝͔̎̒͐͠p̵̨̧̢̮̹̟͈̳͍̥̲͎̀̍̒͆͛̕͜ḩ̷̢̭̰̝̀̅ͅ’̴̛̻͚̰͚̭͚͈͎̳͌̉̉͒͂͝n̵͍̗̺͓̝̫̹̬̳̱̗̱̱̈́́̓͒̋̈́̀̇́͗͗̊͗̑̕g̴̡̢̰̙͕̳̳͔̊͜ĺ̵̡̧̻̳̒̎̒́ų̴̬̗̱̞̺͕͖̯͑̚ͅͅi̷̡̗̠̟̟̝̺̳̥̞͊ ̵̧̡̪̣̲̞̹̺̜̞͎̬̃̐͐́͗͐̑̕͜͝͝m̷͈̻̻͚̤̭͓̐͐̊͛̇̉̈́͠͠g̵̠͎̣͕̳͙̿̈͐͆̑̒̋̋ļ̷̛͇̬̫̰͙̹̼̫̀͋̈́͒̈́̚ͅw̶̨̖̫̯͙̰̰̙̖̻͔̪͛̋̓́̾͋͑̈͆́͝’̷̞͈̘̤̦̫̘̗͚̺̽͒͐̉̚̕͜n̶̻̺̾͂̓͊̇̈́̈́̋̈́̇̍͘͠ą̵̝̻̝̖͇̘̭̪͈̓͊̄̂̂͗͒̈́̕f̷̲͖̭͚͚̗̪̜͍͔̈́̏̓͂̄ͅh̴̢̢͓̳͇̭̪̳͇͖͕̹͚̋̑͝ ̶̨̗͒̀̎̎C̴͓̱̣̤̻̆̍̀̾̽̈̚͜ț̵̢̯͙̰̖̼̟͓̙̻̟̌̐̐̔̂̈́̎͘ͅḧ̴̬̮̈̔͋͒̽͗̕͝u̸͓̞̗̦͍̬͇̫͈͈̳̽̄̀̀̋̌͘͝l̸̼̚h̶̙̪̣̙͑̿͂ͅͅų̵̙̉́̏̐͂̍̈́̃͂̄̅̕͜ ̵̢̘̳̦͇̣͚̙̮͉̈̀̐͝R̷̢̩͙̜͐͛̄̉͒̔̾̒͗’̸͉̈́͋̊̂͐̃͌͆̊͋̒͋̐̚͘l̶̢͍͙̀̅͒̀̆͝y̷̜͔̠̤͈̘̤͙̣͙͓͈̞̓̽̂̍̒̔̈̃̒͂͆̚̚̕͜͝ȩ̵̛̥̘̜͉̱̦̗͇͈̪̣̯͈̟̀̅́̏̈́̿̑͋̀̐͆͛͗͘ẖ̴͕͖͔̯̹͕̮̎͊̔́̍̓̍́͒͋̽̒͑̈͠ ̶̼̼̳̪̹̞̀́̈́͆̋̃̒͆̾͝w̸̲͙̮̟͔̓̈̓͂̀g̴̪̒́́͛̏͂̉͂͐̎̓͘̕͠a̴̞̘͉̼̭̻̭̻̲̼͋̈͗̚ḥ̶̪̥͕̼̬̾̏̐́́̕’̷̢̱͇̱̥̯̣̦͉̻͔̯̤̬͒͌̐̃̌͝ͅņ̵̬̝͍͖͛a̴̧͉͓͙̘̥̘̭̭̟͓͕͓̽̈͆̐̏̆͛͒͑͆̅͝ģ̵̡̯̪̰͙̑͂́̐̍͋̀̔̕̚͝l̸̠̙̠̣̯͓̙̬̞͂̋̈́̒̅͋̓̎ͅ ̶̢͙͇̻̭̼̫̲͓̈f̴̝̼̣͓̺̩̜̗́̿̇͝͠ͅh̸̬̆̇̆̂̈́̿̉͜͝ẗ̸̡̠̖̜͕͎̮̓͠ą̷̥̠̗͓̮̯̗͉͕̀͜g̴͙͒̉̂̂n̵̜̖͇͕̩̝͔̎̒͐͠p̵̨̧̢̮̹̟͈̳͍̥̲͎̀̍̒͆͛̕͜ḩ̷̢̭̰̝̀̅ͅ’̴̛̻͚̰͚̭͚͈͎̳͌̉̉͒͂͝n̵͍̗̺͓̝̫̹̬̳̱̗̱̱̈́́̓͒̋̈́̀̇́͗͗̊͗̑̕g̴̡̢̰̙͕̳̳͔̊͜ĺ̵̡̧̻̳̒̎̒́ų̴̬̗̱̞̺͕͖̯͑̚ͅͅi̷̡̗̠̟̟̝̺̳̥̞͊ ̵̧̡̪̣̲̞̹̺̜̞͎̬̃̐͐́͗͐̑̕͜͝͝m̷͈̻̻͚̤̭͓̐͐̊͛̇̉̈́͠͠g̵̠͎̣͕̳͙̿̈͐͆̑̒̋̋ļ̷̛͇̬̫̰͙̹̼̫̀͋̈́͒̈́̚ͅw̶̨̖̫̯͙̰̰̙̖̻͔̪͛̋̓́̾͋͑̈͆́͝’̷̞͈̘̤̦̫̘̗͚̺̽͒͐̉̚̕͜n̶̻̺̾͂̓͊̇̈́̈́̋̈́̇̍͘͠ą̵̝̻̝̖͇̘̭̪͈̓͊̄̂̂͗͒̈́̕f̷̲͖̭͚͚̗̪̜͍͔̈́̏̓͂̄ͅh̴̢̢͓̳͇̭̪̳͇͖͕̹͚̋̑͝ ̶̨̗͒̀̎̎C̴͓̱̣̤̻̆̍̀̾̽̈̚͜ț̵̢̯͙̰̖̼̟͓̙̻̟̌̐̐̔̂̈́̎͘ͅḧ̴̬̮̈̔͋͒̽͗̕͝u̸͓̞̗̦͍̬͇̫͈͈̳̽̄̀̀̋̌͘͝l̸̼̚h̶̙̪̣̙͑̿͂ͅͅų̵̙̉́̏̐͂̍̈́̃͂̄̅̕͜ ̵̢̘̳̦͇̣͚̙̮͉̈̀̐͝R̷̢̩͙̜͐͛̄̉͒̔̾̒͗’̸͉̈́͋̊̂͐̃͌͆̊͋̒͋̐̚͘l̶̢͍͙̀̅͒̀̆͝y̷̜͔̠̤͈̘̤͙̣͙͓͈̞̓̽̂̍̒̔̈̃̒͂͆̚̚̕͜͝ȩ̵̛̥̘̜͉̱̦̗͇͈̪̣̯͈̟̀̅́̏̈́̿̑͋̀̐͆͛͗͘ẖ̴͕͖͔̯̹͕̮̎͊̔́̍̓̍́͒͋̽̒͑̈͠ ̶̼̼̳̪̹̞̀́̈́͆̋̃̒͆̾͝w̸̲͙̮̟͔̓̈̓͂̀g̴̪̒́́͛̏͂̉͂͐̎̓͘̕͠a̴̞̘͉̼̭̻̭̻̲̼͋̈͗̚ḥ̶̪̥͕̼̬̾̏̐́́̕’̷̢̱͇̱̥̯̣̦͉̻͔̯̤̬͒͌̐̃̌͝ͅņ̵̬̝͍͖͛a̴̧͉͓͙̘̥̘̭̭̟͓͕͓̽̈͆̐̏̆͛͒͑͆̅͝ģ̵̡̯̪̰͙̑͂́̐̍͋̀̔̕̚͝l̸̠̙̠̣̯͓̙̬̞͂̋̈́̒̅͋̓̎ͅ ̶̢͙͇̻̭̼̫̲͓̈f̴̝̼̣͓̺̩̜̗́̿̇͝͠ͅh̸̬̆̇̆̂̈́̿̉͜͝ẗ̸̡̠̖̜͕͎̮̓͠ą̷̥̠̗͓̮̯̗͉͕̀͜g̴͙͒̉̂̂n̵̜̖͇͕̩̝͔̎̒͐͠p̵̨̧̢̮̹̟͈̳͍̥̲͎̀̍̒͆͛̕͜ḩ̷̢̭̰̝̀̅ͅ’̴̛̻͚̰͚̭͚͈͎̳͌̉̉͒͂͝n̵͍̗̺͓̝̫̹̬̳̱̗̱̱̈́́̓͒̋̈́̀̇́͗͗̊͗̑̕g̴̡̢̰̙͕̳̳͔̊͜ĺ̵̡̧̻̳̒̎̒́ų̴̬̗̱̞̺͕͖̯͑̚ͅͅi̷̡̗̠̟̟̝̺̳̥̞͊ ̵̧̡̪̣̲̞̹̺̜̞͎̬̃̐͐́͗͐̑̕͜͝͝m̷͈̻̻͚̤̭͓̐͐̊͛̇̉̈́͠͠g̵̠͎̣͕̳͙̿̈͐͆̑̒̋̋ļ̷̛͇̬̫̰͙̹̼̫̀͋̈́͒̈́̚ͅw̶̨̖̫̯͙̰̰̙̖̻͔̪͛̋̓́̾͋͑̈͆́͝’̷̞͈̘̤̦̫̘̗͚̺̽͒͐̉̚̕͜n̶̻̺̾͂̓͊̇̈́̈́̋̈́̇̍͘͠ą̵̝̻̝̖͇̘̭̪͈̓͊̄̂̂͗͒̈́̕f̷̲͖̭͚͚̗̪̜͍͔̈́̏̓͂̄ͅh̴̢̢͓̳͇̭̪̳͇͖͕̹͚̋̑͝ ̶̨̗͒̀̎̎C̴͓̱̣̤̻̆̍̀̾̽̈̚͜ț̵̢̯͙̰̖̼̟͓̙̻̟̌̐̐̔̂̈́̎͘ͅḧ̴̬̮̈̔͋͒̽͗̕͝u̸͓̞̗̦͍̬͇̫͈͈̳̽̄̀̀̋̌͘͝l̸̼̚h̶̙̪̣̙͑̿͂ͅͅų̵̙̉́̏̐͂̍̈́̃͂̄̅̕͜ ̵̢̘̳̦͇̣͚̙̮͉̈̀̐͝R̷̢̩͙̜͐͛̄̉͒̔̾̒͗’̸͉̈́͋̊̂͐̃͌͆̊͋̒͋̐̚͘l̶̢͍͙̀̅͒̀̆͝y̷̜͔̠̤͈̘̤͙̣͙͓͈̞̓̽̂̍̒̔̈̃̒͂͆̚̚̕͜͝ȩ̵̛̥̘̜͉̱̦̗͇͈̪̣̯͈̟̀̅́̏̈́̿̑͋̀̐͆͛͗͘ẖ̴͕͖͔̯̹͕̮̎͊̔́̍̓̍́͒͋̽̒͑̈͠ ̶̼̼̳̪̹̞̀́̈́͆̋̃̒͆̾͝w̸̲͙̮̟͔̓̈̓͂̀g̴̪̒́́͛̏͂̉͂͐̎̓͘̕͠a̴̞̘͉̼̭̻̭̻̲̼͋̈͗̚ḥ̶̪̥͕̼̬̾̏̐́́̕’̷̢̱͇̱̥̯̣̦͉̻͔̯̤̬͒͌̐̃̌͝ͅņ̵̬̝͍͖͛a̴̧͉͓͙̘̥̘̭̭̟͓͕͓̽̈͆̐̏̆͛͒͑͆̅͝ģ̵̡̯̪̰͙̑͂́̐̍͋̀̔̕̚͝l̸̠̙̠̣̯͓̙̬̞͂̋̈́̒̅͋̓̎ͅ ̶̢͙͇̻̭̼̫̲͓̈f̴̝̼̣͓̺̩̜̗́̿̇͝͠ͅh̸̬̆̇̆̂̈́̿̉͜͝ẗ̸̡̠̖̜͕͎̮̓͠ą̷̥̠̗͓̮̯̗͉͕̀͜g̴͙͒̉̂̂n̵̜̖͇͕̩̝͔̎̒͐͠͝͝͝͝ͅͅͅͅ

7. Nolan Jones

In an interview with Let’s Go Tribe last year, Nolan Jones talked about his rough and tumble hockey background and how he worked to overcome a power slump to start the year.

8. Nolan Jones

There is a chance that Jones just hasn’t progressed in the alternate site as much as the Indians would have liked. Which would make keeping him there completely fair. But nothing we have seen or heard suggested that he would slump terribly, to the point that he doesn’t deserve even this minuscule, risk-free shot on a team that struggles offensively. If he is ready and just sitting there because the Indians don’t want a rookie playing when they have an older player who can’t hit already on the roster, that shoots right past the gross tactics of service time manipulation into the land of negligence and incompetence.

9. Yu Chang

Yu Chang showed he knew how to draw a walk and even hit a homer in 2019 rookie campaign, but overall it was quite the disappointment. He still has promise, though, and in a very limited run of 11 PA this season he drew a couple walks and hit a pair of singles. He’s not the ideal candidate to play third base extensively, but there are worse options. Mike Freeman, for example.

He’s technically not available until Sept. 10 due to being optioned at the end of August, but the Indians could turn to someone else in the mean time. Maybe my 10th and final selection here:

10. Nolan Jones

Quit screwing around and do it already.