Stephen Vogt, the new manager of the Cleveland Guardians, is excited about star player Jose Ramirez’s decision to play winter baseball in the Dominican League. After being traded to the Leones del Esído, Ramirez is making waves in the Dominican League for the first time in eight years. Despite concerns from other Major League teams, Vogt sees Ramirez’s decision as a positive development.
“On the one hand, you’re always a bit hesitant to potentially expose your marquee player, as other teams might shy away from this type of arrangement. But Stephen and I talked, and it’s a very good thing that Jose can play in front of his people at home. I know how proud he is to be from Baní and what the Dominican League means to him. I talked to him before he left, and he expressed how excited he was to play in front of that crowd.”
Ramirez’s stats speak for themselves after hitting .282/.356/.475 (.831 OPS) with 36 doubles, 24 home runs, 80 RBIs, 28 stolen bases and a 131 OPS+ in 156 games for the Guardians in 2023. Vogt recognizes his contribution and supports Ramirez’s decision to play winter baseball in the Dominican League.
“Jose has earned that opportunity. If he wants to do that, we trust that he will be ready to do it. He will never do something when he is not ready. So, if someone like him, of his status, wants to go play for his people, who am I to say no? He has earned that right.”
Vogt himself has experience playing winter baseball in Venezuela and Colombia, which he believes prepared him for the major league. He sees Ramirez’s commitment to the Leones del Esído as a testament to his work ethic and dedication to the sport.
“When your best player and your leader behaves like that, you’re going to want to do the same if you’re another player in that clubhouse. You are going to want to do the same things that José is doing on a regular basis. I can’t wait to get to know him more and see him play every day.”
Ramirez’s decision to play winter baseball is not only celebrated by his managers and the Guardians organization, but it is also a testament to his character and passion for the game. His commitment to playing in front of his home crowd is a testament to his dedication and will undoubtedly inspire his teammates in the clubhouse.