In a new series for Right Down Euclid, readers can submit their questions for anything related to Cleveland sports and we'll answer them to the best of our ability. Last week's mailbag was more Cavalier-centric but, this time around, we get questions from all walks of life in the Cleveland sports sphere. So, with that said, today Right Down Euclid will answer your questions, and hopefully more, on this edition of the weekly mailbag.
Yo, Evan! How do you feel about the Guardians signing Jose Ramirez to his new deal? Thanks! – John G.
Hey, John! Thanks for the question! I made it fairly clear the Cleveland Guardians needed to sign Jose Ramirez to a contract extension in last week's mailbag. But, with how long and drawn out the process was my fear was that he was going to end up traded to a team like the Padres or the Blue Jays before the season began.
Thankfully, that ended up not being the case as ESPN's MLB insider Jeff Passan first reported that the Guardians and Ramirez agreed to a five-year, $124M contract extension. The extension, first and foremost, should help smooth things over with the fans. There were trepidations surrounding the Guardians as the team remained relatively inactive during free agency – missing out on the likes of Matt Olson and Jesse Winker, who would've both bolstered the team's rotation. Granted, it didn't help that opposing players and even A.J. Hinch, manager of the division-rival Detroit Tigers began making subtle digs at Cleveland’s $55 million payroll as well.
But, again, signing Ramirez to a long-term deal should help smooth things over. Granted, one signing doesn't fix everything but, perhaps it's a sign of things to come for the Guardians. It’s the first time in 20-plus years of ownership by the Dolan Family that they invested heavily to retain a homegrown star. It didn’t happen with Manny Ramirez or Jim Thome or CC Sabathia or Francisco Lindor, all of whom moved on to greener pastures under much more lucrative contracts. If Ramirez insisted on money like players across the league ask for, a deal probably wouldn't have been agreed upon.
But, with Ramirez asking for less money and expressing a desire to retire in Cleveland, it was remiss of the Guardians to not jump on the opportunity. Hopefully, it's a sign of things to come, or else Cleveland will get priced out by the 29 other teams in the league. But, for now, this is a win for the Guardians and their fans. They have a homegrown star entering his prime for the foreseeable future.
Do you think the Cavs tried too hard in the first half? And now get a better draft pick along with play in a tournament? Or just injuries? – Bill F., via Facebook
This question is a little hard to fully answer. Since, on one hand, yes I think the Cavaliers burned themselves out with how hard they played leading up to the All-Star break. But, that also goes hand in hand with the injuries as well. The players currently available for Cleveland are looking so fatigued because the Cavaliers have to ask them to do more on the floor due to the lack of overall depth.
It's been a steady decline after the All-Star break because of those two unfortunate factors working in tandem with each other. That's what has Cleveland locked into the play-in tournament at this point and will decide their overall playoff fate. The team has been gunning to make the postseason all year long and to have it end in such an unfortunate way would be just that, unfortunate.
Now, it's not certain that the Cavaliers will lose out in the play-in tournament. But, having to deal with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets and then Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks after that is a tall order. If Cleveland does lose both play-in games, their pick, which they traded to Indiana for Caris LeVert, goes back to them. When that happens, we'll be deep diving on more draft prospects that could make some sense here. But, let's get through next week first.
Well, kind of. Gilbert, who is worth an estimated $20.3 billion according to Forbes, is joining the Ricketts family, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, and hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin in a bid to purchase the Premier League powerhouse.
It's not uncommon for some of the wealthiest men in America like Gilbert, who went from being worth $6.5 billion in 2020 to $51.9 billion in 2021, to make bids like these. But, with Gilbert being one of the wealthiest men in America, along with the financial backing of those he's joining, it would be a huge bolster to his financial portfolio.
It's unsure whether or not Gilbert would have a controlling stake in the club if their bid is successful. After making the four-party shortlist for the Chelsea takeover, due diligence is now being done by the consortiums ahead of the April 11 deadline to submit final bids and proposals for the Club. Tom Ricketts has met many parties involved in his bid for Chelsea, and despite protests prior to Saturday's 4-1 defeat to Brentford, wants to continue to meet fan groups and others to share his vision for the Club should they be successful.
Hey, Evan! Love your stuff and thanks for doing this. Who do you think the Browns should target in the draft? – Myles W.
Hey, Myles! Thanks for reaching out and for the kind words. After acquiring Deshaun Watson, the Browns don't need to worry about upgrading the quarterback position through this year's draft – especially after giving up this year's first to get Watson from the Texans.
For now, the first time Cleveland will pick will be at no. 44 midway into the second round. That's not a bad place to be for the Browns, who have a glaring need at wide receiver. With North Dakota State's Christian Watson or Georgia's George Pickens available, both would be ideal targets for Cleveland. Watson has been one of the most explosive receivers at the FCS level and could be an elite high upside option. Pickens, meanwhile, is a lanky perimeter wideout with exciting ball skills that reminds you of A.J. Green at times.
Defensive end could always be an option for the Browns as well, and, thankfully has plenty of options as well at 44. Some names to keep an eye on include USC's Drake Jackson, Michigan's David Ojabo and Texas A&M's DeMarvin Leal. All provide different options for Cleveland and could be staples alongside Myles Garrett for years to come, especially if they don't bring back Jadeveon Clowney in free agency.
Technically, this wasn't a mailbag question but it was the first before the Right Down Euclid inbox was hit with a few questions about the Cavaliers and former guard RJ Nembhard. Yesterday, the team announced they were waiving Nembhard after signing him to a guaranteed deal a week before. There was some speculation that the decision came to be, in part, because Nembhard was talking trash from the sideline to the Orlando Magic. The Magic seemed to be a little motivated by Nembhard's quipping and it might have played a factor in the Cavaliers suffering their worst loss of the season to the tune of 120-115.
After sleuthing around a bit, that doesn't appear to be the reason why Nembhard was waived by Cleveland. It was to simply give the team some roster flexibility heading into next week's play-in tournament. With Jarrett Allen still sidelined, the Cavaliers could sign two-way big man Moses Brown to a deal so that he's postseason eligible. If Cleveland doesn't sign Brown, names like Cody Zeller are worth watching, per sources.
The Cavaliers could also sign Brandon Goodwin to a guaranteed deal as well to provide more depth at the guard position. It all really depends on whether or not Allen will be available next week for the play-in tournament. That will likely decide what Cleveland does with their newly-acquired roster spot.
If you missed any of this week's stories, be sure to subscribe to Right Down Euclid so you know right away when they publish! It's always free and just requires your Facebook account or email address. Premium subscribers get certain, exclusive benefits and perks as well!