The Chicago White Sox declined the $10 million dollar option on Alexei for the 2016 season. The Cuban shortstop has been with the team since 2008, but could he be an option for the vacant shortstop position on the Padres?
The answer is an obvious yes. At this point any and all shortstops are an upgrade over what the Padres currently have at the position. Clint Barmes was sent packing this week as his option for 2016 was bought out by the team. Obviously they intend to gain an everyday starter, and Barmes was not needed anymore.
Alexei Ramirez has a track record of playing everyday. He has played in 154 games or more for each of last six seasons and 136 or more games in the last eight seasons. He has the reputation of being a gamer and rarely wants a day off. Ramirez and his work ethic are very refreshing and he could be a nice addition for the San Diego Padres.
The White Sox declined a $10 million dollar option for Ramirez, so his value is roughly just below that. A multi year deal in the eight million dollar range might just get a deal done. If the Padres like what they see from him they should act quickly as he will surely be acquired by a team needing shortstop help. The shortstop class consists of Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins right now. Desmond will cost you while Rollins has passed his prime. Cabrera is an interesting option, but his defense is a real question mark.
Ramirez is beginning to make a lot of sense. He will be quite affordable and will not cost the Padres prospects or draft picks. The tall thin right handed hitter handles the bat very well and has surprising pop for his stature. Ramirez hit 21 home runs his rookie season (2008) and stole 30 bases in 2013. He has a nice combination of power and speed to his game. The Padres would gladly love that in the lineup everyday.
In eight Major League seasons Ramirez has 109 homers and 542 RBI’s with 135 stolen bases. He carries a batting line of .273/310/.399 for his 1,226 at bats. The interesting thing about Ramirez is he does not strike out very much, but at the same time fails to walk either. He is up in the box ready to swing, and rarely gets cheated at the plate. Ramirez has never struck out more than 84 times in a season and struck out 68 times last year in 622 plate appearances. In 2012 Ramirez walked only 16 times in 621 at the plate. He has one objective, and taking pitches is not that.
Knowing and understanding the type of hitter Ramirez is can be crucial to his success. He has speed and makes contact so you naturally want him to hit first or second. In reality he doesn’t have the plate discipline to hit in the top of the order. He is better suited to hit sixth or seventh in your lineup.
The thing about Ramirez is he isn’t spectacular. He is steady defensively even though defensive metrics would indicate his range is beginning to be limited. Ramirez is a solid veteran player and his presence on the field can be a calming influence on the younger Padres players.
Padres management will surely “kick the tires” on Ramirez. He could be a relatively inexpensive answer. All of that really depends on which way the team goes to address their shortstop issues. Jedd Gyorko is not the answer long-term at the position, the team knows that. Obviously a trade or signing will be done. It is just a matter of how all the pieces fit together in the Padres Championship puzzle.