The Chicago White Sox will be moving on from veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who has been the team’s starter since 2009. They declined his one-year, $10 million option for 2016 on Wednesday, meaning the team seems to be heading in a different direction at shortstop.
While it is still possible for the White Sox to bring back Ramirez at a much lower price, they may be looking to fill this position from within. Considering that they can get similar production from Tyler Saladino for a lot less, it might make sense. The team might be better off using its financial resources elsewhere, such as third base or catcher. Keep in mind Ramirez will turn 35 in September of 2016, so age should be a factor when making this decision as well.
It is also possible for the White Sox to go the free agent or trade route when finding their 2016 starting shortstop, although it probably isn’t the best plan of action. The free agent market for shortstops isn’t very deep, not to mention trading valuable assets for a shortstop is not a good idea (considering other needs).
The reason I think the White Sox should not trade valuable assets for a shortstop, is due to the fact that they have a potential replacement at the position in Saladino.
At third, catcher, and potentially the rotation, there are greater needs not to mention they have no in-house replacements (starting pitcher possibly). Would I like the White Sox to have a franchise caliber shortstop? Of course I would, however there are more pressing needs.
Here is another point I want to make, and that is the fact that Ramirez struggled for a lot of 2015. Therefore having Saladino as the 2016 starter shouldn’t be a drop off from the 2015 version of Ramirez. Saladino, while he doesn’t have Ramirez talent (from years ago), is probably just as valuable in 2016. Not to mention the amount of money the team could save by paying Saladino the league minimum is critical as well.
Would I bet the house on Tyler Saladino as the Opening Day shortstop in 2016? No, but I would love to see it. While Ramirez still has ability, he is extremely flawed and those flaws will become more and more exposed as he ages.
Now that he doesn’t have the power and defensive ability he once had, Ramirez is not worth paying any more than a few million per year. Saladino is much more fundamentally sound, which is key to winning close ballgames.
Saladino can hold his own in the field, and can move around the infield as well. Offensively, neither are going to be stars in 2016, therefore Saladino is the better choice. Coupled with Ramirez’s age, Saladino’s age and cost, Saladino is the better option. Rick Hahn wants to build a team that is more speed oriented, therefore Saladino over Ramirez would be a wise decision.