The White Sox have declined their $10MM club option on shortstop Alexei Ramirez, the team announced. Instead, Chicago will pay him a $1MM buyout.
Ramirez represented one of the most difficult option decisions in this year’s market. The 34-year-old veteran has been a solid contributor for years in Chicago, and the organization has needs all over its infield. Now, Chicago figures to be in the market for a shortstop to help bridge the gap to top prospect Tim Anderson.
As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained in his offseason outlook piece on the club, Ramirez may not be worth the $9MM spread between his value and the option price, but he could earn something close to it as a free agent. He’s coming off of a disappointing, .249/.285/.357 season, with declining defensive metrics. But he had been a consistent two-to-four WAR performer for many seasons before (even while generally carrying slightly below-average batting lines).
Teams looking for additions at short can now consider Ramirez alongside the rest of a market that isn’t exactly bursting with sure things. Ian Desmond will no doubt draw the most interest, with Asdrubal Cabrera also a reasonably young option. Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins figure to be the most appealing options among the older players available.