The White Sox haven’t closed the door on a return for longtime shortstop Alexei Ramirez, writes Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670thescore.com. Levine’s belief at this time is that most of the remaining budget will be spent on an outfield upgrade, but he opines that Ramirez’s strong second half — .277/.325/.432 following the All-Star break — and questions about Tyler Saladino’s bat would make a two-year deal with Ramirez a wise investment. The Sox could still pay Ramirez less than the $10MM he’d have earned via his previously declined club option, and Ramirez would then serve as a bridge to top prospect Tim Anderson, who could be ready in 2017. Levine writes that Ian Desmond is the only other free agent shortstop that Chicago “may also look into,” but Desmond’s career OBP doesn’t fit the team’s needs, and a long-term deal for him would clash with Anderson’s timeline to the Majors. Additionally, Levine hears that the Padres, too, have interest in adding Ramirez on a short-term deal, suggesting that there will be some competition if the Sox do pursue a reunion.
Here’s more from the AL Central….
- We’ve already heard quite a bit on the White Sox and their outfield options today, and MLB.com’s Scott Merkin suggests that smoke is coming from a legitimate fire. (Twitter links.) He writes that he anticipates that Chicago would pursue an alternative outfield addition if it’s unable to land Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, or Alex Gordon.
- While it’s still unclear whether they’ll make an aggressive move on the open market, the White Sox are rather uniquely well-situated to do so, MLB.com’s Mike Petriello explains. Most importantly, argues Petriello, the team has a high-quality core and other affordable pieces that make near-term competitiveness the optimal strategy. While there are several major areas still in need of improvement, that actually increases the marginal return on a well-targeted signing. And then there’s the fact that Chicago snuck into the top ten in next year’s draft and thus needs only to sacrifice a compensation pick (tied to the qualifying offer rejected by Jeff Samardzija) in order to add a QO-bound free agent. That certainly increases the team’s flexibility to act opportunistically in a position player market that is still loaded with quality options.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently fielded a number of reader inquiries, sharing some insight into the Indians’ signings of Rajai Davis and Mike Napoli as well as the team’s plans at third base and trade scenarios involving starting pitchers. Hoynes believes that Cleveland will utilize a combination of Giovanny Urshela and Jose Ramirez at third base, and, in response to a question about a potential swap of Yasiel Puig for a starting pitcher, says the Indians want more than one piece in return for any deal sending away Danny Salazar or Carlos Carrasco. Hoynes doesn’t specifically mention whether a 1-for-1 deal involving Puig and one of those two prized young starters has been discussed, though he does note that he doesn’t believe Cleveland has ever had any real intention of trading a starting pitcher.
- Reliever Joe Nathan — a long-time member of the Twins who pitched most recently for the Tigers — is hoping he’ll be ready for game action by May or June, he said in an MLB Network appearance today (via Jon Morosi, on Twitter). The 41-year-old had a disappointing run in Detroit, to say the least, but had some outstanding seasons before that and would still make for an interesting bounceback candidate.
Would be great to get Alexei back on a 2 year, 12 mil offer. reasonable for both, no draft pick loss much better offense that Saladino and serviceable defense.
much better offense than* Saladino
There’s no reason to give him two years. Anderson will probably be better than him by July. 1 yr, $6-7M would probably be fine. Then if Anderson is ready midseason you can bring him up and kind of platoon them, or bench Alexei, but if he isn’t ready then you can wait until 2017 for him.
Alexei loses focus too much and is now an average fielder at best because while he makes some great plays, he take mundane plays and makes them difficult. Considering his bat typically leaves him for half the year I’m not so sure the Sox should be throwing millions at this guy, not anymore. With Robin at the helm you also have to question how motivated Alexei is to come play every day.
Everyone on the team loses focus too much. Robin Ventura is an issue.
No one is going to argue that but with bringing in Renteria, at least Hahn has an option if they want to let Ventura go mid-season. I know it’s unlikely but at least the option is there.
Despite what the Cubs did in 2014, Renteria did a good job considering the talent he had.
I think Renteria brings a LOT to this club. At least he reportedly focuses on ensuring the fundamentals are followed which is something Robin is too busy sleeping to do.
I agree with you there. Renteria was a VERY good addition. I hope he doesn’t have to take over midseason, but assuming everything is going poorly (only reason he’d have to take over), I really hope they’re willing to cut ties with Robin.
Nathan would be an intriguing rebound option to close for the Phillies. Throw him into the contest with Mujica, Bailey, Garcia, Hernandez and Cordero and hope one of them either sticks long term (Garcia, Cordero) or becomes a nice trade chip at the deadline (the rest).
I want Gordon
Alexei is 34 and has shown signs of decline. I’d go one year $6,000,000 with a mutual option worth $7,000,000 with a $1,000,000 buyout. I feel like this is better for the White Sox because hypothetically, if Tim Anderson continues his complete domination of the minor leagues, he could be a September call-up. I mean, he killed it in AA- like he made it look silly and he seems likely to start the season in AAA as he has spent over a season in AA. Rather than just waste $6m in 2017 on a bench guy or dead money if they opt to keep Saladino on the bench, just give him the option in case Anderson turns out not to be ready come the beginning of 2017.
The Pads should consider him on a 2 year deal. Otherwise, I might be playing SS for them on Opening Day, and that won’t be a pretty sight!
I really don’t know if I can stand another year of Alexei.
Granted he had a decent second half but we’ve seen this from him before. He shows flash of greatness here and there but he can never sustain any of it. With his below-average defense, I’d rather see the Sox take that money and put it towards one of the OF free agents and stick with Tyler Saladino for the time being. His bat isn’t great but neither is Alexei’s when he’s in one of his 3 month slumps.
I want Cespedes soooo bad
I’ll take him…but Upton seems like the better option for the long haul.
Re-signing Alexei Ramirez would be the prudent move by the White Sox since they are interested in a short term acquisition for the position until their #1 prospect Tim Anderson is deemed ready for prime time. His signing would also not require any draft pick compensation and should come relatively cheap.
Ian Desmond, however, is an intriguing possibility despite the QO attached to him. At 30, he is just one month older than White Sox FA target Yoenis Cespedes,. Desmond is also reportedly considering signing a 1-2 year make good contract following his subpar performance with the Washington Nationals in 2015. Desmond is a former All-Star who provides decent defense, exceptional power, along with good hitting skills and stolen base proficiency for the SS position. Despite his poor 2.0 WAR season last year, Desmond has still managed to average a 3.2 metrics over the last four years years with the Nationals. He has also been very durable since becoming the Nationals full time SS in 2010, averaging 151 games played in 6 seasons, reminiscent of what Alexei Ramirez had done with the White Sox in his 8 year career.
It doesn’t matter who the sox sign until they fire Ventura. He is lost as a manager.