The Padres are unlikely to pick up their end of shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s $4MM mutual option for 2017, reports AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Letting Ramirez go would cost the Padres $1MM in the form of a buyout, but his poor output in 2016 won’t leave the club with much choice during the offseason.
Regarding his future, Ramirez said, “I just want to finish this season well, but that’s something that’s out of my hands. It’s not in my control what happens there, so I just prepare myself, finish the season strong.”
With the Padres shifting toward a youth movement at short, where they’ve played Jose Rondon and Luis Sardinas lately, the soon-to-be 35-year-old Ramirez has begun adjusting to right field as a way to stay in the lineup against left-handed pitchers. Ramirez has hit a useful .298/.350/.404 in 123 plate appearances versus lefties this year, but his overall line of .240/.275/.331 through 440 PAs makes him a poor fit as an everyday player. Ramirez hasn’t been any better in the field, where he ranks last among shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved (minus-17) and Ultimate Zone Rating (minus-14.4)
This is the second subpar season in a row for Ramirez, whose eight-year tenure with the White Sox ended in forgettable fashion in 2015. At his best, Ramirez batted a combined .275/.313/.395 with 78 home runs in 3,868 trips to the plate from 2009-14, also playing no fewer than 148 games in each season, adding 105 steals and totaling 18.5 fWAR.
The Padres were surely hoping Ramirez would bounce back to his past form when they signed him to a one-year, $3MM deal last winter, which perhaps would’ve paved the way for an in-season trade, but that hasn’t been the case. As a result, the Friars were considering releasing Ramirez as of last month. While the Padres haven’t yet cut Ramirez, his time in their uniform is likely running out.