Alexei Ramirez – Shortstop

The Cuban Missile has not been a player mentioned in a ton of trade rumors initially, but lately there has been some interest. Most notably, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, reported yesterday that the Pittsburgh Pirates may be looking at acquiring Ramirez. Pittsburgh has an obvious need at shortstop with a current platoon of Jordy Mercer and Clint Barmes, but it is still surprising to hear their name being mentioned as possible suitors. Ramirez is under contract through 2015 ($9.5 million in 2014 and $10 million in 2015), and he also has a club option for $10 million in 2016 ($1 million buyout). While the Pirates may be interested, I am not sure if they can afford Ramirez for the next two-plus years. Another team that might be interested in Ramirez is the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals currently have Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso playing shortstop, but their numbers are pretty underwhelming.

Although Ramirez would be a nice addition to a team in need of a shortstop, it should be noted that his offensive production is down drastically from previous years. Ramirez is currently hitting .286, but he has just one home run, 21 runs batted in, and 36 runs scored. The biggest asset to Ramirez’s offensive game is his speed. Alexei has racked up 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts, and he is surprisingly one steal away from a new career-high for a season at age 31. For years, Ramirez’s best overall tool was his defensive ability. This season, however, he is on-pace to have his worst season defensively with a .963 fielding percentage.

Nevertheless, Ramirez is still a quality shortstop. His power isn’t what it used to be, but he is still hitting for a high enough average. If Ramirez can fix some of his defensive issues that he had during the first half of the season, then he would worth the money and prospects for a contending team looking to acquire him for the next few seasons.

In the end, Ramirez is another guy that the White Sox could trade, but they don’t have to unless the deal is right.

-Eric Tichelbaut

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