After a disappointing season, the Chicago White Sox have declined to exercise a $10M option on Alexei Ramirez.
It is unclear how much money the former All-Star and Silver Slugger would command on the open market, but immediately the Tampa Bay Rays come to mind as a possible landing spot.
Prior to the 2015 season, the Rays took a chance on Asdrubal Cabrera which benefited both sides. The Rays got an inexpensive shortstop option who delivered defensively and offensively. Cabrera used the opportunity to set himself up for a multi-year contract.
Ramirez is a few years older than Cabrera, but even at the age of 34 could provide some speed on the base paths as well as similar offensive numbers. The downside is defensively Ramirez is trending in the wrong direction.
Fangraphs Steamer projects an overall improvement for Ramirez from his lackluster 2015 season. If he gets close to the .257/.293/.366, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 16 SB that is projected, I think the Rays would take that.
Additionally, Ramirez could be flipped at some point in 2016 if the Rays feel they have other options internally (i.e Daniel Robertson) or they start to fall out of the playoff picture.
Of course salary will be a big factor. If Ramirez is willing to take a one-year deal for $6-7M he could follow Cabrera and use the opportunity for a bigger payday in the future. At this point a multi-year deal may not be an option. That’s going to be what Ramirez wants, and he may get it given the lack of talent available at the position on the open market.
And of course, bullpen help is always nice.