Padres Points: Ramirez, Villanueva, Maurer

After entering the new year without addressing the team’s biggest need, the San Diego Padres have finally found a solution at shortstop.

The team has signed former Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez to a one year deal, according to a tweet by Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

This ends the team’s long time search for a shortstop. It looks as though it is a short term solution with top prospect Javier Guerra developing in the minor leagues.

Ramirez, a solid defender who has hit for power in the past, will likely produce average to below-average offensive numbers at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Last season, he hit .249/.285/.357, but did have a better second half offensively.

In his career, he’s shown some power. Ramirez has 109 career home runs, though it should be noted he played half of his games at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. In his career, he’s hit .273/.310/.399. He made the All-Star team in 2014 and is a two-time Silver Slugger at his position.

There’s one thing going after this apparent signing: the club finally has a solid, durable, and everyday player at the position.

Padres Add Pitching

The team also announced made another major league signing this week, adding right handed pitcher Carlos Villanueva to a one year, $1.5 million deal.

Villanueva has started in the past, but really had a solid year in long relief for the Cardinals. In 61 innings, he posted a strong 2.95 ERA and only gave up 50 hits. He seems likely to be utilized in order to bridge the gap until the seventh inning or pitch multiple innings during extra inning games or blowouts.

This role was projected for Odrisamer Despaigne, whose roster spot could now perhaps be in question. He struggled mightily filling a similar role last season, pitching to a 5.80 ERA.

The team might not be done either, as they are still in contact with free agent setup man and closer Fernando Rodney, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune.

Friar Notes

  • The team will give right handed pitcher Brandon Maurer a chance to start next season, writes Corey Brock of Maurer was having an All Star caliber first half coming out of the bullpen before running into injury trouble in the second half of the season. With him now projected as the 4th starter, there will be an open competition for the 5th spot. There are roughly half a dozen candidates for the final spot, from veteran Brandon Morrow to Rule 5 draft pick Luis Perdomo.
  • The Padres and Houston Astros announced that they will be playing two Spring Training games in Mexico City on March 26 and 27. This will be the first time in 12 years Major League baseball has hosted exhibition games in Mexico.
  • The team also announced via press release numerous coaching moves for the upcoming 2016 season for the organization’s minor league system. You can read it by clicking here.

Friar Moves

  • Along with the Villanueva news, the team announced that they have added left handed pitcher Ryan Buchter to the 40 man roster and have released Marcos Mateo, who will pursue opportunists in Japan. It’s an interesting development for Buchter, who the organization signed to a minor league deal earlier in the offseason. If Buchter made the final 25 man roster, he could be an interesting candidate to be the second left handed reliever for the bullpen, along with Drew Pomeranz.
  • The team also added RHP Derek Eitel, C Miguel Del Castillo (re-signed), and OF D’Arby Myers to minor league deals, writes Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Eitel (17th round, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2010), last pitched for the Diamondbacks organization in 2015, where he pitched 11 innings, giving up 7 earned runs. He has a 4.58 ERA over his 8 year baseball career. Castillo (signed out of the Dominican Republic), played between Low-A and Advanced-A in the organization. He hit .250/.295/.351 with 3 home runs and 22 RBI. Myers (4th round, Philadelphia Phillies, 2006, last played in the Los Angeles Angels system in 2015 where he hit .238/.294/.296. He hit a HR and 17 RBI last season.

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