All of the buzz right now surrounding who will be the Padres shortstop in 2016 is about Ian Desmond. I addressed that here.
But another name that has come about is Alexei Ramirez. Recently of the Chicago White Sox, Ramirez, 34, is an eight-year veteran with a lifetime .273/.310/.399 slash. He has averaged 30 doubles, 14 home runs, and 18 stolen bases a season.
His dWAR in 2015 was 0.3, only slightly better than Desmond’s -0.5.
So his numbers really aren’t that impressive. But then again, they would still represent an upgrade over Alexi Amarista, who hit a dismal .204/.257/.287.
As Fangraphs notes, moving from Alexi (Amarista) to Alexei (Ramirez) would be a move from the worst shortstop in baseball to the second-worst.
Bottom line: Even if the Padres are rebuilding (which I strongly recommend), they desperately need a new shortstop.
Desmond, 30, has his disadvantages (lots of strikeouts and errors, and he would be more expensive), while Ramirez’ decline in defense and lower offensive numbers are troublesome for an already weak Padres lineup.
But if rebuilding is the course they take–and that remains to be seen–then the front office needs to realize that since the shortstop market is very thin, either Desmond or Ramirez (or someone else yet unnamed) is merely a bridge to Javier Guerra, the 19-year-old shortstop acquired for Craig Kimbrel who likely will begin 2016 in high-A or AA.
Those are the choices, Padre fans. Who do you like better?