The Padres knew before the start of the 2016 season they needed to get better at shortstop. They knew they had some prospects in the system, but wanted stability. They went out and got Alexei Ramirez – who gave them exactly what they wanted.
Now the Padres are looking ahead, and Ramirez, who signed a one year deal with a mutual option for 2017, will likely not be brought back. The veteran is taking it all in stride. What else did you expect?
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While the 34 year old would love to see more playing time, he also accepts that this is part of the role he signed for after leaving the Chicago White Sox after 8 seasons:
“It’s good for the team getting some young players up to play. I think it’s just maintaining a positive mindset, just staying positive and supporting the guys around you, supporting someone like Rondon who could be a starting shortstop in the majors.”
Jose Rondon – who doesn’t even really project as the next big Padres shortstop, has earned the right to get the call up and playing time. Though so far the 22 year old is hitting just .120 through 8 games and 25 at bats.
Though the Padres were hoping to get more of the career average Ramirez than the 2015 version in Chicago, he has stayed healthy amidst an infield that has struggled to stay healthy around him at second base and shortstop.
He has averaged about 14 home runs a season in his career and this year he is at just 4. With less playing time, it will harder to get those counting stats up but Ramirez isn’t discouraged. He doesn’t know where he will play next year and it will likely be in some platoon role, but don’t him out just yet: “It’s something I need to reflect on, but all I can do is work harder, work way harder than I worked last year in the offseason, double my efforts and be ready to go for next year.”
The Padres haven’t had a regular shortstop for multiple seasons since Khalil Green in the mid 2000’s, but with 6 of their top 25 prospects being shortstops, someone is bound to grab a hold of the job for awhile. Jose Rondon was actually ranked the Padres 12th best prospect, behind #11Luis Urias and #7 Javier Guerra as shortstops.
Ramirez was as an All Star as recently as 2014, and 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting when he came up in 2008, so Rondon has a good mentor as he tries to lay claim as the 2017 starting shortstop for the Padres.