Alexei Ramirez, a regressing 34-year-old shortstop, has been having some expected struggles this season. Before the start of this season it was obvious the San Diego Padres needed an upgrade at shortstop. Although the Padres are deep in talent at the shortstop position, a lot of these players aren’t ready to even play at the Triple-A level.
With this in mind, the Padres turned to free agency to find a veteran player to fill the role in the mean time. The Padres signed Alexei Ramirez to a one year deal, hoping he could provide some offense while our prospects mature in the farm system.
This is, for the most part, what they got out of Ramirez. He has played almost every single game until a minor league player (Rondon) was ready to be called up. However, even though he played in every game, Ramirez has been less than productive for the team.
He is batting only .237 with a .271 on base percentage in his 395 plate appearances this season. He has 14 errors and has failed to turn many basic plays throughout the season. The aging veteran is obviously at the end of his playing career.
Especially lately Ramirez has been bad, where in the last 30 games has only reached on 17 hits in 91 at bats producing a .209 batting average. His poor play has freed up some playing time for a younger infielders in the organization though, Jose Rondon and more recently Nick Noonan.
Rondon is not expected to be the Padres next big piece at shortstop, but he is just 22 years old and has more than earned his call up to the show. He has struggled to adjust to the big league, posting just a .120 average in his first 25 at bats with one RBI. However, he has shown his worth in the field, turning many difficult plays and showing he is willing to put his body on the line to make a play.
Noonan, a San Diego native, posted a .197/.244/.244 slash line in 76 appearances for the Giants, but has more recently posted a .321/.353/.445 slash line in Triple-A El Paso and is looking like the guy to take over at shortstop for the remainder of the year.
When asked about Noonan Andy Green said, “He’s going to be out there consistently,” adding “…We’re looking at guys that we have the possibility of controlling in the future.” He was selected by the Padres prior to today’s, August 10th, game against the Pirates. He has yet to make an appearance at short for the Padres, but the versatility he showed in El Paso gives Padres coaches high hopes. Noonan is scheduled to start the game Thursday morning.
Ramirez is taking his reduced playing time and backseat role as a wake up call. “It is something I need to reflect on,” said Ramirez “all I can do is work harder, way harder than I did last year, double my efforts and be ready to go for next year.” It is not likely that Alexei Ramirez will be back with the Padres come Opening Day 2017, but he is preparing himself to do whatever is needed to help his current team out.