Aside from making the qualifying offer to Hanley Ramirez and retooling their front office, the Los Angeles Dodgers have yet to fully enter free agency. On Monday, the team made a second minor move in acquiring Minor League outfielder Kyle Jensen from the Miami Marlins.
With a need at shortstop and Hanley Ramirez unlikely to be re-signed, the Dodgers once reported interest in Alexei Ramirez has ramped up to them making a push to trade for Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, according to USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 18, 2014
Ramirez has $20 million remaining over two years on his contract, though it includes a $1 million buyout in 2016. While perhaps not considered the strongest of batters, since 2009 he’s led all American League shortstops in hits, RBIs and total bases.
At age 33, Alexei is just over two years older than Hanley, who turns 31 in December. However, Alexei has played two less seasons in the Majors but appeared in at least 150 games over the last five years.
After acquiring Hanley in 2012, the Dodgers spent the better of three seasons with an injury-prone shortstop. When healthy and swinging the bat well, Hanley was as good of a hitter as anyone in baseball.
In what was a down year for Hanley at the plate in 2014, the two shortstops ended with comparable numbers:
Alexei: .273/.305/.408, 15 home runs, 35 doubles and 74 RBIs
Hanley: .283/.369/.448, 13 home runs, 35 doubles and 71 RBIs
While neither shortstop complete out-hit the other at the plate in 2014, Hanley holds the decided edge in career numbers, granted with more seasons under his belt:
Alexei: .277/.314/.405, 99 home runs, 194 doubles, 480 RBIs
Hanley: .300/.373/.500, 191 home runs, 303 doubles, 654 RBIs
Where Alexei presumably would give the Dodgers a boost is with his glove and defensive range. He also would serve as a natural bridge to Corey Seager, who would likely be ready for everyday responsibilities come the 2017 season if not 2016.
In attempting to trade for Alexei, it may be a safe assumption the Dodgers are attempting to unload one of their many outfielders not named Yasiel Puig. Manager Don Mattingly said during the season a change was needed this winter and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently stated the team would benefit from trading an outfielder.
Should the Dodgers successfully trade an outfielder as part of a deal for Alexei, they would address two different roster needs.