Sign him to a multi-year deal
After the 2013 season, this was the unanimous decision by anyone that watched the Dodgers. Ramirez carried the offense in the second half of the season and through the NLDS before being hit by a pitch in the NLCS and being limited. Many believed the Dodgers and Ramirez would get a deal done.
Well, it’s the end of 2014 and a contract extension looks like the least likely thing to occur. However, a long-term deal could be worked out with some stipulations. First, any deal over two years must include a move to third base. Ramirez is no longer a quality shortstop in terms of defense, and the Dodgers have top prospect Corey Seager waiting in the wings. Juan Uribe is signed for one more season and proved he is capable of being an everyday third baseman, meaning Ramirez would make the transition in 2016.
A long-term deal to Ramirez would be the final member of the Dodger core to be signed for more years. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez all have multiple years left on their deals. Ramirez gets a long with all of them and is a joy in the clubhouse. Signing Ramirez to more than two years could prove smart in 2015 and could be a question park beyond that.
Let him walk
The final and likely least favorite move would be for the Dodgers to simply let the former Rookie of the Year walk away. There will be a few teams that could use Ramirez’s services, including the New York Yankees, and the Dodgers may simply decide the money and/or years are not worth it.
As mentioned earlier, the Dodgers have Rojas and Arruebarrena on the roster, and Seager in the minor leagues. While Rojas and Arruebarrena won’t hit over .300 or 20 home runs, they also will save more than a few runs on the defensive side. The Dodger lineup would still have Puig, Gonzalez, Crawford and Kemp to score runs. Ramirez dealt with numerous injuries all season and the front office could decide he isn’t worth the risk.
In order to get the large deal he wanted, Ramirez had to carry the offense again and lead the Dodgers deeper in the playoffs. While the loss doesn’t fall on his shoulders, Ramirez never found his power stroke from the 2013 season and his offense was streaky all year long. Getting by with Arruebarrena or Rojas for a season or two before giving way to Seager could be the Dodgers best choice.