AJ Preller seems to be MIA lately. But we are hearing some news regarding the Padres' perpetual search for a shortstop.
As you probably already know, Ian Desmond has been a target of the Padres for some time now (at least since November) and the team continues to remain in contact with the free agent. But the latest rumors have the Padres eyeing another potential shortstop, Alexei Ramirez. MLB analyst Bruce Levine first reported this last month, and Ken Rosenthal brought it up again earlier today, noting that Ramirez wouldn't require the kind of long-term deal likely necessary to sign Desmond. Furthermore, the Padres wouldn't have to give up their second-round draft pick to sign Ramirez. When he parted ways with the White Sox this offseason, he wasn't extended a qualifying offer, so whichever team picks him up doesn't have to forfeit a draft pick.
But despite those pros, Ramirez comes with some cons, especially when compared to someone like Ian Desmond. While Ramirez was mostly reliable for much of his time with the White Sox, he had a rough go of it in 2015, especially in the first half (he batted .224/.249/.292). He's also four years older than Desmond and therefore more prone to decline. But taking into consideration the lesser commitment the Padres would have to make to Ramirez, he might be a suitable short-term option for the team.
Then again, a short-term option at shortstop is probably not what Padres fans want to hear. The team has been notoriously lacking at shortstop for what seems like forever (but basically since 2009 with the departure of Khalil Greene), and signing yet another player to a short-term deal would just keep the revolving door, well, revolving. But something to keep in mind is that the Padres do have a couple of young guys in the minors - Jose Rondon, acquired from the Angels in the Huston Street trade of 2014, and Javier Guerra, acquired from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade last November - who they're hoping might be a more permanent solution eventually. That could be a reason for the Padres to go short-term for now with a guy like Ramirez until either/both of them are Major-League ready in two or three years.
Hopefully we'll hear in the near future what the Padres' solution will be for 2016, whether it's Desmond, Ramirez, or someone out of left field (not literally).