When the Padres chose to sign veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez to a bargain contract last spring, the team was banking on a bounceback season after his numbers took a significant dive in 2015. Through five months of the 2016 season, it’s evident that the decline wasn’t a temporary dip. Now MLB.com beat writer AJ Cassavell has reported that the Padres have issued his release.
The two-time Silver Slugger came into the season with a .273/.310/.399 career line, but more importantly he brought a track record of durability and above-average defense. While he’s been durable this season, both the bat (64 OPS+) and the glove (-17 DRS at SS) continued to decline. By any metric, this has been the worst season of his career at all phases of the game.
While this is a disappointing way for a veteran’s season to end, it’s a positive sign for the direction and tone of the organization moving forward. Newcomer Luis Sardiñas now has the opportunity for daily playing time. The youngster has showed flashes of the talents that made him a highly-touted prospect just a couple of years ago, and the infield defense is already looking much better with his presence in the middle. Next spring will likely be the host to an intriguing competition of youngsters for the 2017 job, with Sardiñas the clear frontrunner.