While it's been fun watching a competitive and much improved White Sox team this season, replenishing a weak farm system needs to remain the team’s top priority - to that end, it's inevitable that veteran players will be traded to contenders this summer in exchange for developing prospects.
Alexei Ramirez is off to a scorching hot season, and these are the three reasons why he needed to be traded yesterday:
1. Alexei Ramirez is off to the best start of his career
At age 32, it appears that Alexei has finally hit his prime. The shortstop is batting a staggering .319 with five HRs, 27 RBI, and 7 SBs. While these stats aren’t jaw-dropping compared to the entire group of league leaders, they are outstanding given how thin the position is in terms of hitting.
Alexei leads American League shortstops in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. The next closest batting average is .35 points less than Alexei. If Alexei were a stock your broker would be telling you to, “sell, sell, sell!” The time to move him is now, and hopefully a deal gets done before he comes back down to Earth.
2. The Sox have one of the worst farm systems in baseball
During the Kenny Williams era, having a strong farm system was never a major concern for the White Sox. Year in and year out, the Sox always traded their best minor leaguers for players that could help make a playoff run now. It worked in the past (2005 World Series Champs), but it’s not going to work today.
The White Sox were ranked as having the 26th best farm system out of all 30 MLB teams in 2014. With Alexei’s value at the highest it’s ever been, this is the Sox’s best chance at scoring a top 100 prospect in return. If General Manager Rich Hahn is able to bring in a MLB ready pitcher in the exchange that would be ideal.
3. The Sox are deep with infielders
Clearly, trading Alexei is going to lead to an offensive downgrade, but it wouldn’t be a move that completely deflates the Sox this season. Marcus Semien has been starting at third base for the Sox, but he played shortstop in college for Cal. He could be moved comfortably into Alexei’s defensive role at short - Semien has shown inconsistent, but his timely hitting has been an asset, and he might just be the Sox' future at the position.
Third base would continue to be manned by Conor Gillaspie, while Gordon Beckham would stay at second. Leury Garcia will provide infield utility for off-days and speed off the bench for the Sox. Trading Alexei also eliminates a roster decision in making room for Adam Eaton when he returns shortly from the 15 day disabled list.
Alexei Ramirez is a respectable fielder with great range and a solid arm. God only knows how he’s hitting like Hercules this season with that wiry frame of his, but he’s sure getting the job done and then some. Look for the trade market to heat up shortly if Alexei continues to hit lasers around the diamond.
Remember, the St. Louis Cardinals were involved in a few trade rumors for Alexei last summer...just something to keep an eye on. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing the famous words of Hawk Harrelson about Alexei Ramirez sooner rather than later. “He gone!"Back to the Chicago White Sox Newsfeed