The second the Los Angeles Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman as their president of baseball operations and jettisoned former general manager Ned Colletti into a role untied to player personnel, the team was without a shortstop for 2015. 

The new front-office regime wanted nothing to do with Hanley Ramirez, the team’s full-time shortstop the previous two seasons, and allowed him to walk in free agency. While it wasn’t probable that Colletti would have pursued Ramirez as a shortstop, it certainly wasn’t out of the question.

What is certain as of now is that Ramirez is with the Boston Red Sox, and the Dodgers are without a shortstop they are comfortable with going into next spring. The in-house options are steady defensively but have nowhere close to the offense Ramirez provided, which means if the Dodgers want more than a glove at the position, they will have to explore trade options.

The top target is Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.


Corey Seager is a shortstop and one of the Dodgers’ top prospects. Between Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga, Seager hit a gaudy .349/.402/.602 with a 1.004 OPS and was deemed one of the team’s untouchables in trade talks last July. But Seager is 20 and won’t be ready for the big leagues for at least one more season, and that is assuming he will stay at shortstop. He is 6’4″, and while the front office is going to allow him to play the position for now, that’s no promise he will stick there long term.

Until Seager is ready, the Dodgers have to fill the need. Ramirez would fit the role nicely.

Ramirez is 33 years old and an average hitter with medium pop—.273/.305/.408 with a .713 OPS, 15 home runs and a 101 OPS-plus—and while he isn’t an elite defender, he would be an upgrade from Hanley Ramirez. Also appealing is that Alexei Ramirez has played 158 games in each of the previous four seasons, a long way from Hanley Ramirez’s seemingly day-to-day availability.

Alexei Ramirez is owed $10 million next season and has a $10 million club option for 2016 with a $1 million buyout. That means his deal would be up right around the time the Dodgers would be ready to bring up Seager.

The monetary price is not an issue for the flush Dodger organization, but the price in players is high. Aside from winning at the major league level, one of the Dodgers’ stated goals is to replenish the farm system so they don’t have to rely on gargantuan payrolls year after year.

The White Sox are said to not be shopping Ramirez, but they are willing to listen to offers. The catch is that any trade involving Ramirez is going to call for some high-end prospects in return.


Part of the reason for the high price is that the White Sox are not actively shopping Ramirez, and trading him would put them in a similar bind as the Dodgers. If they move Ramirez, the White Sox would then immediately be in the market for a shortstop since their top prospect at the position, Tim Anderson, is still at least two years away from the majors.

The only way the White Sox would want to put themselves in that market is if they got a strong return for Ramirez.

“We are certainly open minded on all of our players,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told Doug Padilla of without addressing Ramirez specifically. “It’s our obligation to listen. At the same time we have what feel are some very valuable commodities in the game right now and we’re certainly not looking to move any of them without feeling very good that we are not only improving our competitiveness for 2015 but for ’16 and beyond as well.”

While the fit is perfect for the Dodgers as they wait for Seager, trading for Ramirez at that price is unlikely. For the White Sox, moving Ramirez for anything less is pointless. Plus, he is relatively inexpensive, making him appealing to both teams.

That leaves the teams at a stalemate. For now. Friedman and Hahn have a good working relationship, and they may exhaust every avenue to make a deal work before the end of the winter.

It just doesn’t make a lot of sense for either team to pull the trigger at this point.

That means the Dodgers could fish in the free-agent pond and come out with a one- or two-year deal for Jed Lowrie or Stephen Drew. They could also explore different trade opportunities as the Philadelphia Phillies are willing to deal Jimmy Rollins. Rollins has 10-and-5 rights, though, and can veto any trade because he has 10 years in the majors and five with the same team.

Aside from the Dodgers needing to make a trade in their outfield, their shortstop situation is the top priority this offseason. More than likely they will wait out the markets and hope for prices to drop on short-term options. If they don’t and the free-agent pool doesn’t work for them, one of their own guys—Erisbel Arruebarrena, Miguel Rojas and/or Justin Turner—will have to fill the hole.

Until then, the Dodgers will leave the “HELP WANTED” sign on the window and make moves elsewhere.

Anthony Witrado covers Major League Baseball for Bleacher Report. He spent the previous three seasons as the national baseball columnist at Sporting News and four years before that as the Brewers beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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