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White Sox decline $10 million option on Alexei Ramirez

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He's a free agent

Alexei
Alexei
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Hahn made his first move of the offseason and it's a bit of a surprising one. The White Sox declined their $10 million option on Alexei Ramirez and instead buy him out for $1 million. The 34-year-old is now a free agent.

So now, in addition to the previous holes on the roster (which may have included Ramirez, depending upon your perspective) the White Sox will need to find a shortstop. The primary internal option is Tyler Saladino, who can play a competent to good shortstop but has a weak stick. The free agent options are not particularly enticing, either, particularly when considering that top prospect Tim Anderson will likely be ready to take over shortstop in 2017 so a long-term solution like Ian Desmond is probably off the table.

Of course, the White Sox can still bring Ramirez back, though, it's likely that the Cuban can find a two-year deal for something like $16 million elsewhere.

In other roster news, the White Sox added Zach Phillips to the 40-man roster. The left-handed reliever performed competently for Charlotte in 2015, striking out 28% of the batters he faced against just 8% walks. However, he's a 29-year-old who has bounced around the minors and Japan since 2005. He's also pitched 15.2 rather poor major league innings over three seasons between the Orioles and Marlins. If the White Sox think highly enough of him that they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, it's odd that he didn't merit a September call-up.