4,999. That's how many plate appearances the slick fielding short stop gave the Chicago White Sox over his eight year career on the south side. He manned the position exquisitely every season, giving some stability to the franchise at its most important defensive position. His final White Sox numbers: .273 batting average with a .310 OBP. He hit 109 HR, scored 563 times, drove in 542 while swiping 135 bags over 1226 games.
2008. What a start to this guys career. An integral part of the end of the season 3 games vs 3 teams in 3 day meat grinder, with the Division winning tie-breaker Blackout Game crescendo. A day after a make up game against the Indians, the Sox took on the Tigers in the last game of the season, needing the win to force the one game playoff with the Twins for the AL Central. In the bottom of the sixth, Alexei hit his 21st HR of the season out of park for a grand slam. The biggest hit to his career to date propelling the Sox to game 163.
He always did have a sweet swing for a skinny fella. You could do worse from the right side. Up around/over 19 WAR depending on who you ask, Alexei Ramirez played the position admirably in his time with the Sox Blancos.
Slowing a bit at 33, he noticably lost a step, and the eye test was confirmed with his UZR at -.7 and -6.4 according to fangraphs the last two seasons defensively, making the club option to buy him out seemingly a wise one.
BECAUSE YOU'RE STILL GOING TO SIGN A BIG FREE AGENT OUT FIELD BAT, RIGHT RICK? -Kaitlin
His one year deal with the San Diego Padres for an as yet undisclosed amount of money cements a concerning question mark up the middle for the Chicago White Sox. Eight years of consistency are instantly replaced by the unknown. Can Tyler Saladino fill his shoes?
I'm very curious to know how much the 34 year old is getting because like many I wasn't entirely against re-signing him at a lesser rate than he was due before the buy out. You never really knew what you were going to get from the short stop(30 stolen bags one season, 21 HR another for career highs) and I hope he has something left in the tank for San Diego.
While his production was down for the 2015 White Sox (whose wasn't?)the season wasn't a total bust for the short stop. He had a career first when he took the mound for the White Sox and pitched a scoreless ninth against Oakland after train wreck Jeff Samardzija couldnt get an out in the 4th giving up 10 earned runs. He shook off his catcher often, and even gave Jake Smolinski first base via a 68 MPH love tap on the leg before settling down and getting the final out.
A silver slugger recipient in 2010, and 2014, Alexei had his fair share of big hits that should endear him to Sox fans for a long time. Alexei was part of a White Sox line up that started four Cubans with Minnie Minoso in attendance in 2014. The first time that many Cubans started for a MLB team since the 1969 Tribe. What a great thing El Duque Orlando Hernandez did by going to the White Sox and selling them on signing Mr. Ramirez.
Alexei made the All-Star team in 2014, and probably should have a couple other seasons if not for the Yankee clout backing dinosaur Derek Jeter, who arguably cost our guy a gold glove in 2010 as well. He was definitely a fan favorite and deservedly so. I'll miss him. If I could compose a line up of White Sox players from my life time, Alexei Ramirez with his 2010 season would be my starting short stop. He served us well.
Good luck in San Diego, Capitan.
Check out Jim's reflective column on Alexei from August last season.