Free agent shortstop Alexei Ramirez is already taking meetings with interested teams at the general manager meetings this week, according to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago.
Among the suitors for Ramirez are the Chicago White Sox, with whom Ramirez has played all eight of big league seasons. Chicago turned down a team option for 2016 that would have paid Ramirez $10 million.
The market for free agent shortstops is a thin one, with Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins among the other notables available.
Ramirez had a rough year offensively in 2015, hitting .249/.285/.357 with 10 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 154 games for the White Sox. His .642 OPS was a career low as was his 1.0 rWAR. However, his second half showed significant signs of improvement as he hit .277/.325/.432 in 70 games. Those numbers were reminiscent of a 2014 season that saw Ramirez hit .273/.305/.408 with 52 extra-base hits, earning an All-Star appearance and his second Silver Slugger.
In particular, it is no surprise to see the Padres in the market for a shortstop. In 2015, the spot was mostly shared by Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes, though the pair were so poor at the plate San Diego attempted to put both Will Middlebrooks and Jedd Gyorko, neither of whom are shortstops by trade, at short in 2015.
Seattle is looking for a new shortstop after swapping Brad Miller to the Rays in a deal that netted them starting pitcher Nate Karns, among others. If the Mariners miss out on Ramirez, they could turn the shortstop spot over to 22-year-old Ketel Marte, who played 51 games at shortstop in the final two months of 2015, hitting .283/.351/.402 with a pair of home runs and eight steals in 219 at bats.
That a 34-year-old with an up and down history like Ramirez is this coveted speaks volumes for the market for shortstops this offseason -- the pickings are slim.