By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Will the White Sox be shopping for a shortstop this offseason? We’ll soon find out.
The club has until Wednesday to pick up the $10 million option on veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s contract or pay $1 million and let the 34-year-old become a free agent.
The difficult part of this decision surrounds the progress of minor league shortstop Tim Anderson, who has progressed nicely on offense and appears ready for the big leagues with the bat. Yet, some in the organization question if Anderson is ready defensively for the 162-game major league challenge at the game’s most important defensive position.
Ramirez has been a solid player since 2009, making a lone All-Star appearance in 2014. But 2015 was a downer for Ramirez for the better part of four months, until he was able to turn his offense around in August and September. Ramirez hit .249 with 10 home runs, 62 RBIs and 54 runs.
Ramirez was well short of his .273 career batting average. His .285 on-base percentage was 25 points fewer than his career number, and he fell 67 points off his career OPS.
The White Sox have few internal options beside Anderson. If Chicago parts with Ramirez, infielder Tyler Saladino could hold down the position until Anderson is deemed ready.
The White Sox have around $85 million in payroll obligations for next season. It’s unclear if they will come close to putting forth the same amount toward the 25-man payroll in 2016 as they did in 2015, when they spent around $119 million.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.