Tag: Alexei Ramirez

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 05:  Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox hugs Avisail Garcia #26 after Garcia was hits a by a pitch to walk in the winning run against the Detroit Tigers as Emilio Bonifacio #64 sprays them with water at U.S. Cellular Field on June 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Tigers 4-3 in 11 innings.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Walk-off hit-by-pitch sends Tigers to eighth straight loss


The Tigers dropped their eighth straight game last night against the White Sox. And it happened in heartbreaking fashion.

After getting a strong outing from rookie left-hander Kyle Ryan and a go-ahead two-run single from Josh Wilson in the seventh inning, the Tigers appeared primed to finally snap the losing streak. Joakim Soria, who has been very solid since taking over the closer role for Detroit, had the White Sox down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth. However, Adam LaRoche provided some heroics for Chicago by slugging a game-tying solo home run. Gut punch.

Then we move to the 11th, when Alex Wilson allowed back-to-back singles to Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus understandably decided to intentionally walk Jose Abreu to load the bases, but then this happened…

Yes, a walk-off hit-by-pitch. Ouch. Well, double-ouch, really.

The Tigers have now have their longest losing streak since 2005. They have slipped to an even 28-28 on the year, putting them five games off the pace in the American League Central. They’ll look to ace David Price to stop the bleeding tonight.

2015 Preview: Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Chicago White Sox.

The Big Question: Should we be taking the rebuilt White Sox seriously as contenders?

It got largely overshadowed by the non-stop wheeling and dealing in San Diego, but the White Sox also had an extremely busy offseason as general manager Rick Hahn attempted to turn an 89-loss team into a potential contender in one winter.

Hahn beefed up the rotation behind ace Chris Sale by trading for impending free agent Jeff Samardzija, remade the bullpen by signing closer David Robertson and setup man Zach Duke, added a pair of good bats to the lineup in first baseman Adam LaRoche and outfielder Melky Cabrera, and even gave manager Robin Ventura a bit more bench versatility in utility man Emilio Bonifacio.

Hahn had a busy, productive, high-impact offseason, but will it be enough to pull the White Sox up from 73 wins to the 85-plus typically required to be a factor deep into September? Fortunately for the White Sox they were starting with two hugely valuable, young building blocks in Sale, who finished third in the Cy Young balloting at age 25, and first baseman Jose Abreu, who won the Rookie of the Year award and finished fourth in the MVP balloting at age 27. Not many 73-win teams have two elite players around which to build.

Sale won’t be ready for Opening Day after breaking his foot in late February, but assuming he’s back in the rotation by mid-April the White Sox top three of Sale, Samardzija, and Jose Quintana is one of the best in baseball. Their bullpen, which was a major weakness last year, now has a shutdown closer in Robertson, allowing guys like Duke, Jake Petricka, and and Zach Putnam to settle into setup roles. And within a couple months last year’s No. 3 overall pick, stud left-hander Carlos Rodon, should be ready for his call-up.

The turnaround offensively won’t be as dramatic, but it doesn’t need to be. Chicago ranked in the middle of the AL pack in run scoring and is essentially replacing the corner outfield/designated hitter trio of Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo, and Alejandro De Aza with LaRoche, Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia, who returned from injury to play 46 games down the stretch. Toss in center fielder Adam Eaton’s on-base skills atop the batting order, plus Alexei Ramirez having more pop than the average shortstop, and even with second base and catcher being question marks this has a chance to be a much deeper, more dangerous lineup surrounding Abreu.

Going from 73 wins to 85-plus wins in one offseason is extremely difficult, but the White Sox absolutely look like a team that should have a winning record and contending in a relatively mediocre AL Central division is entirely doable.

What else is going on?

  • For a long time Carlos Rodon was the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, but then his stock dipped a bit and both the Astros and Marlins passed on the North Carolina State ace. Six months later it’s probably safe to assume both teams would do things differently, because Rodon struck out 38 batters in his 24-inning debut, ranked as a top-20 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com this offseason, and then impressed this spring with a 19/3 K/BB ratio in 12 innings. He looks just about ready and has top-of-the-rotation upside.
  • Because he was 27 years old and a superstar in Cuba it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to put Abreu’s numbers up against other “rookies” … but why not. He had a 169 OPS+ last season. Here’s a list of all the other first basemen in MLB history to top a 150 OPS+ as a rookie: Mark McGwire, 164 in 1987. That’s it. That’s the entire list. Even setting aside the whole rookie thing, the last 27-year-old first basemen with a higher OPS+ than Abreu were Miguel Cabrera in 2010 and Frank Thomas in 1995. And then no one else since 1962.
  • Adam Eaton played so well in his first season with the White Sox–hitting .300 with a .362 on-base percentage and solid defense in center field–that Hahn signed him to a long-term contract extension that keeps him under team control through 2021. Eaton lacks power, but his on-base skills and speed are top notch and are an ideal fit atop the lineup and in front of Abreu. Eaton hit .348 in the minors, including .364 with 40 steals in 133 games at Triple-A.

Prediction: One of the biggest improvements of any team in baseball, going from 73-89 to at least .500 in a division where four of the five teams figure to win 80-something games. But just short of the playoffs.

Report: White Sox talking to Athletics about Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija

Could right-hander Jeff Samardzija be close to returning to Chicago? It’s a possibility, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, who hears that the White Sox are involved in discussions with the Athletics about the former Cub.

There’s apparently more to this than your average vague Hot Stove rumor, as one source speculates that the two sides are past the “just talking” stage and believes that “serious talks are going on.” Busy days for Billy Beane. It’s unclear who is being discussed in the deal beyond Samardzija. Schouwen mentions that Alexei Ramirez could be a fit for the A’s since they need a shortstop, but it’s also possible they’ll ask for prospects in return.

Samardzija earned $5.345 million this past season while posting a 2.99 ERA across 33 starts between Chicago and Oakland. He’s arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. Some have reasoned that the A’s will wait for Max Scherzer/Jon Lester to sign before attempting to deal Samardzija, but the right offer could change that.

The Astros have checked in on Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson

The Astros and Brett Anderson:

This seems far more humane than all of that “aggressive” business the Dodgers and Marlins have been up to.

Astros: You doin’ OK, Brett?

Brett Anderson: Yeah, I’m alright.

Astros: Can we get anything for you, big guy? You thirsty?

Brett Anderson: No, I’m good. But thanks.

Astros: You, just checking in. Night, champ.

Much, much more pleasant, no?

As for Anderson: he was the A’s Opening Day starter in 2013. And he has the stuff to where he could easily be a front line starter again. It’s just a matter of him staying healthy. I presume the gamble on him won’t cost a ton, and certainly could pay off big.


Dodgers “aggressively pursuing” White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez

Alexei Ramirez ap

In looking to replace free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez the Dodgers are “aggressively pursuing” White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, according to Bob Nightingale of USA Today.

Ramirez had a bounceback year offensively, hitting .273 with 15 homers and a .713 OPS in 158 games and has been one of the most durable players in baseball, but at age 33 his defense has slipped and he’s owed $10 million for 2015 plus a $10 million option or $1 million buyout for 2016.