The Padres are considering releasing Alexei Ramirez

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Padres shortstop is in the midst of the worst season of his major league career, coming into Monday night’s action batting .238/.272/.326 with four home runs and 37 RBI in 404 plate appearances. That has come along with a precipitous decline in defense.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the Padres are considering releasing Ramirez to open up playing time at shortstop for younger players in the final month and a half of the regular season, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The club had called up shortstop prospect Jose Rondon but optioned him back to Triple-A El Paso last week. He could be brought up again. The Padres also have Nick Noonan and Luis Sardinas, recently acquired from the Mariners.

Ramirez has a $4 million mutual option for the 2017 season that includes a $1 million buyout. The Padres are certain to decline their half of it. Releasing Ramirez now would simply get their youth movement at shortstop started a bit earlier.