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.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.