Around the Horn: Shortstop

Free agent signee Ramirez brings short-term solution to position

Around the Horn: Shortstop

Welcome to our multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at San Diego's projected starters and backup options going into Spring Training. We have already looked at the catchers, first base and second base. Today, we look at shortstop.

SAN DIEGO -- There will be no question mark facing the Padres in terms of who will play shortstop come Opening Day.

Last month, the Padres signed veteran infielder Alexei Ramirez to a one-year contract with an option for 2017.

While the Ramirez deal doesn't exactly rate as a long-term solution as to who mans the position, it does, for a while at least, stop the revolving door of players there.

Catcher: Battle behind the dish

1B: Myers ready to step in

2B: Spangenberg's job to lose

San Diego has used 18 different shortstops since the 2009 season. By no means is Ramirez the organization's long-term solution at the position, but the team likely won't have to worry about rotating players there like it did a year ago.

"He plays, he has that track record [and] he loves to play," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. "You look at the back of his baseball card [and] it's 144 games most years. That was definitely part of it. We know what we're getting into."

That's a far cry from a year ago when the Padres didn't know what -- or who -- they were getting at shortstop.

The team used four shortstops a year ago -- Clint Barmes, Alexi Amarista, Will Middlebrooks and Jedd Gyorko. The four combined for a -0.8 WAR at the position.

As for Ramirez, he has averaged 1.9 WAR over the past three years. But his defense has slipped, as he has posted a -10 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved metric) since 2014. 

Ramirez's solo home run

"They can expect a guy who wants to compete every single day," said White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, who works with the team's infielders. "He's pretty tough to get out of the lineup, too. He wants to play every single day. He plays hard, he's very athletic. He's one of the best shortstops offensively in the game."

Ramirez struggled -- batting .224/.249/.292 -- in the first half of 2015, but he rebounded nicely following the All-Star break by posting a .277/.325/.432 line with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 70 games.

The Padres need not worry about Ramirez's durability, as he has played in at least 136 games in all eight of his big league seasons, and at least 154 in each of the past six.

San Diego will most likely spell Ramirez on occasion with Amarista, who appeared in a team-high 83 games at short last season. Non-roster invitee Adam Rosales, who has mostly played second base and third base in parts of eight big league seasons, has spent 80 games at shortstop, but it could be tough for him to make the roster. 

Amarista's beautiful diving grab

The Padres have a talented shortstop waiting in the wings in 20-year-old Javier Guerra, the club's No. 3 prospect who was obtained from the Red Sox in November in the Craig Kimbrel trade. He's likely at least two years away from the Majors.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.