CHICAGO -- With a .285 average, 39 doubles and 30 stolen bases, Alexei Ramirez has turned in a better season with the bat than he has previously been credited. The 22 errors made at shortstop stand as a team and career high for Ramirez, although he remains one of the better fielding shortstops in baseball.
Nonetheless, manager Robin Ventura believes this good version of Ramirez is not close to his best.
"I don't think this year is really indicative of the kind of shortstop he is," Ventura said. "Each year is a little different, but he has that ability to be one of the elite shortstops. It's just right now, I don't think it's there, if you just look at what he's done this year. But I don't think that's him in the future."
Ramirez is under contract for another two years, with a club option for 2016. Like many others on this underachieving team, Ramirez could be a possible trade chip in the offseason as general manager Rick Hahn tries to reshape and retool for the future.
But in that scenario, the White Sox may end up feeling they didn't realize what they had until he's gone.
"It goes a lot of different ways like that," Ventura said. "Sometimes players will leave and it's like that, and sometimes players leave and the team they were with is better than maybe they thought, as far as the way they were treated or whatever.
"That's always there. I expect him to be better, and I think he does, too."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.