TCS Morning 5: A post-Alexei existence

1. It is going to be awfully weird to see Alexei Ramirez in another uniform. Luckily, he's headed to San Diego, which means he'll most likely never be seen again. Ramirez is reportedly headed to the left coast on a one-year deal with undisclosed terms, pending a physical. Even without the terms, it's looking pretty clear that the market for Ramirez did not exceed, and likely not even meet the heights of his one-year, $10 million option.

If the financial and contract restrictions handed down to Rick Hahn are such that the savings gained from launching Ramirez allow him to secure a meaningful outfield upgrade, then this is a good move. Even a selection as middle of the road as Dexter Fowler would provide more of a value add over starting Avisail Garcia full-time in right, than Alexei's fickle bat and fading range would hold over the glove-only Saladino. 

Such an assumption is extending credulity to a cost-cutting, talent-reducing move, and maybe the budget was also so low that this was necessary, but there's a few more days and weeks to keep to faith yet.

2. It's hard to stay with the same club for eight years without compiling decent memories, but so dazzling were Ramirez's highs that once he's removed from the context of how he seems like he should do more with what he has, or the frustration of his inconsistency from week-to-week, inning-to-inning, it's pretty easy to reel off his accomplishments.

Ramirez held down a position that's hard to keep held down for seven seasons, and it wasn't until the very end of his time that he started making close to the going rate for a passable shortstop. At his best, he ran into enough pitches to yank out to left and slapped enough balls into play to scrap together average offense at a hitting-starved position, combined with wondrous defensive range, arm strength and athleticism that made him capable of anything at anytime (making it all the more conspicuous how much waning effort and focus could affect him)

He was never great, and always better and more helpful than he seemed, so revering him always seemed like a chore, or some fringe cause, but he was good member of the White Sox franchise. I'll remember his ebullient joy at clocking a go-ahead grand slam to send the 2008 club into a one-game playoff for the AL Central, I'll remember him sealing Mark Buehrle's 2009 perfect game, but more than anything I'll remember him cracking smiles at Omar Vizquel in the second half of 2010 after every time he rushed deep into the left field hole and uncorked a missile to first. He was beginning to realize his immense defensive potential and knew it, and we got to observe in real time. It's a shame that prime never got a larger stage.

3. Meanwhile, in news related to the guy they should be signing with money saved.

That seems like a far too low offer--for perspective, it would be equal or less for a guy who hit like an MVP for the second half as Jeff Samardzija got for being the worst regular starter in the American League--but it's a longer commitment than three years!

More concretely, this represents some actual offers getting thrown about in a previously eerily silent outfield market. While the Orioles seem like they're still straddling the fence between trying to bring back Chris Davis and pursuing Cespedes full-throttle, it can only help add some urgency to where there is seemingly none.

4. Half of the White Sox arbitration cases got settled before Friday's deadline, with Brett Lawrie and Dan Jennings both agreeing to deals slightly above their MLB Trade Rumors arbitration estimates predicted. 

Lawrie will make $4.125 million to Jennings' $810,000, leaving just Avisail Garcia and Zach Putnam to get determined by the end of the work week. Putnam and Garcia are both already confirmed for SoxFest, so all the smart money in the world goes on a quick and non-descript resolution for both before arbitration is necessary, but there's a little time left to imagine there's some sort of weird plan in place for moving out Garcia.

UPDATE: Nah, that time is already over.

Pretty cheap if he manages to not be negative value again.

5. The White Sox could begin testing their new videoboards at U.S. Cellular Field as soon as Friday, just to do things like make sure their huge TVs actually make sounds and whatnot. As someone who only paid state taxes for Indiana last year, I just don't have much stake in how these tests actually go. Not my money.

Dan Hayes' conversation with Brooks Boyer indicates the Sox are still figuring out all the content they can fit on three mondo screens visible from every part of the South  side, and could look into in-depth statistics or fantasy information, which--[author is struck by horrifying flash of Sox securing sponsorship with a daily fantasy sports site, and ownership meddling in the state Attorney General's move to ban DFS in Illinois]--uh, should be, uh, fine, just fine, I guess.