Through a bevy of injuries and uncertainties, both Detroit and the subway squads are in need of help at shortstop. For the Tigers, they are struggling with the loss of defensive ace Jose Iglesias. Arguably the best gloveman in the game today, he solidified a shaky Detroit infield. In Queens, the Mets are still grasping for the answer at the 6 spot after Jose Reyes signed with the rival Marlins. Instead of the all-around talent, the Mets have sent out a multitude of men, from Ronny Cedeno to Omar Quintanilla. Their “shortstop of the future” was supposed to be Ruben Tejada, but after a bite from the injury bug, he remains on the disabled list. Which leaves the Yankees…
The Yankees have some guy named Derek Jeter. Approaching 40-years-old in June, he probably won’t play more than 120 games at shortstop through time at designated hitter and time for rest. The man behind Jeter on the depth chart, Brendan Ryan, has had back injuries during spring training, and will likely miss the start of the season. When healthy, he is very strong defensively and very average offensively. Nevertheless, he is an integral piece of the Yankees’ playoff puzzle.
Eduardo Nunez also has the ability to play shortstop. However, he is weak in the field, with a career defensive war (dWAR) of -3.5. He is a decent offensive option, but is not a fantastic option. Yet, the Yankees organization views him optimistically, and seems interested in retaining the 26-year-old. A fourth option, Jose Pirela, has had a nice March, but is unlikely to crack the 25-man roster.
Apparently, Brian Cashman and the front office (a solid band name, by the way) have interest in Diamondbacks’ shortstop Didi Gregorious and Mariners’ shortstop Nick Franklin. The former is similar to Brendan Ryan, capable of spinning web gems on a nightly basis, but cooled off offensively during the second half of the 2013 season. The latter has a strong blend of power, speed, and fielding talent, but can occasionally fall victim to inconsistency on the diamond and in the batter’s box.
If the Yankees feel desperate enough to make a trade, they should pull the trigger sooner rather than later. The Tigers want to win a championship this year, and GM Dave Dombrowski is known for making moves, while the Mets are building for the future and have time to polish both players. If Ryan should miss a considerable amount of time in April, don’t be surprised if a new shortstop shows up in pinstripes.