If there’s one thing we know about Derek Jeter, it’s that he isn’t going out due to an injury. The great ones never want to go out that way. We also know that $9 million player option for 2014 is going to be picked up by him. What we don’t know, is how effective he can actually be at playing the position. He wasn’t exactly moving around well this year, though a entire off-season of rehab could help that. The Yankees are going to need a backup plan though, especially since Jeter will be close to 40 and can’t play everyday.Sep 13, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Brendan Ryan (35) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Eduardo Nunez had a giant opportunity to take hold of the job, however, he got injured too (story of the 2013 Yankees), and he also was inconsistent at the defensive end. Enter the newly acquired Brendan Ryan. If the Yankees make it to the playoffs, he isn’t eligible to play in it. Ryan is a plus defender at the shortstop position, however, his hitting is a real question.
Money will be a major issue for the Yankees this off-season with a lot of questions about players who are signed and who aren’t. The Yankees went on the cheap this year at catcher and it backfired when Francisco Cervelli got hurt and suspended and Chris Stewart proved he’s just a backup.
Ryan has enjoyed his time in New York and could come back on the cheap to the Yankees. Hitting coach Kevin Long says he can help Ryan with his swing to improve his offensive game.
This is one of the many questions facing the Yanks in 2014. If Ryan plays well over the next two weeks, he could be part of answer to one of the questions.