All indications point toward 39-year-old Derek Jeter being the New York Yankees' starting shortstop in 2014, but the Bronx Bombers secured an important insurance policy on Monday by inking Brendan Ryan to a two-year deal, according to the team's Twitter account.
The #Yankees sign INF Brendan Ryan to 2-year contract through 2015 with mutual option for 2016.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) December 2, 2013
The Yankees acquired Ryan, 31, from the Seattle Mariners in September for a player to be named later, and he played quite well down the stretch.
He is capable of playing shortstop, second base and third base, and he is best known for his wizardry with the glove.
Since 2009, Ryan has been one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Ryan registered four consecutive seasons of 18 or more defensive runs saved when compared to the average major league shortstop prior to last season.
Is this a good signing for the Yankees?
His defensive play dipped in 2013 to the tune of just six defensive runs saved above average, but there is little doubt that he will be a valuable late-inning defensive replacement and utility player for the Yanks.
Ryan isn't particularly skilled at the plate, and some might scoff at his .220 batting average in 17 games with the Yankees last season, but it was actually an improvement for him.
Ryan hit just .192 for the Mariners in 2013 and .194 in 2012, so it can be argued that he started to hit his stride from an offensive perspective once he came to New York.
Although Ryan isn't going to lead the Yankees back to glory on his own, he is the type of player that every good team has. Depth was a huge issue for New York last season due to the multitude of injuries suffered by star players, but Ryan will help ease the burden if something similar happens in 2014.
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