The general structure of the deal between NYY and SS Brendan Ryan was agreed to weeks ago; still not finished. In the range of $2 million.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 18, 2013
So that lends reason why the Red Sox, along with a lot of Yankees fans thought that Drew would be atop of GM Brain Cashman’s wanted list.
Fact is no matter if Jeter proves ageless and his ankle holds up, playing shortstop even close to everyday is not going to happen. And ditto for A-Rod that is if he even plays next season, as two damaged hips at 38-years old is not exactly comforting.
But I did not expect the Yankees answer to be Ryan until I thought about it some more.
And here are the three scenarios that popped into my brain.
1) Focusing on defense was the reason given by the Yankees for let starting catcher Russell Martin walk last offseason. And the same is being said for signing Ryan because this guy is an offensive liability (see #2).
What I want to know is when did defense become such a priority for the Yankees?
Jeter and retired catcher Jorge Posada, who won five World Series rings in pinstripes, were dreadful defenders but elite hitters. And overall if defense were that essential to winning than players like Ryan would be coveted free agents instead of really cheap fill-ins. Also, when Ryan was acquired last September in a trade with the Mariners, I saw him botch a bunch of double plays (not an error), as well as miss a few hops in the 17-games he played in the Bronx. So not so sure that Ryan’s defensive wizard reputation seems to be outdated and stale.
2) The 2013 Yankees biggest weakness was hitting.
That is why signing big, power bats this offseason is absolutely critical in order for the Yankees to field a contending “championship caliber” team.
That is why signing a player who couldn’t hit a tennis ball at the plate seems like the Yankees are going in the wrong direction. It certainly explains why inherited owner Hal Steinbrenner is so defensively focused…. it costs nothing.
The Yankees have Mark Teixeira’s big bat returning, along with Alfonso Soriano who can knock in 30+ homers but that is not enough.
What I don’t get is how Ryan’s league worst slugging percentage, third worst OPS and a BA below the Mendoza-Line gets a pass, but Granderson’s high strikeout numbers are so worrisome that the Yankees are willing to his 40+ homers and 100+ RBIs walk?
3) First priority was Ryan, really? What about…Curtis Granderson? Robinson Cano? Brian McCann? Signing those three players would fix the offense issues, so what is the hold-up? MLB Network’s Peter Gammons tweeted that this Ryan deal was actually done weeks ago.
Yanks Zbrendan Rtan deal was set weeks ago, pending a physical following minor surgery
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 14, 2013
The Phillies just re-signed starting catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year, $26 million deal. The Phillies added a third year, and increased the average annual value of the deal to guarantee Ruiz in stayed put, as the Red Sox and Rockies were in hot pursuit.
So why haven’t the Yankees done this with Granderson, Jayson Nix or Mark Reynolds?
What about Stephen Drew or Johnny Peralta?
And where the heck is Eric Chavez?
Even thought Chavez is older and has had a ton of injuries over the years, he is still a way better option than Ryan.
Another reason is due to Hal’s preference of shopping in the bargain bin, inking Ryan frees up Nunez to be traded for a starting pitcher.
Bottom line is you don’t talk righteousness and go sleep with the devil.
And it is about time that baby Hal puts is money where his mouth is.
As the saying goes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.