It’s kind of a disappointment that Brendan Ryan was traded to the New York Yankees so late in the season. There are multiple factors that went into the trade, the most notable one being that Derek Jeter was shut down for the rest of the year with his balky ankle that made all of 2013 a wash. But on the other hand, it would have been enthralling to watch Ryan and Robinson Cano control the middle infield for the Yanks for a majority of the season.
Ryan has unfathomable range, possibly the most of any shortstop in the majors. Just today, in a much-needed victory against the San Francisco Giants, he made two plays on the right side of second base, two out of the eight putouts he had in the matinee game. The prettiest play came in the top of the seventh to end the inning when Brandon Crawford hit a groundball up the middle and Ryan ranged into short right-center field and backhanded a flip to Cano at second in beautiful baseball perfection.
Cano also has some of the surest hands in baseball at his position and these two could have combined for many more outstanding plays if they had more time on the field together. With Ryan’s range toward second, it gives Cano more room to roam in the hole between first and second, locking up more space in the infield while also giving pitchers more confidence to let the batter put the ball in play and trust his defense.
An additional bonus is that Ryan has raised his batting average six points in just nine games played with the Yankees. Hitting coach Kevin Long says he could fix some problems he saw with Ryan’s swing, and it has apparently taken some effect, batting .233 with the Yanks when he only hit .192 for the Seattle Mariners in 87 games.
But what comes to mind first when talking about Ryan is his defense, and it was put on display right after he began dressing in pinstripes, and no matter the outcome in the playoff race, it will still be fun to watch the Yankees middle infield make spectacular plays for the remaining seven games.