On Opening Day 2014, Derek Jeter will sprint out to the position he has owned at Yankee Stadium for the past 19 seasons. The Captain was limited to just 17 total games last year after a myriad of injuries kept him sidelined. There is no doubting Jeter’s ability, but Derek will be turning 40 this season and it’s not reasonable to assume his production will mirror his 2012 season where he led the majors in hits and batted .316.
People have never doubted Jeter’s ability to handle the bat, but his range in the field has been a hot topic for years. His defense, coupled with his aging body, will lead to Derek needing more rest in the field than ever. Insert Brendan Ryan.
The slick fielding Ryan spent the latter part of the season with the New York Yankees last year, and he was as advertised. Ryan swings a wet noodle at the plate, but his fielding prowess has not only kept him in the league but it has allowed him to be a starter for four teams over seven years in the bigs. Given that Jeter is coming off an injury-plagued season, Ryan is a perfect security blanket.
Ryan will help the Yankees preserve their captain. Jeter can get full days off or even just DH from time to time because the Yankees retained Ryan. At 40-years-old, Jeter will be by far the oldest starting shortstop in the league so it was wise of the Yankees to have a back-up plan in order in case of injuries.
Brendan Ryan will add depth to the Yankees roster, field at a high percentage and spell Derek Jeter whenever he needs. Keeping Jeter fresh and healthy is key to the Yankees making a run at championship No. 28.