Update: Yankees “close” to re-signing Brendan Ryan

Heyman: Hal, Jeter have spoken about the Yankees' needs at shortstop
Looking for the extra 200 innings

Tuesday, 9:15am: Peter Gammons says the two sides had the contract worked out weeks ago, but Ryan had minor surgery after the season and they had to wait for the pre-signing physical. Sounds like it’s a done deal.

Wednesday, 6:11pm: The Yankees are “close” to re-signing Ryan, reports Joel Sherman. The contract is said to be “small” and would not deter the team from bringing in other players to improve the left side of the infield.

12:20pm: Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees and Brendan Ryan have mutual interest in a reunion and a deal could happen quickly. The no-hit, slick-fielding infielder indicated a willingness to return to New York after the season. The Yankees clearly need help on the left side of the infield, though I’m hoping for someone who can contribute (much) more at the plate.

Heyman: Hal, Jeter have spoken about the Yankees' needs at shortstop
Looking for the extra 200 innings
  • Anthony

    Meh. They need someone who is much more stronger offensively at the SS position. Can’t count on Nunez and you certainly can’t count on Jeter

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      …so…who would that be?

    • Nick

      They’re paying Jeter 12 million dollars to be the shortstop. If you start talking about bringing in a player who can hit at the position, you’re talking about dumping 20 M+ into the shortstop position. With the 189 M budget, that’s just…. yikes.

      Honestly, I’m ok with Ryan being plan B (or C) at SS. If they fortify RF, C and 3B and bring back Cano then a light hitting SS/9 hitter won’t be the biggest concern. I’d rather see them focus on that then spend a ton of money on a backup SS.

      • Anthony

        So then you know what? Don’t pay Derek Jeter $12M to be your shortstop. He’s a shortstop in his 40s who has developed significant injuries to his ankle. He’s also a Yankee icon, there was no chance Jeter was going to sign elsewhere. He got that money because he’s Derek Jeter, which is fine if you have an a passable option that can replace him when he goes down. If Jeter gets hurt, can the Yankees really afford another season of Brendan Ryan types at SS? That situation is even worse if A-Rod’s suspension is upheld. We all saw just how bad the Yankees were when they didn’t have capable options to play 3B & SS. They need a better utility infielder than Nunez and Ryan.

        I love Jeter…I just don’t buy this idea that he’s going to play the majority of this season.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Brendan Ryan was a big upgrade over most of what they sent out at SS this year.

          • Dick M

            Amen brother Ben.

      • UncleArgyle

        Jeter isn’t a Short Stop. He’s a DH who stands between 2nd and 3rd w a glove on.

    • nycsportzfan

      I love the resigning of Ryan and have been hoping he resigns since the offseason began. I don’t care what he did before joining us, he seemed to fit in perfectly on defense and at the plate. I think we might get more then we bargained for with Ryan. Good solid move.

  • Darren

    This doesn’t seem like a good solution. Can’t imagine the Yankees are goona carry Jeter, Ryan, Nunez AND sign a Peralta or Drew. I guess if they sign one of those guys they could get rid of Nunie. But I think I’d rather have Nunez than Ryan.

    • Preston

      Over 270 games at MLB Eduardo Nunez has been worth -1.9 WAR. Even if you think he is going to improve, it seems pretty optimistic to think he’s ever going to be anything much more than a replacement level player. Ryan is the better player, and he’s a player who’s value can be maximized by pinch hitting and being used as a replacement fielder in the late innings so that you get can him as many innings in the field as possible while limiting his AB’s as much as possible, which pairs well with Derek Jeter who we want to do the exact opposite with. Nunez has no skill to maximize, he’s not a very good hitter, and he’s one of the worst defenders in all of baseball.

      • Darren

        I wouldn’t go crazy arguing for Nunez over Ryan, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk either way.obviously if this was 1999 and you’re signing a pure back-up, you go with Ryan. But considering the back-up is likley going to spell Jeter for more than a few games, I think you have to consider an bility o generate even some offense.

        Nunez showed long stretches of adequacy in the field plus frequent ability to hit line drives. Ryan showed an inability to hit at all, with extremely flashy defense, interspersed with a weird case of the bobbles. Hopefully that was just an anamoly.

        I guess the answer is, pray with all your heart that Derek Jeter is healthy.

        • Mac

          Ryan has had two seasons in the last 5 where he was worth 2.8 fWAR and two others where he was worth at least 1.3. He’s not that good, but he’s not a half bad player overall.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’d rather have chlamydia than Nunez. What does that mean?

      • http://Riveravenueblues Marty L

        I read the comments every day, especially in season, but rarely comment myself. However, kudos to Mr. Tilapia :). Chalamydia. Funny. One might even say pithy. Not sure of the spelling though. Will ask the wife.

        • I’m One

          Why ask your wife, has she been treated for it?

  • Frank

    Makes perfect sense. Jeter in no longer an everyday SS. Jeter should be slotted as the platoon DH.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Not sure what this has to do with Ryan.
      He’s not a starting SS.

      • Mac

        Ryan has been a stating SS for five seasons now. He’s not a stud, but he’s been a decent enough starter. 20th SS in the last five years in terms of fWAR.

  • Pete

    It’s a shame because I really want to like the idea of Ryan in pinstripes again. We need a dependable position player on the left side and he is that and more. I WANT to say we don’t need an offensive star at every position and he’d be a fine number 8-9 hitter who can make up for his offensive inefficiencies w/ his glove. The problem is, this isn’t 3 years ago anymore, and they really can’t afford to have ANOTHER black hole in the lineup…

  • Dr. Grenaldine

    I have a feeling we should get used to these kinds of boring headlines for the entire offseason

  • FLYER7

    A bench of Reynolds, Johnson and Ryan for infield depth is okay by me…may mean that they carry one less OFer or one less pitcher but I think the team needs more bench backups due to returning ages/injuries of some core returnees…

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      I want no part of Nick Johnson.

      • MannyGeee

        He obviously meant Avery Johnson.

    • Mac

      Would be a pretty great bench. I think it will be tough to get Johnson especially but probably also Reynolds to sign for a bench role where their PAs may be really limited. Perhaps they would platoon at 3B if the Yankees had one of the highest offers. I have no idea what Johnson wants to do, but a lot of teams need a 2B and he’s a decent one. Reynolds is a 1B/DH, so maybe he can get a lot of DH PAs… but I would love to get a better bat there.

  • FLYER7

    None of this precludes Peralta or Drew signing to start, this is just bench depth and I would rather have them then Nix or Noonie…

    • Dan

      I’m good with it if it’s bench depth. But not if Ryan is going to get 300+ ABs.

    • Mac

      I don’t know about that. Ryan is arguably the third best SS on the market. I don’t know if he’s signing for a straight bench role as a team’s third choice at SS. He should be able to find a better gig than that. At least backing up someone who is not as good as Drew or Peralta.

  • Mike HC

    Jeter, Nunez and Ryan is as good as it is going to get. And that is fine in my book. It is really on Jeter to stay healthy and be above average.

  • Bobby d

    I hope the yanks sign Ryan. He’s a spectacularly good fielder but if you watched him carefully in the games he was in he has an intangible quality to him. Even though he may not be what you would call a good hitter there is something about his at bats where I could see him being a big contributor in clutch spots a la a guy named Brosius.

  • Bobby d

    Also when you consider the fact tha he had 92 defensive runs saved over the last five years, twice as many as any other shortstop in the majors and you should have offensive production from Jeter and other areas of the lineup this would be a good move!

  • Dan

    Can we please go after a SS who can actually hit? Peralta is an above-average hitter, he can play 3 positions, and he’s not attached to a draft pick. He would be perfect for this team.

  • Dick M

    He’s the one that I want. One of the best shortstops on the planet. You can’t count on Jeter. You also can’t count how many runs Ryan will save. I know Ryan’s challenged offensively but at that position it’s defense first. I also think some of his offensive issues are mechanical and can be fixed.

    If you bring Grandy back (he likes it here and would take 3 for 40-45) you have plenty of pop in the OF with him, Gardy and Sori. Cano and Tex on the right side and you commit to the kids at catcher. Then all you need offensively is a 3b caddie for A-Rod and a legit DH (no Ichiro, no Wells). The only weak spot offensively would be Ryan and maybe the kid catchers. How easy can it be!!

    You do need 2 starting pitchers. The Japanese guy and Garza.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    He also plays 2B and 3B, so he’s a great bench player when taking into effect the uncertainty of Jeter, Arod and Cano. If we build a team with Ryan as the weakest offensive link, I’m OK with that. It’s when he’s next to Ichiro, Nix, and Murphy that the bottom of the order is a black hole. All Yankees baseball aside, he’s a ton of fun to watch play.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Certainly not my first choice, as I’d like to see a better balance from someone who could potentially be in a lot of games, but tell me you’re going bigger in other areas and I’ll be fine.

    • Mac

      He’s not the best choice, but if the Yankees either can’t lure or don’t want to pay Drew or Peralta… he might be their best choice. Almost their only choice. Outside those top two you’re looking at guys like Furcal and Jamey Carroll and Luis Cruz.

      I like Danny Espinosa as a possibly buy low candidate, but who knows what the Nats or Yankees think of him?

  • dars

    Yankees have the chance to make Cano and the $22-24 million they will pay him into – David Freese $4 M, Jarred Saltalamacchia $9 M, Kelly Johnson $ 6 M and Eric Chavez $3 and still spend on Choo, Tanaka, another pitcher and a bullpen arm like Rodney or Balfour.

    I think it is a no brainer, let Cano walk….

    Line up
    1.Gardner CF
    2.Jeter DH
    3.Choo RF
    4.Teixeira 1B
    5.Soriano LF
    6.Saltalamacchia C
    7.Freese 3B
    8.Johnson 2B
    9.Ryan/Nunez SS

    Bench: Ichiro, Wells, Chavez, Cervelli y Nunez/Ryan

    Rotation: Sabathia, Tanaka, Nova, Pineda and Garza

    • AndrewYF

      All of those players combined wouldn’t add up to the 6-8 WAR Cano will provide all by himself.

      • Mac

        This. Those four have combined for like 13.8 fWAR the past two seasons vs. Cano’s 13.7.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      That team would look much better if you swapped out Kelly Johnson for Robinson Cano.

  • CashmanNinja

    I’m glad it looks like Brendan Ryan is coming back. His offense is non-existent, but I love his glove. Just seeing him range on the 2nd base side of the bag to snag a ground ball was beautiful. He saved a few base hits up the middle. He’s basically just a glove, but any offense he provides is a bonus. Plus it’s not like the guy is going to get a ton of $$.

  • FLYER7

    Honestly Nunez, a catcher (Cervelli or Romine) and a pitcher (choose any back end starter candidate) in a package brings back exactly what?

  • MannyGeee

    I am perfectly fine with Ryan as the Nix of 2014.

    A wise man once told us (@JoePawls) that when choosing a utility infielder, think glove 1st. I think you can’t do better (in a bubble, considering only that criteria) than Ryan

    • Mac

      I still don’t understand that sentiment or think it’s wise. You’re very unlikely to find a FA UTL who can hit, but I don’t see any reason to concentrate on glove just because a guy will play less.

  • Alfredo N

    My line up would be:

    Gardner CF
    Jeter DH
    Cano 2B
    Teixeira 1B
    Choo RF
    Soriano LF
    Perralta 3B
    Ruiz C
    Ryan/ Nunez SS


    But i do not think the yankees can fit that all into the 189 million self inputed cap.

  • omg,,,wtf is the bfg

    in the short Brendan Ryan sample size that I saw when he joined the Yankees, it seemed like he robbed two hits a game with his glove. If he averages .75 hits a game and 1.5 taken away hits, isn’t that a pretty productive?

    I defer to the smarter baseball minds in the group.

  • Tom

    Ryan posted -0.6 WAR last year.

    While this is a step up from Nunez (ouch!), it is still replacement-ish level if you squint hard enough and round up.

    I think there should be some concern whether he will maintain an elite glove. While he is only 31 or 32(?), defense peaks earlier than offense and he could be in decline. His advanced #’s last year showed a marked decline – though even with that decline he was still an above average SS defensively (just not elite).

    While these stats can be noisy year to year, SS stats tends to stabilize more quickly (more chances) and given Ryan is at an age where you might expect some decline on defense, I think that should be a real concern that it is not simply noise. Maybe a mix of some decline and some noise?

    I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I’d almost prefer keeping Nix (just don’t hit him 2nd!) over Ryan. Especially if the Yankees can try to focus the Jeter off/DH days against lefties where Nix’ bat should be better than it was last year when he was pretty much forced to play everyday against righties or lefties.

    • Mac

      This is not a convincing argument. It’s built on largely baseless speculation that is only supported by one data point. I can’t tell you whether you’ve right or wrong in predicting Ryan’s defensive decline, but I can tell you that this approach is going to lead to a TON of missed opportunities and to a lot of overpaying for recent results that don’t reflect the underlying talent.

      Your assumption that it has to either be decline or noise is flawed. It could also very easily just be a bad season. He just had surgery, so that injury or some other injury could have caused his performance next season but be irrelevant going forward. Or it could be any number of other physical, mental, or off-field issues that hurt him last season and may or may not next season. Or it could have also have been noise or decline. Hopefully the Yankees have a better idea about this than we do.

      You generally seem to imply that decline is a straight line thing. For some players it is, but for many it is not.

      I don’t know if your assumption that defense ages harshly is all that well founded. For starters, Ryan’s offensive decline the last two years straight is more troubling to me than his one down defensive season. When you look at SS around the league who played at least 500 innings in 2013, 4 of the top 10 in UZR/150 were 30 or older. 2 of the bottom 10 were. (There were 33 in total. Middle 13 had 4… so the old guys were pretty evenly distributed.) Clint Barmes was #2 and he was 34 last season.

      I don’t know that the Yankees have to make an either/or decision on Ryan and Nix at this point, They may be able to bring both to camp and maybe even into the opening season. However, Jayson Nix is 5 months younger than Ryan. He has the exact same career offensive production. He is below average defensively at SS on his career. We’ll have to see what their respective price tags are, but there’s little evidence that Nix is better going forward in absolute terms.
      And why are you giving Derek Jeter the day off against LHP? He absolutely crushes LHP.

      • Tom

        So player aging curves are baseless speculation? It’s not that Ryan’s defense needs to age harshly – if he ages at all it is a bad outcome. The only way he is a positive WAR player is if he is an elite (+15) type defender, or his bat rebounds a lot. He had a UZR/150 of +3.3 last year if this rebounds to +10 he’s still a 0 fWAR player (if his bat stays the same)

        Also I have no clue what 4 of the 10 SS’s in UZR/150 being over 30 has to do with player aging. You kind of have to look at year to year data to observe aging.

        So here are the 4 guys you hold up against my baseless speculation that there should be concern that Ryan’s #’s last year are potentially reflecting some decline:

        JJ Hardy – lowest UZR/150 of his career. Down ~40% from his last 3 years which were pretty stable.

        Yunel Escobar – up significantly by UZR/150, down by DRS

        Alexei Ramirez – down significantly by UZR/150 Down 40-50% over his past 3 years which were pretty stable

        Stephen Drew – tough to analyze as he had to deal with all those injuries in 2011 and 2012. His UZR/150 last year was down 40% from the last full season he played (2010). It was also down from his 2011 #’s Could be age, could be he just diminished from the injury and his decline has nothing to do with age.

        So, yeah 4 of the top 10 SS’s by UZR/150 are age 30 or more…and all but Escobar may be showing age decline. What’s your point of counting the # of SS’s in the top 10 in a given year? Players can still be good AND be declining.

        Ryan may not follow the aging curve, maybe he’s one of the guys who beats it; but if you are projecting you tend to play the percentages and there is some data to suggest he is already on the curve. I think assuming he will rebound to an elite defender is problematic – it could happen but the aggregate odds would suggest he doesn’t.

        And DH/offday = “offday” at DH are you just looking for reasons to argue now and couldn’t figure that out?

        • Mac

          Player aging curves are an average of all players, not a rule for every player. It’s not about “beating” the aging curve. It’s that aging is rarely a straight-line thing for individual players. It’s about understanding an individual aging curve vs. the nice smooth average of all aging curves. The aggregate odds do not suggest it won’t happen, you are misunderstanding what you’re talking about between using one data point to suggest a trend and projecting the average curve onto individual players.

          And you have offered no evidence whatsoever that Ryan is at a point in his career where we should expect decline outside of your say so. I went out to look at SS around the league, and the evidence contradicted your say so. You have shown no player aging curve whatsoever, merely alluded to the fact that one exists. I’m pretty tired of you making evidence based assertions without offering any evidence to back them up.

          Since when is #11 in the top 10? Clint Barmes is #2 on the list and was age 34. I stated that very clearly in my comment. You can’t even identify who is in the top ten, which says a lot about the quality of your analysis. If you are still among the best in the league even if you are declining slightly, who gives a shit?

          Let’s actually look at the trends. I’m glad to do that, I just assumed you wouldn’t need that when you saw how many of the top defensive SS were on the wrong side of 30. I underestimated how stubborn and possibly stupid you are, though. Again here you misunderstand what a trend it. JJ Hardy had one slightly down year. That is not a trend. It’s actually right in line with what he did in 2005 and 2008, and he bounced back from both of those years. Deciding this one is aging and those were whatever else is just projecting your own narrative onto the data. Barmes has been steady at elite SS defense for 3 straight seasons of extended playing time at the spot and 5 straight seasons overall. Escobar is possibly the most inconsistent player in the world, but he’s had two straight strong defensive seasons and there’s not much evidence he’s declining at all. There is a legitimate trend of decline with Ramirez. 4 out of 5 have no trend of decline, though.

          (In all seriousness, you should stop picking data to fit your narrative if you want to be taken seriously. You literally switched back and forth between different defensive stats to find evidence of decline here. That’s not the way stats should be used. You have to look at the data objectively if you want to actually learn from it and validate your point. The objective isn’t to be right all the time, it’s to learn whether your hypothesis is right or not.)

          There is not “some data” that Ryan is declining defensively. There is one data point. If you are projecting trends on one data point you need to take an intro stats class.

          “And DH/offday = “offday” at DH are you just looking for reasons to argue now and couldn’t figure that out?”

          Are you really that unwilling to admit when you’re wrong that you lie about what you said? You said: ” if the Yankees can try to focus the Jeter off/DH days.” If you meant off days at DH, why didn’t you say that? A “/” demonstrates separation. Why were you using it to express unity?

          • Mac

            The very fact that Ryan suddenly dropped off drastically from one season to another, by the way, contradicts your point that he’s on the average aging curve. If he were following the average aging curve it would have been a gradual decline. Players don’t tend to follow the average aging curve, though, and we don’t use one year’s worth of stats to project the next season’s stats.

  • Peter Venckman

    So there’s a chance we could have Ryan and Stewart in the lineup next year. DON’T CROSS THE NOODLES!

  • Ray

    Watching Ryan play SS last season was like watching Teixeira play 1B after years of watching Giambi “field” the position. Ryan’s range is immeasurable compared to that of Jeter. The Yankees are not going to win on offense for the next few years, so it’s defensive upgrades like Ryan that make me smile. Also, he’s fun to watch!

  • Ray

    Btw, can we all agree to never mention Chris Stewart’s name again?

    • Betty Lizard

      If i do have to refer to him, it shall be as
      Sirhc Trawets
      so he shall have no power over me.

      • Havok9120

        Well done.

  • Adam

    Please notify NYC to get the Canyon of Heroes ready!

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Exciting! I can’t wait to see Ryan in the 8th and 9th every game this year…hopefully his glove stays slick and he keeps Jeter from breaking another bone.