Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The End of Brendan Ryan


The All-Star Break is a bit of a Catch 22 for the New York Yankees this season because while the rest can do a body good the rest can also do a body good, let me explain. The Yankees bullpen is overworked, anyone who watches the games can see that, and could use the four or five days off depending on their usage before and after the break but in the same token some of those injured Yankees players are also taking advantage of the rest. While Alex Rodriguez and others are recharging the batteries players like Brendan Ryan and Carlos Beltran are rehabbing injuries and will be able to come off the disabled list after the break. The Yankees aren’t going to rid themselves of Beltran and eat that hefty contract for 2015 and 2016 but if the team has any inkling of a brain inside their collective heads this will be the end of Brendan Ryan.

How many weak hitting defensive minded middle infielders do the Yankees really need? Take Ryan out of the equation and fill him in with Gregorio Petit or Cole Figueroa and you receive comparable defense with equivalent offensive outputs for half the cost or more. Instead it seems likely that the team will send Robert Refsnyder, who made the biggest mistake of his life collecting two hits including a game winning home run in the first half finale inside Fenway Park, back down to Triple-A to accommodate Ryan. Ryan has been injured for much of his Yankees tenure, his defense hasn’t been bad but has been far from as advertised and he’s more of a black hole in the lineup than Stephen Drew is which speaks a lot for that aspect of Ryan’s game.

The Yankees can easily eat Ryan’s remaining contract and not bat an eyelash so the money factor is off the table, it should come down to the need in the infield. Ryan’s biggest strength is his ability to play the shortstop position but with Refsnyder at second platooning with Drew you have a legitimate backup shortstop option with Mr. .170.  Ryan can also back up at second and third base in a pinch, so can Drew, while the Yankees have used him at first base on occasion, they have used Garrett Jones, a healthy Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Chase Headley there too though.

Ryan has no real spot on this team and he really only hurts the team’s makeup and chemistry by being added back into the rotation. Cut your losses, announce the designation for assignment and let’s watch this team go win an American League East Division title and make a deep October playoff run. The team has eaten the contracts of Vernon Wells, Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano in consecutive seasons so the Ryan contract should be no skin off Hal’s nose…. The problem is just convincing Brian Cashman that it’s a good idea.


13 comments:

  1. This is a very poorly researched article. To say that taking Ryan out of the equation and you'd get comparable defense from Petit or Figueroa really illustrates the point. Lets keep in mind that Ryan had the most defensive runs saved for any SS between 2009-2013 with 95. In fact, he had twice as many DRS as the second place guy - Alexi Rameriz with 44. Ryan has also won a Fielding Bible Award as the best defensive SS in MLB and has been runner up to the award a few other times. Drew on the other hand has never been voted into the top 15 for a Fielding Bible Award which unlike the Gold Glove is based on merit and not popularity.The Petit and Figueroa comparison to Ryan is just flat out ridiculously absurd - the real discussion should be between Ryan and Drew.
    Drew is currently the worst hitter in baseball and ranked by Fangraphs as the 2nd worst defensive 2B. He has hit HR's but several have been in blowouts and a few were very important. Ryan on the other hand is still outstanding with the glove contrary to the authors claims, will hit better than .180 given AB's, will run the bases better and is one of the most liked guys in the clubhouse. We have the left handed power bat off the bench in Garrett Jones and sometimes Beltran so is Drew's ability to strike out, pop up or hit a dinger that valuable or are we better off with someone that can really play + defense and do all the little things. It's a no brainer to me.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2009&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=10,d

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    1. Great stats, good thing we're not in 2009-2013, neither Ryan, Figueroa or Petit would be playing full time and that was about 15 (exaggeration, not poorly researched) back and other various injuries ago for Ryan.

      Maybe I was stretching a little using the word comparable, if I was then my bad, but to have a guy on the team simply because he used to win Fielding Bible awards is absurd. The guy is going to play once a week if he's lucky and come in late in games for defensive purposes. That's it.

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    2. I used 2009 - 2013 because that's when he was starting and it is a large sample size. His defense may not be as sharp as it was a few years ago but it I believe it is still at the elite level. Also, I think you probably already know that using small sample sizes as it pertains to defense is very unreliable. I think where we mainly disagree is in your devaluation of BR’s defense.

      Ref is being called up because of his bat. It looks like Drew is losing his job because of his bat. So why would we keep Drew? Because he can come off the bench and hit HR's? Aren't we covered in the left handed PH off the bench role with Garrett Jones? So if he's not even the primary guy to PH vs righties what do we have left? A guy that has been historically average to slightly below average defensively and that has been the worst hitter in baseball over the last two years and is really bad on the basepaths?

      Why wouldn't we keep the player who's best asset we can exploit - Ryan has made a career out of contributing to teams wins with his glove. I don't think he could hit any worse than Drew and I know he literally runs circles around him defensively. Also, Didi hit .176 against lefties in the first half – We wouldn’t lose a thing on the offensive or defensive side running Ryan out there against tough lefties.
      On the flip side, Ryan’s injuries definitely do not work in his favor. That being said – we still have Pirela and Petit waiting in the wings.

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    3. I understand a large sample size and I'm all for it when it comes to full-time players. We're not talking a full-time player comparison here we're talking about a pair of players who may see the field once or twice in a week. I did agree that I may have been stretching a bit to call his defense comparable to Petit's or Figueroa's, you are correct.

      Ryan was a great defender the last time we got a chance to see him on a regular basis, i.e. when Derek Jeter was still on the team, but the recent rash of injuries leaves much to the imagination.

      Drew is being left on the bench for his ability to hit home runs, yes. That's not my call and I am not entirely sure if I 100% agree with it or not to be honest. I like what he adds defensively at shortstop and second base, and yes I realize that Ryan could provide better defense there as well, but I also like having a (for lack of a better term) power threat off the bench. Drew may hit a home run once every two weeks or so or hit a key double once every week or so but Ryan hits a home run every year or so (again, exaggeration and not a lack of research). Coming off the bench the power generally means a lot more than a guy who may or may not line a single over someone's head (and neither will do it with any sort of consistency mind you).

      Frankly I don't want either on the team but I know I'm not the one calling the shots. If it were up to me the team would upgrade over both of them but I have as much of an obsession with a strong bench as Girardi has with stacking left-handed hitters against a right-handed pitcher, I can't help it.

      I do appreciate your criticism, your opinion and your post here and I hope that you stick around and keep me in line more often. Nice to have you here.

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  2. He who's name is too long to repeat. That was a good response with some very good points. Almost sounds like it was written by Ryan himself. Defensively, you're right. Ryan is a better fielder than Drew and Figueroa. But I have to argue about his offensive contributions. He hasn't hit over .200 since his 2011 season. A season in which he hit .248/.313/.326. Hard to imagine that he would improve offensively or defensively since he's now 4 years older and hasn't been able to stay off the disabled list. Don't take this as a defense of Drew, but him simply being able to stay on the active roster is a step above what Ryan has to offer so far.

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    1. I see what you are saying - the injury thing doesn't hurt my argument. I just feel like we've seen Drew - he hasn't produced. We have Ryan so why not throw him out there and see what happens. He hasn't played this year because of injuries and he wasn't given any kind of opp last year with Jeter entrenched. If Ryan is a repeat of Drew then turn it over to Pirela or Petit. None of these guys are going to play worse than what we have seen. Also, Drews greatest asset is hitting HR's but that would be cancelled out since Jones is the #1 LH hitter off the bench.

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    2. I think the line of thinking, not that it matters much since neither Drew or Ryan will hit especially well, is that Drew and Refsnyder will platoon a bit at second base leaving Refsnyder on the bench at times with Jones.

      For what it's worth Jones (yes, sample size) is hitting a home run every 25.8 at bats which is slightly above his career average of 23.8 at bats. That factors in three seasons where he hit 20 home runs plus in a season and years of being an every day player.

      Drew is hitting a home run this season every 20.6 at bats which is much better than his average of 37.0 at bats per home run. What does it mean? It probably means he plays inside Yankee Stadium.

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    3. Hey buddy, please get a shorter user name. We're pretty casual here, and pretty much know each other by first name or nickname. That being said, you seem to be an intellectual baseball type, and I can respect that. Could you please explain why you feel an extremely light hitting 34 year old ex shortstop would benifit this team? I'm just not seeing it. But as Hans would say, I'm not always right. Please enlighten us.

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    4. That is true Levin and neither am I

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  3. Damn glad I am too late for this discussion! I wouldn't keep either one of...Drew or Ryan! That is what Cashman gets paid for, finding and signing guys...Cash, find me a utility player for the infield the is not a disgrace!
    You guys all had great points and counter points but if I had to make the choice it would be Ryan staying.

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    1. Bring me Prado and you don't really have a need for either.

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    2. Did you see that, one word answer...that is a record for me! LOL

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)