While it is difficult to suggest that Jeter's career is done based on his injury-riddled 2013 season, the Yankees would be wise to have a player on the roster that can fill an extended void should Jeter suffer a similar fate in 2014, or if he simply fails to perform.
Drew brings strong glove, decent bat and hefty price tag
Drew, 31 years old next season, is currently playing shortstop for the American League champion Boston Red Sox in the World Series and will likely cost the most of the three players. He could be presented a qualifying offer ($14.1 million), which means he'll not only be an expensive "backup" but will cost the Yankees a draft pick. Drew's 12-15 home run power and .764 career OPS are appealing for a shortstop, especially considering his above-average abilities in the field.
If the Red Sox extend him a qualifying offer -- which is questionable considering his current postseason performance -- the Yankees should end their thought process there. The Yankees can't afford to pay that kind of money AND lose a draft pick needed to replenish their flailing farm system for a player who may not see 500+ ABs if his sole purpose is insurance for Jeter.
Is Peralta done with PEDs?
Peralta was recently suspended for 50 games after being connected to the Biogenesis scandal. He returned to the Detroit Tigers for their postseason run and performed well at the plate considering his lengthy absence.
Peralta, who will be 32 for much of next season, is similar to Drew offensively (.755 career OPS) but lacks the same ability in the field. He will likely come with a lower price tag due to the apprehension attached to his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Peralta has the ability to play 3B, which could be alluring for the Yankees, as they may have some space to fill there as well due to Alex Rodriguez's impending suspension for his Biogenesis connection.
Peralta earned $6 million in 2013 and would probably receive an increase in salary despite his off-the-field indiscretions. Surely, a better option than Drew in terms of cost and length of contract, Peralta comes with his own set of question marks.
Go cheap; add defense with Ryan
Ryan, who will turn 32 in March 2014, is the more or less a one-dimensional player that will not provide much at the plate but could make a world of difference in the field. Ryan is considered one of the premier defenders at shortstop and would be a marked improvement over any Yankee fielding the position recently, including Jeter. But the Yankees would certainly lose something in the batting order as Ryan possesses a career line of .237/.299/.320 in 2,645 plate appearances.
Ryan may have a slight advantage over the other two players in that he will be less expensive and could accept a one-year deal. He is also used to sporadic playing time should Jeter remain healthy for a majority of the season. Finally, there is a familiarity with Ryan as he spent the last month of the 2013 season with the Bombers.
Not a priority this offseason
The Yankees will probably deal with this issue after they see about several others -- re-signing Robinson Cano, determining if they want to extend Curtis Granderson a qualifying offer (and if he'll accept), seeing if they win rights to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, and deciding if they'll make a run at free-agent catcher Brian McCann.
It will be an important decision, but one which won't be resolved right away. This also favors Ryan, who I think is better as a short-term option, considering Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera and J.J. Hardy are potential free agents, according to MLB Trade Rumors after the 2014 season. These are the players to look at as a replacement for Jeter, not Drew or Peralta.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
Chris Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor. He is a New York Yankees contributor published on Yahoo Sports and has previously written and edited content for several online sports publications. Chris is also the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo. For more baseball and sports commentary you can follow Chris on Twitter.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Yankees
- Derek Jeter
- Brendan Ryan
- Jhonny Peralta
- Stephen Drew