The New York Yankees are getting a great glove, along with a funny character, with infielder Brendan Ryan. Though he won't be eligible for the postseason because he was added to the organization after Aug. 31, Ryan ought to help the Yankees in their unlikely quest for a playoff spot.
Ryan, a gifted fielder at shortstop, came Tuesday night in a trade from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later. With the health of captain Derek Jeter uncertain as he struggles to return from a stubborn ankle surgery, the Yankees apparently decided they needed help at short and Ryan's defense was the best available. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Jeter is "still in a holding pattern" after being held out of the lineup Tuesday in New York's 7-5 victory at Baltimore. The Associated Press adds:
Eduardo Nunez has been filling in for Jeter. Nunez provides energy on offense, but his defense is suspect.
New York has 17 games remaining to make up a two-game deficit in a crowded AL wild-card scramble that also includes Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Cleveland and Kansas City.
Though defensive metrics aren't as reliable as those used to measure hitting, Ryan's defense at short by any judge is superior to everyone this side of Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons. Ryan's hitting, which wasn't terrible earlier in his career, has been regressing. Ryan, 31, is batting .192/.254/.265 this season, a drop from his career-worst production in 2012.
Also, few players in the majors are reputed to have as an engaging of a personality as Ryan, though that hasn't always translated into glowing reviews from teammates, who have complained about his punctuality. And then there was the famous Chris Carpenter lecture in the dugout.
But, as long as Ryan joins the Yankees on their road trip and doesn't stop in New York City first and get his ballparks confused, he should get off to a fast start with his new teammates.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on June 23, 2009:
Back when he actually was a rookie and looked every bit like a rookie [in 2007] Ryan hopped in a taxi outside the team hotel room here in Manhattan and told the cabbie to take him to "the stadium."
With the clock ticking toward when he was supposed to be present, dressed and ready in the Cardinals' clubhouse, the cabbie pulled up at the destination and said something like: "Here ya go ... Yankee Stadium."
Ryan, of course, meant the other stadium, Shea Stadium, where his teammates wondered how he got lost this time.
At least the pattern of wackiness ended there, right?! Hey, one man's slovenly is another man's colorful.
One more thing: He can rock a mustache like few others.
Big BLS H/N: Tom Musick on Twitter