Yankees to sign Brendan Ryan, Derek Jeter replacement

Elsa

New York has agreed to terms on a contract to bring shortstop Brendan Ryan back for the 2014 season.

Derek Jeter will be back next year. But just in case he goes down again, the Yankees have secured their contingency plan in defensive savant Brendan Ryan. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Yankees have reached an agreement on a one-year deal to bring Ryan back to the Bronx for 2014. Buster Olney of ESPN.com notes that the deal is not yet finalized, but says that the value is in the range of $2 million.

In September, the Yankees traded a player to be named later for Ryan in an effort to fill in for Jeter after he broke his ankle earlier that month. Ryan could also afford the Yankees some lineup flexibility, as Joe Girardi can now use Jeter at DH and get Ryan's run-saving glove at short.

Ryan posted the worst defensive performance since 2008, putting up a UZR/150 of 3.2 and just 6 DRS, according to FanGraphs. Those marks were still good enough to make him one of the top 10 or 15 shortstops in 2013, but Ryan was the best in baseball from 2010-12 with 67 DRS and a 14.3 UZR/150 over that span. The Yankees clearly expect elite that kind of elite defense from Ryan going forward.

He has struggled in the batter's box throughout his career, but his exceptional glove has earned him a career 9.3 fWAR. He's failed to hit .200 two years in row, but that is more likely a result of a dip in BABIP than a significant decline in talent. He's probably closer to his career .237/.299/.320 line.

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