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Yankees should avoid replacing Derek Jeter with Hanley Ramirez at all costs

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Derek Jeter may be gone, but, the New York Yankees shouldn't waste lots of money pursuing someone like Hanley Ramirez, for a change.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

With Derek Jeter's farewell tour concluded, the gaping void at shortstop next year for the New York Yankees is ever more evident. Naturally, like every other year, the Yankees are likely to spend big to ensure a place in the playoffs and in doing so will most certainly need to find a replacement for Jeter. With big shoes to fill, it is likely that they will spend significant money to fill the hole. With J.J. Hardy off the market, many think that Hanley Ramirez is the answer.

Hanley Ramirez is not the answer.

Contrary to what many people believe, replacing The Captain with an offensive force is not the way forward. For the vast majority of successful teams, having a strong glove is the biggest priority for their shortstop. Look at the two World Series teams: The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals. Neither Brandon Crawford or Alcides Escobar are offensive forces, but both play superb defense. Ramirez should be no exception.

Hanley had a defensive runs saved of -9, which is simply woeful. His ultimate zone rating over a 150 game season of -15.6 is also horrific and is 3.1 points lower than the retiring Jeter. He also made fifteen errors, four more than Jeter.

Long story short: Ramirez is quite simply dreadful on defense, probably even worse than Jeter was last year -- which is a scary thought. The Yankees need someone who can field their position with the best of them, not someone who will cost them runs.

Teams favor defense at short

After all, in 2013, the league average wRC+ -- weighted runs created plus, the most accurate offensive metric -- for a shortstop was a mere 88, which shows that teams favor defensive value as opposed to offensive value at short. Ramirez's wRC+ of 135 is heads and shoulders above the league average, but is a high wRC+ from their middle infielder truly what the Yankees need? Not in the slightest. Their team accumulated 92 errors last season, leaving ten teams with fewer errors. With a premier defensive shortstop, they could be the best defensive team in the game.

Offensively, don't get me wrong, Ramirez is a force. When he gets hot he can carry his team on his back. However, his steamer predictions for next season reinforce the inevitable; his offensive production is likely to descend, year after year as of now. In a thin free agent class, a shortstop like Ramirez could probably get himself a seven-year-deal, which is a daunting thought and must be avoided.

Yankees need peaking players, not post-peak players

The Yankees for years now have been an experienced/old team, and consequentially have been hindered by injuries throughout the year. The last thing they need now is another injury-prone player. What may be even more valuable than the potential production Ramirez could bring, is someone who could stay on the field for 150-or-so games. Hanley played in 128 games this season, only 86 in 2013, and just 92 in 2011.

There are other options

This year's free agent class is pretty poor if you're shopping for positional players, and even more so for infielders. In turn, it is likely that the trade market will be very active. So the Yankees' best move would be to look at working out a trade to acquire a new man for short. Guys like Starlin Castro, Andrelton Simmons, Troy Tulowitzki or even someone like Ehire Adrianza could all be available.

Don't listen to the hype. Don't be advocating for the Yankees to sign Hanley Ramirez to fill the void left by the Hall of Fame bound Derek Jeter at shortstop. If you want him to play third base for you (and move A-Rod back to his home position at SS?), it may be a different story. Hanley's injuries and inadequate defense make him a risk, but his offense would be a very nice addition.

Still, in terms of shortstop: The New York Yankees should avoid replacing Derek Jeter with Hanley Ramirez at all costs.