Ken Rosenthal chimes in with the details of the Brendan Ryan contract: Two years, $5 million with a club and player option for a third year. With incentives, the deal could be worth $10 million.
It’s not the dollars that stand out, it’s the years. Two years, maybe three, for a utility infielder — especially one who’s hit .217/.283/.294 the past four years — says a lot about the state of the middle infield in the Yankees minor league system. There are some interesting young guys in the lowest levels, but up top, there’s very little at second base and shortstop. Corban Joseph just had shoulder surgery, David Adams didn’t hit much in his big league debut, and new addition Dean Anna is more of a grinder utility type than a potential everyday fill-in. There’s not much knocking on the door to suggest Ryan won’t have a role to play in the next year or two.
And then, of course, there’s Eduardo Nunez, who was given a chance to secure a long-term utility job — and maybe play his way into everyday status — but never showed enough consistency to give the Yankees confidence. He’s flashed strong tools from time to time, but the offense and defense have rarely been there on a consistent basis. Nunez is still not arbitration eligible, so there’s little reason to non-tender him, but the Yankees could most certainly shop him around in hopes of trading him to fill a hole elsewhere.
Ryan is a terrific defender, and at the very least his glove probably puts him at the top of the infield bench pecking order. He could handle shortstop if Derek Jeter isn’t up to the task, and he could be a one-dimensional alternative at either second base or third base should the Yankees need a replacement at those positions (which certainly isn’t out of the question).
At 31 years old, Ryan isn’t an all-star and he might never be an everyday player for the Yankees, but he’s also the type of player that the Yankees simply don’t have in the upper levels of their minor league system.
Associated Press photo