Now that we know that 2014 is going to be Derek Jeter's final season, let's consider some scenarios as to how his final season could play out, and what that means regarding the position of shortstop.
*Please note: this is intended to be a lighthearted post, since Jeter's retirement announcement is somewhat surprising, pretty sad and everyone's reminiscing is bringing me down. Please refrain from getting offended, because I would absolutely hate for the buzzkill scenario to happen.
Best Case Scenario:
Jeter returns from a season riddled with injuries and DL stints and is 100% healthy. Time moves backwards, Jeter's range increases, and he hits like it's 2012. He starts 150+ games, not because he insists on being put into the lineup, but because he's producing. When Jeter's not starting, Brendan Ryan plays shortstop (and his bat is better than expected!). Nunez makes it into zero games. CC finds his stuff again. Tanaka pitches like an ace. No one ends up on the disabled list because the team has been awarded 9,000,000 good karma points after the DL nightmare that was last season. In Jeter's final at-bat, he hits a walk-off home run to win a sixth World Series. I encourage you to stay a moment in dream world and enjoy this.
More Realistic Scenario:
Jeter splits time between shortstop and DH. He maintains decent health by sitting out a game or two a week. After a year-long break, "past a diving Jeter" becomes a thing again. Brendan Ryan hits .221/.285/.305 (his 2014 projections according to Steamer), but we don't totally hate him because he puts up a positive UZR at shortstop. Girardi sees Nunez and is overcome by the urge to give Nunie a chance to play, and he makes anywhere from 10-30 errors. Jeter catches the final out, a pop up to short, as the Yankees win the World Series.
Jeter only makes it into about 70 games because he can't stay healthy. Brendan Ryan becomes the everyday shortstop and an actual black hole in the lineup. His defense doesn't even begin to make up for it. Girardi has Nunez split time with Ryan, because he is easily lured in by the fact that Nunez has the better bat. The Yankees don't make any moves at all to improve shortstop. No one knows that Jeter's final game is his final game, 'cause he ends the season on the DL. Yankees fall to the Red Sox in the ALCS.
On a More Serious Note:
Stephen Drew is still on the market. If Jeter does get injured, is Brendan Ryan really the best option for everyday shortstop? His bat says no. I think that Yankee fans everywhere stand in collective agreement that Nunez has no business being the everyday shortstop. Drew has the better bat between the three of them, and his defense is decent (5.3 UZR with the Red Sox last season).
Do you think the Yankees should sign Drew to back up Jeter or just stick with Ryan and Nunez and hope for the best? What would you add to my Best Case scenario?