Eduardo Nunez has not been getting the job done at shortstop, and Derek Jeter's season could be over. Is there any solution in sight?
#Yankees have acquired SS Brendan Ryan from the #Mariners for a player to be named later.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 11, 2013
The PTBNL will probably be someone unimportant given the fact that this trade will only benefit the Yankees for two weeks, so it's hard to criticize it. Entering tonight, Nunez was been hitting .325/.361/.429 with a 114 wRC+ over the past month, but his defense has been abysmal, ultimately negating any value he might have brought with his hot bat. The trade might also offer a grim prognosis about the remainder of Derek Jeter's season. It gives the Yankees insurance for the next couple weeks, anyway.
Ryan is the classic no-hit, all-glove shortstop, but his defense is absolutely phenomenal, making Alberto Gonzalez look like... well, Derek Jeter (h/t Dave Cameron):
The Yankees could do a lot worse for a stretch-run shortstop. Since debuting for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007, Ryan has produced 13.8 dWAR and an 11.7 UZR/150 in 766 games. He has absolutely no bat, as evinced by his .192/.254/.265, 43 wRC+ season that makes his .238/.300/.320, 71 wRC+ career triple slash look Ruthian. However, the weak bat might be worth getting his glove in the field since he has a strong offensive supporting cast around him anyway. He hasn't played anywhere except shortstop since 2009, but he has some experience at second base and third base if the Yankees need him there in a pinch.
It's not yet clear what the corresponding 40-man roster move will be for Ryan or how the Yankees will use him. He might just be a late-game defensive replacement for Nunez, but frankly, it wouldn't be the worst thing if he started a game with the lead glove Nunez on the bench. If the Yankees make the playoffs Ryan won't be eligible for the postseason roster since the trade occurred after September 1st, and he's a free agent after this season, so this is strictly a two-week rental move. If it helps the Yankees make the playoffs though, it would be hella worth it.
Welcome aboard, Brendan. Hopefully we can see plays like the above in your two-week cameo.