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Yankees need to cut ties with Brendan Ryan

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The Yankees just need to cut ties with Brendan Ryan if they want to optimize the roster

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when Brendan Ryan was the top of the line in shortstop defense. He's never been able to hit, but his glove allowed him to stay in an everyday lineup. Now Ryan is 32 and is nothing more than a bench player. As his defense declines, his value descends into nothingness. He was useful as a midseason pickup or as the late-inning replacement to an old Derek Jeter, but now, without any value to add with the bat, he essentially has no use to the Yankees anymore. It's time to cut ties with Brendan Ryan.

The Yankees brought him in to serve as the backup to Derek Jeter, a move that made a lot of sense at the time. They signed him to a questionable long-term, but ultimately harmless, deal of $5 million over three years, but the whole point of the contract was for him to serve as Jeter's caddy. The deal almost immediately became pointless when Jeter announced his retirement two months later and it meant that after 2014, Ryan would have no one to play backup to anymore and the Yankees would be stuck with him through the 2015, and likely 2016, seasons.

With the retirement tour in full effect, Ryan only managed to get into 49 games–a career low. He was used more like a utility infielder than a shortstop while hitting to an abysmal .167/.211/.202 in 124 at-bats–another career-low. The bat was expected, but what the Yankees didn't count on was that the likely combination of age and sporadic playing time led to him having a very underwhelming year in the field as well. He was fine at second base with five defensive runs saved and a 24.8 UZR/150, however, a -2 DRS and -8.7 UZR/150 at shortstop is not what the Yankees signed up for. As we all know, defensive metrics can be unreliable at times, especially in small sample sizes, but you could actually see how uncomfortable Ryan was in his backup role. Essentially, he was useless last year.

If the Yankees simply DFA him, it will only be at the cost of $3 million and might just be worth the extra roster space it would create. Now that Jeter is gone it's not going to make Ryan any more useful. Didi Gregorius makes the idea of a late-inning caddy completely useless and Ryan's non-existent bat isn't going to offer anything off the bench. Any team is going to need a backup shortstop, but since Gregorius has yet to play a full season and his bat is already lacking as it is, having Ryan on the roster doesn't make much sense. Add the fact that if the Yankees are serious about Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, they're going to need a middle infielder who can actually bring some power when he gets into the game. They need someone other than Brendan Ryan. They could have used Martin Prado, but, well, yeah.

Ryan was an interesting solution to a long-term problem that doesn't exist anymore. Removing him from the roster would clear space for both Refsnyder, as the starting second baseman, and Pirela, as the backup middle infielder. It won't be pretty, but it could be serviceable and definitely will be more promising. Let Brendan Ryan play backup for someone else. The cost can be on us.