The Yankees decided to bring Stephen Drew back on a one-year contract last night which is a move that felt bound to happen prior to the trade for Didi Gregorius. After that, though, it seemed like the Yankees were set at shortstop. Especially with Brendan Ryan already signed as the backup through 2015. Signing Drew feels redundant at this point, unless it indicates that the Yankees are going to get rid of Ryan.
First of all, Ryan is basically useless with a baseball bat. He hit .167/.211/.202 last year in the 49 games that he made it into. Gregorius should be the starting shortstop, but Ryan is only useful in a backup, defensive role at shortstop. He has a tiny bit of experience at second and third base if they really needed him there, too. With that being said, the Stephen Drew that we saw last year is barely an upgrade over Brendan Ryan. While it's true that he wasn't signed until after the season already started and missed spring training, he still had a miserable year, batting .162/.237/.299 with 44 wRC+ through 85 games.
Drew also only has experience at shortstop, in addition to the 274 innings at second base that the Yankees forced him to play last season. Does this mean that they're going to give Drew a chance to win the shortstop job during spring training? Maybe they're going to try to package Gregorius in a trade, since this offseason has been all about the trades. Drew wasn't particularly great defensively during his time at second base last season, but maybe the Yankees are thinking that he could also back up second base. In other words, Drew could replace Ryan's role on the team. The scary thing is that they were content to have Drew play second last year, even in September, despite Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder both being available then and despite Drew batting horrendously. Given their affinity for veterans, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see them wedge Drew in at second, even though Brian Cashman has said that Pirela and Refsnyder would compete for the spot during spring training.
It feels like they're counting on Drew having a bounce-back year and being able to return to his 2013 numbers, which is fine, but not necessarily practical. If he doesn't, then the team would find itself with two similar players in Ryan and Drew. On the plus side, neither of them is earning very much money; Ryan will make $2 million in 2015, and Drew's contract is for $5 million, so they could always cut one or both of them if they are performing poorly.
What do you think the Yankees plan to do with Ryan now that they have Drew? Do you think they'll keep both and give Drew the second base job? Will you be upset if Refsnyder or Pirela don't get a shot at 2B?