When Derek Jeter retired at the end of 2014, the Yankees were faced with the task of finding a new shortstop for the first time since the '90s. The market wasn't exactly stacked with shortstops available through free agency, so the Yankees entered into a three-way trade to bring over Didi Gregorius. Though not known for his bat, Gregorius was thought to be an offensive and defensive upgrade compared to 2014 Jeter. The season is still young, but so far, this hasn't been the case. His batting average is hovering around the Mendoza Line, his fielding has been shoddy at best, and he's made a number of base running errors. Just how long can the Yankees justify playing him?
It's true that Gregorius is a young player, transitioning to a new team, but no one expects him to replace Jeter or be the next Jeter. Some fans at Yankee stadium have started "Derek Jeter" chants after Gregorius has made mistakes, but that isn't really fair. Frankly, he just needs to be better than Jeter was last year, and he set the bar pretty low. The argument that it's still early in the season, and that Gregorius is still adjusting, can only be made for so long before the Yankees need to start considering other options. Last night's double was Gregorius's first hit for extra bases since the season started, and it was a step in the right direction, but he also cost the team several outs in the field. If he's going to hit that poorly, and be a disaster on the field, then the Yankees almost might as well just start Brendan Ryan at shortstop. At least his defense has been proven to be better.
The Yankees really don't have a great infield backup situation at the moment though. They could replace Gregorius by moving Stephen Drew to his natural position and having someone else take over second base. Ryan is still on the disabled list with a calf strain, but he's been taking batting practice and fielding ground balls and may be back by early May. Jose Pirela, who is working his way back from a concussion, played in his first extended spring training game on Tuesday. He'll spend time at second base during his rehab, according to Joe Girardi, but there isn't a timetable for his return. Fan favorite, Rob Refsnyder, has already made five errors in just 11 games down in Triple-A, so there's almost no chance that the Yankees promote him any time soon. The only real option they have right now would be to use Gregorio Petit at second, but he isn't hitting worth a darn aside from last night's double. Maybe Gregorius should take extra fielding practice, 'cause whatever he's doing just isn't working.
How much longer should the Yankees keep playing Gregorius if he continues to make such a high number of defensive miscues?