Friday, April 19, 2013
Shortstop in the Bronx
By Jason A. Churchill
Derek Jeter is 38 years of age and certainly nearing the end of an illustrious career that will ultimately lead to his induction into baseball's Hall of Fame. There are few, if any, questions about that. What remains unclear, however, is who will replace Jeter at shortstop.
ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews brought up that subject recently.
Eduardo Nunez is the in-house replacement until Jeter is ready to return from his fractured ankle, which the club learned Thursday won't be until after the all-star break. There's almost no chance, however, that the error-prone, offensively-limited Nunez is equipped to take the reins on a regular basis.
Matthews notes that two shortstops who could have helped the Yankees address this situation were traded over the winter in Jose Reyes and Yunel Escobar.
The free agent market for shortstops following 2013 is thin, with injury-prone Stephen Drew and Rafael Furcal heading the list. Glove-only option Brendan Ryan also is slated to be available, as are Jhonny Peralta, Clint Barmes and a handful of backups and journeymen types.
Trade candidates are difficult to come by, but the Baltimore Orioles, conceivably, could shop J.J. Hardy at some point between now and this time next spring, which would open the position for Manny Machado.
Cleveland could shop Asdrubal Cabrera this summer if they fall out of contention or next offseason after his name hit the rumor mill this past winter.
The Yankees have a solid farm system that could be used to land a replacement, depending on the asking price, but they won't be able to buy one with free agent dollars anytime soon. With Jeter's injury dragging into the second half of this season, we have to wonder if GM Brian Cashman might become a little more aggressive in his search.