For the first time in 20 years, the New York Yankees are in the market for a shortstop. Replacing Jeter is not going to be easy, but luckily for the Yankees, there are a wide array of options available to them when you consider what they currently have, and also what they could potentially add via the free agency. We also cannot rule out the possibility of they Yankees pulling off an offseason trade. So just what exactly are the Yankees options?
As far as what the Yankees currently have, there is one player who can adequately take over the position. That player would be Martin Prado. Prado has a career batting average of .291 and has played in at least 128 games in each of his last five seasons. He produces and is durable. He also committed just 34 errors over the last three seasons. Over a full season, that translates to 1 error per 15 games. He is not going to win MVP awards, lead the league in home runs, or steal 40 bases, but Martin Prado is a solid all-around player and should be a candidate to be considered to replace The Captain (at least in the short term).
If the Yankees decide they would rather bring in another shortstop (either via trade or free agency), there are a plethora of players that will be available. Los Angeles Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez and Washington Nationals SS Asdrubal Cabrera will both be free agents at the end of the season. Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies has also drawn some attention, as he as expressed a desire to play for the Yankees. To me, these are the three most likely candidates (JJ Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles would have been the top candidate to me, had he not just re-signed with Baltimore), but there is one that seems to be the best fit for the Yankees.
I would not consider Tulowitzki to be the future Yankees SS for a simple reason: health. In two out of the last three seasons has not even played in 100 games due to injuries. Only twice in his 9 seasons in the big leagues has he played over 150 games. Tulowitzki is one of the best in the game when he is healthy, but he has consistently had a problem throughout his career staying healthy. That leaves the Yankees two options: Ramirez or Cabrera.
Now I am sure most of you are probably thinking I am going to say the Yankees should go after Ramirez. Well, you would be wrong. Cabrera has two advantages that make him a better fit for the job. First is simply that Cabrera is a switch hitter. Playing at Yankee Stadium, Cabrera will have higher power numbers since he can bat left-handed and take advantage of the short porch in left-field. Not to suggest that Ramirez cannot drive the ball to the opposite field, but Cabrera will be able to pull the ball when he bats left handed and Ramirez will always have to go the other way to be able to utilize the short porch. Ramirez also has well-documented fielding issues. Ramirez is averaging 16.5 errors per season for his career, while Cabrera is averaging 11.125 errors per season over his 7-year career. Cabrera also has a career batting average of .260 and a career OBP of .330. Asdrubal Cabrera may not be the biggest name on the market, but he certainly is a great fit for this team and is a player worthy of taking over the role of SS for the New York Yankees.
The Yankees have the financial ability to entice any SS to come play for them next season and beyond. Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez will be in the mix, but in the end, the two best fits for the Yankees are Martin Prado and Asdrubal Cabrera.
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