I’ll be honest. Despite Brendan Ryan's Tuesday night performance, I still don’t think he’s the team's best option.
Ryan produced a 2-out double that scored Didi Gregorius from 1B, in what proved to be the winning run in the Yankees 3-2 win over division rival Baltimore.
Brian Cashman, who has to be feeling vindicated given the results of the game, obviously disagrees, because a few days ago he opted to send rookie Rob Refsnyder down to Triple-A in order to clear space on the 25 man roster for the returning Carlos Beltran, rather than DFA Ryan with his outdated mustache and less than 20 ABs on the season.
Even when Ryan was re-signed prior to the 2014 season, it was with the understanding that he was a defensive specialist who basically had no bat. His career average of .234 prior to Tuesday’s game was proof of that.
On a team struggling for offense at the bottom of the line-up, there doesn’t seem to be much room for that type of player. From Cashman’s perspective, if an injury were to happen to Gregorius at SS, the Yankees would be shorthanded without Ryan. From my perspective, Drew could shift over to SS and Refsnyder (or even Pirela) could fit in at 2B. That situation is not ideal but it is a more than reasonable alternative.
Instead, Cashman opted to keep Ryan, at least through the trade deadline. By his, admittedly correct logic, he can always call Refsnyder back up but once Ryan is gone, he's gone for good. All true, but so what? So what if he’s gone? He’s been injury prone and hasn’t delivered with the bat. Even his fielding percentage in 2014 was less than desirable.
Even if you take away his one solid AB Tuesday, Ryan’s game would have been a pop-up with two RISP, a force out with one RISP and a routine groundout. That’s not to say his double isn’t appreciated. The Yankees and their fans surely are grateful. But how realistic is it to rely on a similar outcome going forward?
I am not convinced that Refsnyder is the answer at 2B (he looked shaky defensively and didn’t stand out offensively) but the rationale for sending him back to the minors shouldn’t be the preservation of Ryan. Despite the feel good story of Tuesday he’s just not worth it.