BY JASON EVANS -
Yeah, I’m not thrilled about Derek Jeter retiring. Neither should you. I’ve watched Jeter’s entire career, going from baby-faced rookie to All-Star to captain to legendary Yankee. It will be sad to see him go. Just like the New York Yankees organization, we need to think about who may replace him. I’m not sure that option currently exists on the roster, but the potential free agent class in 2015 is pretty deep. Let’s take a gander.
Hanley Ramirez: I don’t think he will hit the market, but as of this moment, he’s eligible. Ramirez says he wants to be a Dodger for life, though he could find himself playing third between Dee Gordon and the newly signed Erisbel Arruebarruena. If the Dodgers want him and Ramirez wants to be there I can’t see him leaving, however, if he were to, the Yankees would have to be interested in the 31-year-old with his kind of hitting ability.
Stephen Drew: Yes, he’s on the market right now, and he’s looking for an opt-out in his deal for this season. The Yankees could just add him right now, have him play all over the infield if he’s willing and then take over duties in 2015. Drew is a left-handed bat, which always plays well at Yankee stadium.
Jed Lowrie: Lowrie will turn 30 this year and enjoyed his best and healthiest season of his career. On a side note, he can play second and third as well as short so he could be an option all over the infield. He’s a switch-hitter and a .297 career hitter against left-handed pitching. He isn’t the best fielder, but the A’s may not be able to afford him.
J.J. Hardy: Hardy is a steady, Gold Glove-caliber fielder. He’s hit 20 or more home runs in five of his nine years. Hardy won’t wow anyone with his on-base skills, but right-handed pop from the shortstop position is never a bad thing.
Asdrubal Cabrera: After his 2011 breakout campaign, his average, slugging, RBI, homers and doubles have all declined. This will be a big season for him. At 29 as a free agent, Cabrera could really cash in. His WAR has dropped from 4.8 to just 1.2 last year. Does he just have okay offensive skills or can he be an above average producer?
There are others like Yunel Escobar who could be out there too. The Yankees are going to need a new starter at short in 2015. I don’t believe that player is Brendan Ryan or Eduardo Nunez. I do believe it could be one of these five.
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