There's no better time to rip off the band aid that nobody has wanted to even touch for the last couple of years; who will be the replacement for shortstop of the New York Yankees once Derek Jeter retires; which we all know now will be after the 2014 season.
The Yankees once thought that Eduardo Nunez could be the potential replacement, but his lack of fielding skills and average bat skills do not merit being a suitable replacement to be an everyday starter and will relegate him to being a super utility infield/backup role if he stays on the team long-term.
A few names have been mentioned as potential Jeter replacements for next season such as Colorado Rockies Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays Jose Reyes and Philadelphia Phillies Jimmy Rollins, all of which would have to be acquired in a trade. But the Yankees could also wait and turn to the free agent market after the season and possibly wait for one of the biggest names on the market next season in Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
Jon-Paul Morosi of FOX Sports spoke to Ramirez at the Dodgers spring training complex in Arizona about the idea of being Jeter's potential replacement, especially since he grew up idolizing Jeter and has even worn his number 2 as a tribute to the Yankee captain and while he didn't come out and say he wanted to be a Yankee, he didn't deny it either.
"I just want to concentrate on the season," he said, still grinning a little. "I think we'??ve got to go ahead. We [fell] short last year. You know, we want to win a championship here first and then see what's going to happen in the offseason. Right now, it's too far ahead. Right now, I've got to concentrate on my season. I think we've got a pretty good group of guys in here that wants to win. Everybody knows I want to stay here."
Of course Ramirez is going to say that he wants to stay in Los Angeles and win a championship because well, that's what every player wants to do on their current team. But when the season is over, Ramirez knows he's at the top of the free agent class and his services will get paid for. And why not spark a bidding war between the two biggest payrolls in the sport.
While it's clear that the Dodgers can afford large salaries on their roster, they also have so many players that they can shell out large contracts to like Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford; contracts they inherited from the Boston Red Sox two summers ago, Andre Either and the most recent one; Clayton Kershaw, who became baseball's first $30 million pitcher in the sport when he signed his seven-year deal this past winter. Plus, they have Matt Kemp on the roster and getting paid a small fortune despite all of the injuries over the past couple of years.
While the Dodgers would like to pay Ramirez and make him their shortstop for the next five or six years, the Yankees may have an even stronger need because of not just the position that they are trying to replace, but the actual player in Jeter, who many consider to be the one guy on the team that nobody can fill the shoes of; even Ramirez concurred with that when he spoke this past week after Jeter's ground-breaking retirement announcement.
For the Yankees, they've already shown that they don't care about the $189 million mark as far as payroll goes and will do absolutely whatever it takes to field a championship roster and thus, why they could be huge players for Ramirez if he makes it to free agency, which many think he will. Even if he will be 31 next winter when he hits the open market, Ramirez will still attract a lot of interest and a lot of money and with the loss of Jeter, his name will make a lot of sense come November.
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