If you ever needed a reason to keep Ramiro Pena on the major league team instead of Cody Ransom, tonight's the night, as Ransom is getting the start at shortstop. Fangraphs' UZR tells us that the last time Ransom's defense was above average at SS was in 2003, when his UZR/150 was 6.5. Since then he's been double digits bad each year he's had a chance to register on UZR's radar.
This isn't big news--anyone watching the games would probably agree that Ransom looks shaky out there, and that's been at 3B. Why we would ever expect Ransom to reasonably man the most important defensive position in the game effectively when he's unable to handle lesser assignments particularly well, I don't know. And we know it's not for his bat, which has dissapeared since the league realized that it's silly to throw Ransom fastballs in the zone (his OBP is .243, in an admittedly tiny 65 AB so far this year). Maybe we're just trying to handicap ourselves to make the game fairer for the Angels, who put their two biggest boppers on the DL yesterday in the persons of Vladimir Guerrerro and Torii Hunter.
The best reason I can think of for Cody Ransom to still be up is that Cashman's brain trust has looked at the numbers and determined that last year wasn't entirely a mirage--that Ransom might actually have some offensive upside in his bones. I don't see it, but there's a reason they get paid the big bucks. Also, by all accounts Ransom is an extremely good guy, well liked by his teammates, and he's had a fairly rough year with the quad injury after a slow start--possibly the thought process is that they'd like to give him an opportunity to be useful or fail, rather than simply assuming that he would be useless. It's a bit of a gamble--the difference between Ransom and Pena isn't likely to cost the Yankees any games when he's at 3B--but it's likely to be an adventure with him at short tonight, and if he boots a ball at a key point in the game, you can expect the second guessing to start.
Good thing we're up 3-0 to start the night out.
Update: Check that--Jeter came in to take Ransom's place, and promptly dropped a routine pop up. Along with an ARod error as well, this game was downright brutal.