"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Jeterian question

Derek Jeter has become a hot topic in the papers and Yankosphere the last couple of days. With his age getting up there (he will turn 35 in June) and free agency looming (his contract expires in 2010), it makes sense.

In 2008, Jeter had a drop-off in every major category from the previous year. He's been running and walking less. While he's never had much power to begin with, he's become even less of a force. But his defense has been what most of the talk has been about. He can't get to balls to his left, and you have to figure this problem will only get worse.

So, what do the Yankees do? The Yankees can't possibly let Jeter walk, right? I doubt they will, but it makes for an interesting discussion.

The better question to ask is: should he change positions?

Joel Sherman offers his opinion:

Don't dismiss Jeter's pride. Jeter has done a marvelous job in his career of masking emotions. But when critical questions have been asked about his defense during the years, Jeter clearly gets more biting and protective. This is a man who first imagined himself as the Yankee shortstop as a boy, and he is not giving up the position easily. Jeter's self-confidence is supreme and, I believe, he will always think he can handle the position.
I think his pride is one of the reasons why he would switch positions. If Jeter realizes that he's embarrassing himself at shortstop, he would probably want to explore a switch. One of the arguments Sherman uses to suggest not moving Jeter to center field is that he's never played there. Well, Jeter has never played anywhere else. The better argument, which he also uses, is that he'll probably exhibit the same decline in center as well.

I think if Jeter were to change positions, his best bet would be at third base. He still has a strong arm and won't have as much ground to cover. Jeter is the second-best shortstop on the team as it is, but he would have to swallow a bitter pill in giving up short to Alex Rodriguez.

One thing is for sure: It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next two years.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


Anonymous said...

A-Rod would be a fool to give up 3B now. He made the shift over and the position is his. Going back to SS opens up a Jeter vs A-Rod debate that only the NY Tabloids would enjoy.

Jeter stays where he is through the end of his contract and IF a replacement is available at the time, LF is all Jeter.

Mattingly23 said...

By the time Jeter's contract is up, A-Rod will not have played shortstop, save an inning or two, for seven years. He's turning 34 himself this summer. He's bulked up a lot and taken well to third base. Moving him back to short makes no sense.

Jeter should eventually move to one of the corner outfield spots. A-Rod should stay where he is.

Raven King said...

I think Jeter will choose to retire.

Andrew Fletcher said...

Anonymous: LF is an interesting idea...I haven't thought about that. I'd like it, but it's all up to Jeter.

Jason: I guess. Now that I think about it, it would hurt to lose that production at a corner infield spot.

Raven: I don't think he'll retire in two years. He still has a lot of milestones he can reach. It's just a matter of where: where in baseball and where on the field.

Post a Comment