Feb
22

Where have you gone, Derek Jeter?

By

I sense a turning tide of public opinion in Yankee-land. Derek Jeter, the All Star short stop, the long-time heart and soul of the Yankees, seems to be losing the fans. Sure, the ladies still love him, but that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?

It started a few weeks ago with a post on PeteAbe’s blog. In a Spring Training rundown, Abraham presented twenty pressing topics for the Yankees. Ending the list was a question: Is Derek Jeter still Derek Jeter?

With those six simple words, Abraham broke the Derek Jeter barrier. Are Yankee fans, many wondered, now allowed to criticize New York’s golden boy? Can we dump on the Captain? Apparently, the answers to those questions came out as yes.

Over the last few weeks, Yankee fans commenting on various blogs have been more vocal than usual about their skepticism toward Derek Jeter. With Number 2 set to rake in $20 million this year, fans are wondering if, after a supposed down year, Jeter is really worth it anymore. And now, with the whole brouhaha over his fielding — something I’m not touching with a ten-foot pole right now — and his penchant for landing more headlines on Page Six than on the back pages of the sports, Yankee fans are voicing concerns.

Let’s step back from the ledge, though, and look at Derek Jeter. First, the numbers: In 2007, Derek hit .322 with a .388 OPB and a .452 SLG. And those are supposed to be his down-year numbers. What fans are forgetting is that in 2006, Jeter turned in an MVP-caliber season when he hit .343/.417/.483 with 34 stolen bases and 118 runs scored. While his slugging dipped below his career average in 2007, by all accounts, Jeter had another fantastic season.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Ken Rosenthal speculated that Jeter has something of a shot at Pete Rose’s hit record. While that shot is rather miniscule, Jeter, who turns 34 this season, is sitting on 2356 hits. I’d say that he has a very good shot to end his career in the top ten all time hits leaders and possibly even in the top five. That’s not too shabby.

Some people critical of Jeter point to his numbers last year in clutch situations. He was just three for 17 in the ALCS, and those numbers tend to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths over the off-season. With runners in scoring position in 2007, he hit .354/.426/.456. With the bases loaded he hit .500/.538/.583 and drove in 12 runs in 13 plate appearances. Who’s complaining now?

On the other side of the ball are those critical of his Page Six activities. They’d rather see Derek focusing on baseball instead of women. To them, I simply offer up the defense that Derek is human, and he’s only young once. Cut him some slack.

Where I think the criticisms have long been valid however are in talking about his role as the Yankee captain. Derek Jeter is one of the more bland figures to serve as captain, and I don’t think he’s done much of anything to warrant the role. As the anointed leader of the team, he offers up fairly routine material to the media and doesn’t seem too willing to put his neck on the line. On the field, he is a stellar player and the perfect example of hustle, a key trait in teaching young kids to play.

But it seems more and more that this team on the field belongs to the guy who brings more fire to his play: Jorge Posada. It may just be a matter of observation, and it may not matter because Jeter and Posada are close friends both on and off the team. But to me, it seems like the rest of the team takes its cue more from Jorge than from Derek.

In the end, those are simply small beans. Derek Jeter is still without a doubt a prolific offensive short stop and a great Yankee. If fans can’t see that forest for the trees, then maybe they’re simply being too pessimistic about the whole thing.

Categories : Rants

60 Comments»

  1. Bob says:

    It’s “penchant”, not “pension”. Red Smith must be turning in his grave.

  2. [...] Where have you gone, Derek Jeter? – Ben K. – River Ave. Blues [...]

  3. iYankees says:

    Funny, I was thinking about Jeter’s “clutch” numbers from last season, today. What you posted demonstrates that the man earns his keep. He had a tough time against Cleveland although he likes hitting at the ex-Jake. I actually blame his play on Torre (haha, I had to). He didn’t rest Jeter enough and would let him talk his way into the lineup, even when he was pretty banged up. Hopefully, Joe G. will do that a bit more this year.

    We always think of Jeter like he’s forever young, but that’s simply not the case anymore. Even if his numbers dip, he’s not just a name, and he’ll still put up some of the best offensive numbers in the league (at his position).

    • Donna says:

      As along time Yankee fan, I must say this ranks up there with one of the most stupid things I’ve read. Derek Jeter STILL gets cheered and is still loved by the Yankee fans base. He will always be love and admired for the way he conducts himself on and off the field. He will be the face of the Yankees for years to come.

  4. Rich says:

    Apart from an enhanced awareness of his less than stellar defense, which was atrocious last season, possibly as a result of physical problems, and average at best in prior seasons, I haven’t noticed any increased negativity toward Jeter from the fanbase. More likely, there is a general frustration with team overall from some fans, perhaps because they are frustrated with the championship “drought”.

    If my perception is wrong, however, then I suppose that A-Rod’s prediction that Jeter will win the MVP this season can be seen as a show of support, something that Jeter hasn’t often reciprocated.

    As for Jeter’s modest decline in offense last season, the knee (and back and other assorted injuries that were speculated about in the media) could have also affected his ability to drive the ball, and caused him to develop bad habits in order to compensate for his physical limitations.

    On balance, I think Jeter will continue to play at a very high level offensively. His defense, however, will likely continue to be a source of concern.

    • Count Zero says:

      I don’t have to post now — you said everything I was going to say. :-)

      Honestly, I never question Jeter’s offensive ability — doing so shows that you didn’t do the math. I do however question his staying at SS (because of his D), and I do sometimes question his milquetoast attitude with regard to his teammates and the media.

  5. ac says:

    I agree with you Rich. I really haven’t noticed any change in fanbase. As a matter of fact, some writers and bloggers continue to talk down to Jeters fans because they think we can see no wrong in him. Speaking only for myself, it’s not that I can’t see any wrong in him, I see a lot that is right with him. You hear the same critques each year: the gripes about defense, whether he is worthy to be captain, his old pal Arod, his salary and his private life. But you know what, there has been a lot of turn over in the pinstripes over the years…and these players talk….and none ever complain about Jeter. Never complain about him being captain, whether he was worth his salary, his girlfriends, no nothing. The fickle leader once complained about his night life, Jeter hit back, they went on to make a couple commericals spoofing the dust up and Steinbrenner later made him Captain! Oh yeah, Sheffield made some obtuse comment about him not being white, or black…I don’t really remember now. But I guess Jeter is good for a few negative articles on the same crap each season….you guys have to get some readers for your articles. Jeter’s name does sell!

  6. Jeff says:

    Yeah… he has been booed before. Just goes to show that at any sign of weakness our fans seem to forget any type of history. Ungrateful comes to mind. I’d say that for Torre as well.

  7. bostonsucks@life says:

    Still my favorite Yankee . Every year some d-bag comes out with an anit-Jeter article or blog. His numbers speak for themselves. 1st ballot HOF. Maybe these people are a tad jealous ?

  8. Jim Johnson says:

    And that’s why Posada is my favorite player and is right behind Mattingly on my “all time” list.

    I like Jeter, but these are and have been Posada’s Yankees.

  9. henry says:

    Well, Let me first say, that anyone bagging on Jeter for last seasons numbers can shut the %*&# up. Secondly, I am actually going to blame his dip from ’06-’07 on Joe Torre. While Joe and Derrek were like father and son, the one thing that Joe didnt do, was sit Derrek doown when he could. Jeter had knee problems all year and there was nothing really done to get him off the field. In order to get him off the field it is going to be on the manager, Jeter is not going to sit himself down, he doesnt know how to do that.

  10. DanElmaleh says:

    If David Eckstien had talent, he might be Derek Jeter.

    I agree about Jorge. His comment about the team not being upset after being knocked out vs. the Angels a few years ago was the type of gauntlet to the rest of the team you expect from the team leader. Of course, a lot of good it did.

    This team really has three leaders — Jeter, Jorge and Mo.

  11. Tripp says:

    840 OPS and 40 doubles from the #2 hole is pretty damn good. I’d like to see a comparison to #2 hitters in the MLB lineups and see who is most productive.

  12. chris c says:

    It’s not like Abraham just figured this out for everyone. You give him too much credit. The saber community knew about Jeter for years.

  13. David says:

    He’s a great offensive shortstop. The problem is his defense diminishes a good amount of that value. He needs to be moved from that position soon.

  14. Currambayankees says:

    He was clutch for most of the year and I have feeling the only reason he didn’t do well in the playoffs was because he was hurt. Maybe Girardi will force Jeter to take more days off during the season so he’s fresher and healthier come playoff time. I also think that Jeter may have a couple more years left at SS but no more than the 3 left in his contract.

  15. Jon W. says:

    Jeter is a great offensive SS, no doubt, and he is still an incredibly clutch regular season performer. But I do think it’s okay to occassionally criticize him. As noted, his defense has been steadily declining for a while now, and he made $21.6 million last year. If I were Hank and Hal, I would hope for more than 12 homers, 15 SB, and spotty defense for my $21.6 million. He’s still a very good player, but let’s be honest, he’s significantly overpaid, and has been ever since he signed that massive contract.

  16. eric from morrisania says:

    I think the Yankee fanbase is not cooling to Jete as much as they’re warming up to Joba, Phil, IPK, Wang, Cano, Melky, AJax, Tabata, etc… and, most importantly, ARod. There’s a new wave of Yankees superstars and their contributions naturally pull attention away from Jete, whose media kingpin status was certainly helped by the fact that he’s essentially the only player of the Torre era (with the brief exceptions of Clemens and Wells) who wasn’t a total media recluse.

    That being said, the real question is not whether or not the fans are losing their Jeter luster, it’s how will Jeter handle moving off of SS to LF? Because that move will need to happen at some point (but probably not until 2010). Jeter will undoubtedly re-up once his contract is over and close out his career in pinstripes, but Cash/Girardi/Hank-Hal have to know that the team will benefit from his declining range moving to down the defensive spectrum. I’d imagine that Jeter being as smart and media savvy as he is, he’ll get in front of the story by taking some time in spring training 2009 in the outfield and presage the move himself, saying all the right things about trying to help the team and trying to do what’s best to win a title and blah blah blah…

  17. Tom says:

    Jeter has nothing to prove to anyone. Since 1996 he has been one of the most clutch Yankee hitters in history. He is a great embasador for the game and the Yankees.

    Jeter MVP in 2008

    • steve (different one) says:

      you forgot to add that he brings so many “intangibles” that the numbers do not reflect.

      just making sure we didn’t miss any cliches.

  18. Currambayankees says:

    eric,
    I doubt Jete will move from SS on his own. Although, I never believed Jeter should have been forced to move from SS, it is something he should have offered to do when ARod came over because ARod was the better SS. So I really doubt he’ll graciously move off SS on his own. By the time Jete’s contract is up I also have a feeling his heir apparent will be ready for the big show and if Jete wants to be back in NY he’ll have no choice but to move off the position.

  19. Old Goat says:

    More often than not its “what have you done for me lately” with far too many Yankee fans.

    We don’t know what gets said in team meetings. Personally, while it might seem like motivation to some people, calling out your team in public doesn’t do much other than create bad feelings.

    As Jeter had said, it’s “we”, as in the whole team, not one individual, that has to perform in the post season. Is the Captain supposed to alienate his team, isolate individuals or bring them together?

  20. Steve S says:

    I think we’re all falling into the talk show radio host syndrome. I think we can agree that those of us that read this blog or even know who Pete Abraham is (no offense to Pete, very insightful, but he is a beat reporter for a suburban newspaper), are avid fans who examine things more than your average fan. And while this kind of forum is becoming more popular, the popular opinions still do not rest here (and the analogy is the people who have the time to call into talk radio shows and wait on hold for an hour aren’t the most sophisticated fans in the world). In the end, Derek Jeter is Derek Jeter and of course his skills are diminishing, but just because some other people are getting attention and a few people in the New York media have decided to say something negative about Jeter, doesnt mean the guy isnt teflon- look at headline following the UPenn report about Jeter’s defense-
    “COMPUTER CRASH
    CAPTAIN SHAKES OFF MEAN MACHINE’S SILLY STUDY”

    I mean seriously, its just like when there was a discussion here that Mariano Rivera was somehow being greedy or disrespectful by not signing his contract. In the end these are the guys who were at the epicenter of four championships, so while it might not be fair that to the mainstream they are always above board and a guy like Arod gets hammered, thats the way New York sports works.

  21. steve (different one) says:

    i haven’t noticed any sort of increase in negativity. to me, the debate is the same as it has always been:

    1. those who believe that Jeter’s defense sucks vs.
    2. those who refuse to believe Jeter’s defense sucks.

    that’s the crux of the debate.

    no one in group 1 denies that Jeter isn’t a great hitter and baserunner.

    i don’t hear many fans complain about his personal life or his salary.

    just his defense. yet most of the people in group 2 don’t feel that anyone is allowed to criticize any part of Jeter’s game, as they feel that the people in group 1 are saying Jeter isn’t a great player. except no one is saying that.

    they are saying he is a Hall of Fame hitter with horrible range. as long as he hits like a Hall of Famer and keeps his defense only “below average (as in 2006)” as opposed to “horrible (as in 2007)”, he should still be the SS.

    if he bounces back to 2006 levels, he’ll be fine. if he has another defensive year like 2007, the Yankees are going to have to start thinking about a change in 2009.

    and this is NOTHING to be ashamed of. he’ll be 35. he would not be the first Hall of Famer to have to change positions at 35.

    • Steve S says:

      See I think thats too black and white. Lets be honest his defense has always been overrated. And his range his decreased over the years but he is 33 (and allegedly without the benefit of any PEDs) so thats expected. It may be semantics, but I always am bothered by people saying he is the “worst” shortstop or that he “sucks”. The guy never deserved a gold glove but he is an average to above average shortstop. I never worry about him booting the ball. I just know that he cant make a play on the ball going up the middle. Thats really the one major deficiency, which I think is fair to say prevents him from being in the upper echelon of shortstops defensively but I don’t think its fair to say he sucks. He does go to his right well, he can track down a lot of pop ups and on the ball hit to him he is pretty sure handed and his arm is both strong and relatively accurate. Last year was just like Arod in 2006, a congestion of errors at the beginning of the season.

  22. kunaldo says:

    his offensive numbers are great…it’s his defense that bothers me…and were girardi or cashman to ever suggest that jeter move to CF of 1B, you know he would just scoff at it b/c he’s too proud….a captain would sacrifice his pride for the good of the team…

  23. YankCrank20 says:

    we all know that nobody is questioning their love or admiration for jeter. players ago, their defense, power and raw skills decline and jeter isn’t 25 anymore…time for us to realize that and accept it if he has a bad 2008. the bigger question is where he moves, and although his numbers are some of the best for his position now, they don’t translate well to 1b or corner outfield numbers…and def not dh numbers. you think his range to his left won’t kill him in left field? its going to be tough but when his contract is up, if the yanks bring him back idk where he hell he could possibly play

  24. YankCrank20 says:

    also, look at the future. a-rod’s defense will diminish too, and when he has to dh from ages 37 or 38-43, where the hell will there be room for jeter? or when the yanks realize a-rod’s range is diminishing and they need a ss who can cover ground for a-rod over there? i can really see an end to the jeter/yankees marriage thats messier than the bernie williams one

  25. steve (different one) says:

    fortunately for A-Rod, 3B is less demanding than SS. i think he’ll be fine at 3B for a long time, and when the time comes, the logical landing place for A-Rod would be 1B. his bat carries the position and i would wager that he’d be excellent at 1B.

    Jeter on the other hand, will probably need to move to LF. i think his bat plays just fine in LF. an OBP heavy OPS+ of around 115-125 is not going to kill the Yankees. and i think he’d be able to handle the position fine.

    his problem at SS is his first step. it’s slower than molasses. in the OF, he should be able to outrun that problem having slightly more time to get to the ball. he’d be fine. his arm would be fine as well.

  26. Julian says:

    who says that since he’s a captain he has to prove his captain-ship to us?

    the purpose of a captain is to aid those on the team, not the fans. he has no obligation to do captain-like things in public. He doesn’t need to exclaim battle cries in media interviews or anything, he only n eeds to motivate the team within the privacy of that clubhouse.

  27. YankCrank20 says:

    one more thing, and sorry to post 3 times in a row, but lets look at our jorge posada. he has always been my favorite yankee, so im not killing him here, but we just signed him to a 4 year deal to play as a yankee until he turns 40. last year he had a monster offensive season, but when baserunners attempted to steal on him 134 times, 102 of them were successful! thats a cs% of just under 24%…awful. Among the 21 catchers who caught at least 110 games he was the third worst with passed balls at 13. i know a lot goes into catcher’s statistics, like his pitching staff, but lets not just kill jeter on his range to the left. posada has trouble with his raw catching skills too, because abreu is afraid of the wall, melky takes poor first steps, johnny has no arm and whatever 1b we have will not be an amazing defender. there are holes on every player so stop beating up on jeter

    • steve (different one) says:

      and this is where the intelligent debate breaks down:

      when one side is presently scientific evidence and the other side accuses those people of “beating up on jeter”.

      no one is “beating up” on him.

      they are presenting piles of evidence that his defense has a large negative impact on the Yankees.

      why is it not OK to talk about that? what do those other players have to do with anything?

      because Damon has a poor arm it makes it OK for Jeter to give up more hits up the middle than other shortstops?

  28. YankCrank20 says:

    if jeter switches to left field by 2010 when hes somewhere at the age of 36, i doubt he’ll be able to make up for his poor first step by running down everything. i’m not saying he’ll be slow, but he will be 36 and not exactly as fast as he used to be

  29. E-ROC says:

    Jeter would like to thank A-Rod for his current massive contract.

    Jeter hasn’t been the same since separating his shoulder a few years ago. Everybody knows he has spotty defense and it became really apparent last year. Big deal. If only Jeter was perfect, this would be a non-issue.

    I like Jeter’s bland comments to the media. I like how he doesn’t throw his teammates under the bus for “going through the motions.” I like how Jeter doesn’t publicly campaign for an “ace.” Jeter, you have lost your team. You’re not the face of the franchise. A-Rod is. Blah blah blah.

    The first game of the season can’t get here sooner.

    • Ben K. says:

      And my point has been proved. That took only 33 comments.

      Anyway, I’m so glad you brought up the shoulder incident. Let’s play perception vs. reality. Your perception is that Derek “hasn’t been the same since separating his shoulder.”

      Well, the shoulder injury happened on Monday, March 31, 2003. Since returning from that injury, Jeter has played 741 games or about 40 percent of his career. In that span, he’s hit .317 with a .387 on-base percentage and a .461 slugging percentage.

      For his career, he’s a .318 hitter with a .388 OBP and a .462 slugging percentage. So I guess you could say that, technically, he hasn’t been the same, but the .001 difference in all three categories just isn’t significant.

  30. differentDonna says:

    Why do so many people, who have never spent one minute in the clubhouse with the Yankees, feel qualified to comment on Derek Jeter’s prowess as the captain of the Yankees? The fact of the matter is, we have NO IDEA what kind of relationship he has with his teammates. We have NO IDEA what he does in the clubhouse with regards to supporting and motivating those teammates. Why? Because he keeps his mouth shut, and his teammates (with the obvious exception of motormouth idiot A-Rod), out of respect for him, keep theirs shut, too. The way Jeter behaves in front of the media doesn’t tell us anything about how he behaves in front of his team.

    • steve (different one) says:

      why are you qualified to comment on A-Rod?

      from what i can SEE, the young guys on the team have taken to A-Rod as their mentor and role model instead of Jeter.

      yet that runs contrary to the conventional wisdom that Jeter is the great leader and A-Rod is the selfish, isolated Primadonna.

      you are 100%, NO ONE knows what actually goes on in the clubhouse.

      and that includes you and your opinion of A-Rod.

  31. Donnie Baseball Belongs IN the Hall says:

    Must be a slow news day. I question peoples smarts when they think Jeter is not one of the best players of all time.

    Stats do not tell the full story, but IF that is your only way to tell a story Jeter still comes out as one of the best.

    I have been watching baseball for decades and the best all around players I have ever seen are Donnie and Jeter. I would put Pete Rose up there but his glove work was not up to par, but he could and did play different places, wherever his team needed him. I would rather start a team with a guy like that, than anybody else even an ACE.

    Yankee fans as a group have over rated many players, and good players like Bernie, Paulie, Scott B, and quite a few others from the dynasty teams. Jeter is not one that can be over rated.

    The man is hands down THE best all around baseball player of his generation.

    • Ben K. says:

      Nah. I’d say A-Rod is the all-around best baseball player of his generation. But Jeter’s up there.

    • Joseph P. says:

      I don’t mean this as an insult, but if you’re saying that Donnie and Jeter are the best players you’ve ever seen, you simply don’t watch enough baseball. There are teams outside of New York, and those teams have certainly had better players than those two.

      • steve (different one) says:

        it’s funny that you call Bernie Williams overrated and place Don Mattingly as an all-time great.

        Bernie was better than Mattingly.

        there, i said it.

        • Donnie Baseball Belongs IN the Hall says:

          Bernie was always terrible in CF, he was fast so he made up for a lot of it. With that said Bernie was not one of the 250 best players I have ever seen.

          Get a grip.

      • Donnie Baseball Belongs IN the Hall says:

        Actually I do not live in New York. I watch at least 200 games a year from start to finish, and a lot more than that in pieces.

        I played baseball for about two decades. I played with some current major league talent. I have coached. I go to at least 60 games a year live (high school, minor leagues, college, MLB)

        So your argument is not valid. You could say that I am dumb and do not know the game. But I could say the same of you.

        Name me guys who played the game right? I have been watching baseball like a fiend from 1980 on. Again I have NEVER lived in New York City for an extended period of time.

        I grew up in an NL town, I watched every player from 1980 on. So again I will say the best players I ever saw were Donnie and Jeter. Jeter has more talent than Donnie did. Pete Rose is up there, but i only saw him after his peak.

        Pete took a bunch of talented losers in the Phillies and made them into champs, and that was AFTER he was the main main in Cincy.

        Donnie never had the pitching except in 94 (strike), 95 (bad managing kept them from getting past the first round) if he had won a few WS he would be mentioned as the top.

        So you stat geeks or guys that dig the long ball a little too much can say guys like A Rod, Pujols, etc etc are better but they do not do compare. A guy like A rod is so uneven I can not say hes in my top 40 guys I have seen play, he also may be on juice.

        A Rod to me is like the position player version of Nolan Ryan. If he is ON, and everything clicks he is the best player who ever put on a uni. But the next day he will strike out 4 times, make two errors, and bring his team down. A Rod is not a top all time player day in and day out. He is a great compiler, and he is needed on this current team, but are you really going to count on him to give a consistant effort day in and day out?

        Pujols is a baffoon in the field, and is one of the best hitters I have ever seen, but I think it is pretty obvious hes on something.

  32. steve (different one) says:

    sigh.

  33. Jon W. says:

    Jeter has had a great career, no doubt. And he’ll go down as one of the best SS ever. But as much as I love Jeter, he is not the best all around player of his generation. I don’t think anybody would say that Bobby Abreu was ever a “great” player, but his career line of .300/.408/.500 is actually better than Jeter’s .317/.388/.462. Yes, Jeter is a SS, and Abreu an OF, but even when he was winning gold gloves, nobody thought Jeter was a great fielder. I know it’s not popular with a lot of people, but let’s be realistic here.

  34. rbizzler says:

    Straw man arguments abound in this thread. If you want to comment on how the media portrays Jeter’s abilities as captain or how the media reports how A-rod is perceived by his teammates, then go ahead. Speculating on what the actual rapport is within the clubhouse by using selected anecdotes to determine who likes whom better or who is a more ‘vocal’ leader is worthless.

    As for Jeter’s D, well any realist knows that his range has been average or lacking for years, but that his true value is determined with the bat. Couple his advanced age with the leg injuries he played through last year, and you can see how his range regressed (even for him) last year.

    Per PeteAbe, Jeet took note of his deficiencies and adjusted his workouts accordingly in the offseason. Hopefully, this adjustment achieves the intended effect.

  35. zack says:

    This thread reminds me of the Joe Torre leaving threads, where some posters would “have the gall” to say that Joe Torre wasn’t the best manager ever and that perhaps it was time for him to move on, and the rest would respond as if their sainted uncle had been slandered. Its very hard to be rational when emotions cloud the mind, and in both cases, there are far more people who are apt to respond with how they feel about Derek or Joe vs. letting the debate really absorb. Its very different than a debate about, say, Matsui, or Shelly Duncan. Its like debating about Nomah vs. Derek back in the late 90′s with a Chowdah-head. You KNEW there was no way to convince either side or of either side being in any way rational about it, but you still dove in…

    In any case, I’d agree with Eric in that its LESS that there is any particular negativity towards Jetes and more that it simply isn’t HIS team anymore. Since 1996, Jeter has been the face of the team: young, savvy, talented, and always doing the right thing on the field.

    But its a different time now, over ten years later. Jeter is one of the older vets on a team filled with young, talented, savvy guys doing the right thing. PLUS, there’s A-Rod, who, with that new contract and whatnot, really has taken over center stage.

    So I just think for the first time not only is Jeter not being talked about as much, but all the fans that sort of obsessed over him out of default are finding other players to focus on, leaving Jeter as less of a, well, God. So maybe some of that emotion is getting cleared up and more people are actually able to take the blinders off and look a bit more critically at Jeter…

  36. billyballa says:

    Hello,

    I haven’t been on this site to post anything worth posting in awhile but I needed for my peace of mind to rebut some of the postings about the Jete! “El Capitone” I personally feel Jeter as well as the entire Yankee organization have noticed the steady decline in Jeter’s defensive game. I also feel that he is going to have an above average defensive year in 2008. I feel his offensive numbers will be on par with 2007 with perhaps a few more stolen bases. Jeter is human and he must realize and hear how the organization is concerned with his defense. He is 34 years old and exiting his prime years. I give Jeter 2 more solid but not defensively spectacular years at SS. This is one of the 3 reasons I was for eventually moving him to 2nd base and moving Cano over to 3rd if A-Rod would have departed. I also felt that with Cano’s big arm and above avg instincts which you needed over in the hot corner, he would eventually develop into a solid 3rd baseman. What Cano lacks at 2nd is top notch range to get to those balls hit up in the middle. Ironically Jeter is quicker when he moves to his left than he is to his right which is up the middle at SS.
    Nonetheless, this point is moot now that A-Rod is back, and perhaps Cano will develop into an above avg defensive 2nd baseman. His offense is top 5 amongst 2nd baseman right now.
    My last point, and I’m not trying to stir up debate that is irrelevant right now, but I was posting on every website, with Jeter’s steady decline at SS and Cano’s value I was willing to trade Cano and a minimal prospect for Santana to free up 2nd base and put a top notch defensive SS to replace Jeter. This would substantially increase the infield defense up the middle. I know Cano is a young star that is potential superstar material, but his lack of speed in that position, and his worrisome past attitude allowed me the thought to make that trade prior to giving him the contract. I didn’t want to trade any of the big 3 pitchers or the top notch prospects in the minors. I felt eventually one of these kids with more speed, ala a notch below Jose Reyes would fill in nicely at SS one day. This would increase our speed on the basepaths.

    This was my thought process and I feel that Girardi is a running take the extra base coach whom stresses small ball and strong defense. Who on this website can honestly say that we have the strong defense right now? I know we have guys that steal bases, but we don’t have the guy, ala Brett Gardner, yet who would strike fear in the opposing teams catcher and pitcher and change the way other teams play the Yankees. In fact right now, I feel the Yankees are in the bottom half of defense and have above avg speed on the base paths, but miss the type of speed in the crucial playoff games that forces other managers to change there game plan. Trading Cano at the time, (which would be stupid now) moving Jeter to second, and putting a younger stronger defensive SS in the whole with more speed than Cano has would have addressed those 2 points. Adding Santana (but not with that ridiculous contract of course) would have provided us with an ace until one of the big 3 fills that role. Regardless Jeter is going to have a better year defensively and prove the skeptics wrong. Its in his nature. Cano should become the young superstar we all expect him to become, but will that be enough? I hope with Girardis new approach it will.
    Lastly Jeter is our Captain and deserves to be treated as such. He was chosen for a reason during the great dynasty and to question is leadership now is idiotic.

  37. Sciorsci says:

    You know, for all the references to A-Rod on this thread, there’s another A-Rod dynamic at play in terms of fans questioning Jeter. Especially in 2006, but still even this past season – albeit to a lesser extent – so many fans criticized A-Rod, without even understanding the flaws of small sample sizes, the fact that “clutch” does not exist, etc. More often than not, the simpleton A-Rod critics would point to Jeter as the antithesis of A-Rod; Jeter does not produce the numbers that A-Rod does in the regular season, the argument goes, but Jeter comes up big when it counts. Well, here come those crazy small-sample-size arguments rearing their ugly head! And those reasonable, statistically inclined fans who argue against the A-Rod haters/Jeter fanboys might often seem as though they’re criticizing Jeter. For the most part, from what I can tell, they’re not. They’re criticizing any line of thought that overvalues “clutch” performance, overvalues small sample sizes, etc.

    I actually got into an argument with one of my co-workers who claims to be a passionate Yankee fan, yet he hates A-Rod. I mean, hates him with a passion. Of course, at the same time, Jeter can do no wrong in this guy’s mind. Now, I’m a Yankee fan, and I root for both A-Rod and Jeter. My co-worker accuses me of being less of a fan because I’m an A-Rod apologist. I accuse him of knowing nothing about baseball if he honestly believes the Yankees are a better team with Wilson Betemit at 3B instead of A-Rod. Heading into the postseason last year, he was crowing that MVP season or not, A-Rod would “choke” again. I reminded him that small sample sizes are the playground of the uninformed. He suggested that we should bet on who would have the better postseason, A-Rod or Jeter. I gladly took his bet. 3-for-17 and a few GIDPs later, my co-worker was making excuses about “clutch” and actually trying to mimic my own arguments about small sample sizes.

    Did I have to bet against Jeter to teach this fool something about baseball statistics? I suppose you could look at it that way. I lean more toward having bet on A-Rod. Either way, the fact is, there are a lot of fans who overrate Jeter. And, as a reasonable fan, I’m sure I come across as anti-Jeter sometimes in contrast to the irrational way that some fans regard Jeter. Personally, I don’t need to dismiss the accomplishments of A-Rod or anyone else to put Jeter’s greatness (and he is great, don’t get me wrong) in perspective, so if that makes me seem as though I’m questioning Jeter by recognizing that he’s not quite on the level of A-Rod and a few other historic greats, so be it.

  38. maximumpotential says:

    with Jeter’s def (or lack there-of) at SS, does Melky, Henn & Igawa to PITT for Jack Wilson & DeMaso Marte make sense? move Jete to CF…

  39. Mike D says:

    Come on. You’re trying to spike your traffic by writing about Jeter. This is a nonsense post. You can do better.

  40. Jason says:

    Pure and simple: Derek Jeter is the most overpaid and overhyped athlete in the history of professional team sports. $20 Million Per Season to hit a lot of shitty singles, 35 or so that never reach the outfield. $20 MILLION to hit 12 Home-Runs and drive in a whopping 73 runs. And please do not give me the tired he bats in the two hole theory. I don’t care if he bats 9th. HE MAKES $20 MILLION PER SEASON, twice as much as an actual run producer and game changer named Ryan Howard. And for all you geniuses who point to “HIS” rings. Those are team rings, rings Derek has not seen since a few guys named Bernie, Paul, Tino, And David were his teammates. Coincidence? I think not…

  41. Ray Bomber says:

    While Pete Rose’s record looks like a real longshot, Jeter can virtually sleepwalk to 3,000 hits if he stays even relatively healthy.
    First Yankee to ever record 3,000 hits – all in pinstripes. That, alone, should quiet the critics.

    A-Rod, same scenario, stays healthy – who knows how many HR’s he can hit?
    800? 900? Might beat Mr. Oh’s record in Japan!
    Either way, Bonds will be irrelevant, to the elation of many.

    The new Stadium will have identical dimensions to the present ones
    That will help Alex a great deal – but I wish they would go back to the old school dimensions, 1973 and before. Of course, that will never happen – even if the Yanks didn’t have a righthander chasing the record.
    I just pray they don’t bring in the 399′ and 408′ marks any further in!

  42. Ray Bomber says:

    Shitty singles, Jason?
    That’s gotta be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in print – and my office gets the NY Times!

    Hmm, where I’m from a hit is a hit, whether it dribbles in front of home plate or screams off the Fenway wall so hard, you can’t make it to second.
    When Jeter compiles 3,000+ of those shitty singles, it will put him in very rare company.
    Ty Cobb and Pete Rose didn’t hit home runs either.
    Guess they were the 2nd and 3rd most over-rated players ever?

    Name me one team that wouldn’t trade for Jeter right now and I’ll shut up for the rest of the season.

    …and you can pay a guy $100M a year. If he hits second in the lineup, he’s never going to drive in the runs he would if you were to bat him 3-6.

  43. I know that Derek S Jeter is the cutest yankees of all time.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.