On Derek’s defense, again


In 1997, during his age 36 season, Cal Ripken, a far superior defensive short stop than Derek Jeter, moved over to the Hot Corner. He knew he couldn’t man short, and for the good of the team, he shifted to his right. In 2009, Derek Jeter will play his age 35 season, and the debate over his defense has raged for years. This weekend, Dugout Central chimed in on the issue and wondered when and to where the captain would shift positions. Jeter has been vocal in insisting that he’s not going to move off short, but at some point soon, he should.

Categories : Asides, Defense


  1. r.w.g. says:

    He should be traded.

    • radnom says:

      You should be traded.

      • r.w.g. says:

        derek doesn’t make the team all that good anymore. his power has disappeared and he plays bad defense. i have a lot of respect for the injuries he plays through, but he needs to move off SS and doesn’t seem real interested.

        • r.w.g. says:

          *and he doesn’t seem real interested in changing positions.

          • Slugger27 says:

            did he address the situation publicly? i remember him not wanting to switch before the arod trade, but what has he said recently?

            obviously, one would assume he wouldnt want to… but ya never know… after all ripken agreed to

          • “”derek doesn’t make the team all that good anymore.”

            Derek Jeter’s tripleslash, 2004-2008:
            .292/.352/.471 (114 OPS+)
            .309/.389/.450 (125)
            .343/.417/.483 (132)
            .322/.388/.452 (121)
            .300/.363/.408 (102)

            Derek Jeter makes the team good. If you want to argue that, due to age, his production is going to fall off a cliff at some point in the near future and he won’t make the team good going forward, perhaps you have an argument. But Derek Jeter, even if he doesn’t hit homeruns, still hits the ball well, gets on base a ton and helps his team win games. He’s a very good offensive ballplayer even at an advanced age, and while I’ll agree with you that it would help the team to get a truly great defensive player at short, if that player can’t approximate Jeter’s offensive production, then we’re just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

            • Steve says:

              TSJC, you’ll never win a Jeter argument using SLG/OPS because thats not the type of player he is. He’s a table setter, so I’m only interested in 2 numbers from Derek, OBP and Runs scored. Here’s his production from the same time period you used

              2005 .389 OBP/ 122 R
              2006 .417 OBP/ 118 R
              2007 .388 OBP/ 102 R
              2008 .363 OBP/ 88 R

              I’m not sure what to make of last year, since he had the hand injury which clearly hampered his hitting for over a month. But the trend line is still downward in Runs Scored. Now before you tell me that’s a function of the the team he played on, it was a top team for Runs scored in 2005 (886 #2), 2006 (930 #1) and 2007 (968 #1) 2008 (789 #10). If you noticed from 2005-2007 as the team scored more runs, he scored less. Not good.

              I’m willing to give Derek 2009 to show who he really is at this point of his career. But if present trends continue, I’ll be looking to stick him in LF and go find a real SS (who can also hit) for 2010.

        • Anthony says:

          So if Jeter should move, where do you think he should go? Second? Left? What are you people talking about?

    • Steve S says:

      This is when I get the douche-chill moments

  2. steve (different one) says:

    sits back….grabs popcorn….

    • r.w.g. says:

      i don’t even really think it’s that controversial of an opinion. he’s a really good guy, and he shouldn’t move off SS this year.. but if he really won’t move off SS ever what choice does the team have?

      you either have to trade the guy or just let him walk, right?

      • Alan says:

        You do realize fans would burn down the new stadium if the Yankees ever traded Jeter, right?

        • r.w.g. says:

          if derek really won’t move off SS ever, and his defensive play there continues to decline (it did improve in 2008), i think people will realize the team can’t keep him.

          • I think you’re taking the “he’ll never move off of SS ” thing too literally. Jeter wants to play SS forever and he wants to be a Yankee forever. My guess is, if the team decides it’s time to bring someone else in and move Jeter to the outfield, his Yankee desires will trump his SS desires. After all, look at ARod.

            Times change… people change… hairstyles change… interest rates fluctuate, who knows?

          • Chris C. says:

            I have NEVER heard Derek Jeter say that he will “never move off SS ever”, nor have I ever heard that either Joe Torre, Joe Girardi, or Brian Cashman have asked him to move from that position.

            Where are you people getting this from?

      • steve (different one) says:

        you are making the assumption that he won’t be willing to move in 2 years because he wasn’t willing to move 5 years ago.

        we have no way of knowing that.

        we do know this: he’s going to be the SS in 2009 and he will not be traded. ever.

        when it is time to renew his contract, hopefully everything will get put out on the table and discussed. it is very possible that Jeter accepts a change at that point.

        • r.w.g. says:

          i agree with pretty much all of this. he won’t be moving for the duration of his current contract.

        • Chris C. says:

          “you are making the assumption that he won’t be willing to move in 2 years because he wasn’t willing to move 5 years ago.”

          I don’t think he was asked to change positions even 5 years ago. And I mean asked from someone meaningful within the organization, not Jon Heyman.

  3. Alan says:

    We’ve inserted a baited hook for trolls into today’s conversation, let’s see if they notice.

    In regards to the topic, yes I do think Jeter will have to seriously consider the prospect of moving off of the shortstop position. If he wants to be a real leader for the team, he’ll need to come to accept the limitations of his age and move to where he can be useful. Unfortunately, we have no one to take over shortstop at the moment. Carmen Angelini would be the most likely successor, but he’s a couple years away at best.

  4. TurnTwo says:

    this just isnt a topic the Yankees are going to have to worry about for 2009.

    He’s not moving to a new position the first year of the new Stadium, nor is there really anyone available to take the spot from Jeter.

    its like in the final year or two that Bernie was in CF, all of a sudden people were complaining how how he doesnt have the arm a CF needs to play the position, but forgetting he never had a great arm to begin with.

    we know Jeter cant range up the middle, but is he awful? no, and last year it looked like his defense actually improved from the season before.

    • Alan says:

      His numbers did trend upward from the previous two seasons. All of the important defensive stats trended upwards. While its likely an anomaly given his age this topic is probably a big non-issue, at least for this season. I’d say after next season it’ll become a more serious discussion.

    • Chris C. says:

      we know Jeter cant range up the middle, but is he awful? no, and last year it looked like his defense actually improved from the season before.

      His arm has become a bit erratic as well. I’ve noticed many bad throws, even on routine plays over the passed two seasons.
      Otherwise, there’s alot of things he does as SS very well, actually.

      • Ben K. says:

        Ok. So let me get this straight. Derek Jeter, according to you, cannot range up the middle and his arm isn’t that great. But he does ” a lot of things..very well.’

        Yes. He’s great at diving into the stands. Let alone is worth keeping him at short.

        • Chris C. says:

          Jeter’s rang to his left is no that great, and his throwing has become erratic. But he is excellent at charging slow rollers, excellent at going back on short flies, and has a great instinct for the position that can’t be taught. That’s what I meant by “he does alot of things very well”.

  5. ohbwonhomie says:

    could he become a left fielder ala yount? good accurate arm and catches pops easily especially moving away from him. over the shoulder catches made to look easy, if so….then i take back what i said about trading for holliday this year in an earlier posting response or the other trade i was cooking up in my messed up head of trading for soriano giving up little to nothing just picking up a sizable portion of his contract from cubs. (only if cubbies really think they can land a manny or something like that) that guy who said trading jeter or we should trade jeter, he was under the influence right????

    • Alan says:

      We’ll stick him in the “didn’t have his morning coffee” boat with me.

    • Chris C. says:

      “could he become a left fielder ala yount?”

      Yount became a centerfielder. And I believe he won a gold glove there as well. So I certainly believe Jeter could handle left.

      • Yes, Yount became a centerfielder. Didn’t win a Gold Glove there, but I’m with you. I think Jeter would be fine at any of the outfield spots.

        • Steve says:

          I’d prefer to stick him in Left. Its the easiest to play, and I want someone who can cover a lot of ground playing CF. It can make up for two less range-y OFers on the corners, for obvious reasons.

          The way I’d look at it he’s not a classic LF, but he’d be replacing Johnny Damon. And we have to do SOMETHING with him.

          (Geez, all of a sudden I’m talking about Derek like he’s your wife’s grandmother)

  6. Murph1010 says:

    He is just not that good anymore. He doesn’t hit very well, and doesn’t play defense very well. All he does is ground into double plays. I say trade him or let him leave in 2 years so we can get some good draft picks.

  7. Steve S says:

    This whole conversation is moot:

    1) There is no one either through free agency or in the minors that is even remotely close to being able to replace him

    2) He is top 3 in both VORP and Win Shares for shortstops in the AL and top 10 in MLB. Which demonstrates that even in an off year he is still a viable offensive player.

    3) I know the defensive metrics demonstrate certain things but watching him every day, I dont know if you can say he is a liability out there. He is pretty sure handed on the balls hit to him. He turns the double play, he has the pop flies and it seemed to me he got to more balls up the middle this year. All that being said he has limited ranged for a shortstop and that will dwindle more but this conversation is at least a year away. Unless you can name a realistic replacement or plan then why even discuss this.

    4) The Yankees will not trade Derek Jeter and there is absolutely 0.0 teams out there that will trade for him at his salary. That discussion is completely ridiculous.

    5) His contract after 2010. They should talk to him after next year about contemplating LF BUT only if they have a viable replacement. Shortstops are not easy to find.

    • Old Ranger says:

      Jeter got to more balls hit up the middle because he moved over a bit. That is why some hits got through on his right. One must face it, he is less of a leader then Posada and (I hate to say it) A-Rod. Jeter never has been a leader, just the face of the Yankees and NY’s favorite son.
      I believe he will move at his new contract, or the Yanks won’t resign him…where he moves is still up in the air, when the time comes, they will address it. Angelini might be ready by 2010 but, if his hitting improves he could push himself to the forefront sooner. Honestly, I wounder if he will be the answer for SS? 27/09.

      • You really honestly think Derek Jeter is walking away from the New York Yankees in two years? Really?

        • Old Ranger says:

          No….I think he will be convinced to move. 27/09.

        • Old Ranger says:

          Come to think about it…
          Wouldn’t it be nice to see him walk away on top…in two/three years? He has all the money he needs, the hitting records (he wants) may be reached in 2-3 years, why not do as Joe D. Ted W., Moose and even Donny Baseball did…walk.
          I hate to see players play until they are a shadow of what they once were…and try and explain to the younger fans, you should’ve seen him when he was younger and great. I hated it in the late 60s’ telling someone how great Mickey Mantle really was in the 50s’ and early 60s’. 27/09.

      • Steve S says:

        I have to know how you can evaluate his leadership skills? How will he be as a father because you must have some kind of personal knowledge of this stuff?

        I am gonna try to understand this. How can you evaluate Arod’s and Posada’s skills as leaders?

        This has to be the most subjective, ridiculous comment I have ever seen. How many games have you seen Carmen Angelini play? You not only can evaluate players leadership skills, you can project a a kid who was drafted out of high school LAST YEAR, to rise up through the majors and take the place of Derek Jeter, who is STILL one of the better shortstops in the league, at his age 21 season? And by the way Carmen Angleni managed a .597 OPS at low A. Really, really, thats your suggestion for the guy that everyone who covers this team says is one of the better players and a leader? Just want to make sure this was your point.

        • Derek Jeter sleeps with hot model chicks and actresses like it’s going out of style. Jorge Posada, on the other hand, has a wife and urinates on his hands.

          Similarly, Wilt Chamberlain had sex with 20,000 women but Bill Russell had 11 rings and urinated on his hands (probably).

          Banging hot chicks constantly = not a leader
          Having a wife and peeing on your hands = better than Ghandi

        • Old Ranger says:

          No, it wasn’t my point, but keep trying Steve S.

          I don’t remember saying Angelini was a leader or the de facto replacement for Jeter, 2009 or the next year! I said he (maybe not well enough) is the one people keep talking of as the best we have…right now, to project. Hell, right now Angelini couldn’t play catch with Jeter.
          As for leadership ability (Jeters’), he has never stood up and backed up a team mate or gotten in anyone’s face (that I have ever heard). All one ever hears from him are the PC things to say in any situation. A-Rod has taken a couple of the younger guys under his wing (I am not a big A-Rod guy) and worked with them. Posada will get in your face in a heartbeat, sometimes not to wise in the things he says, but he leads by example and ability. And yes, I have seen Angelini play, way to many E, SO, etc., but I digress, no he is not ready and will not be ready for a long time…if ever. Have fun! 27/09.

          • Steve S says:

            I never said that you thought Angelini would be a leader. I just was a little shocked that anyone would suggest in the same breath that Jeter is a poor leader AND that a potential replacement in 2 years could be Carmen Angelini. And by the way it might make it worse that you saw Angelini and saw Jeter this year and came to that conclusion.

            Im not a Jeter apologist but he has stuck of for teammates, he just never stuck up for Arod which rubs people the wrong way. He stuck up for Giambi, he stuck up for Clemens. What young guys has Arod taken under his wing? Just because he makes faces to Melky Cabrera and Robbie Cano and giggles, that means he took them under his wing? Really? Im glad the two of those guys really took off while bing under his wing. Unless there are other guys he took under his wing.

            And I am a big Arod guy and the guy has been a great ballplayer, his leadership skills should only be evaluated with respect to the effort he puts forth because everything else wont really be known to us. Unless you have access to the clubhouse and is in there you have no clue. So the concept that he should be rah-rah or be controversial? Really thats the measure of a leader? This is just beyond dumb. Jeter leads by example just like Donnie Baseball did.

            You are basing everything you are saying based on subjective observations of YES broadcasts and hearsay from broadcasters and the media.

            And you still havent answered how Posada is a leader. How did you piece that one together. Tell me, is Joba a good leader because he got a DUI, pumps his fist and threw high and tight to Youkilis? Go read a Mike Lupica book tell me about how its the intangibles and the heart of man that results in being a good athlete.

            • Old Ranger says:

              Misunderstood the point I was trying to make, all I was trying to say is Jeter is the face of the Yankees, not the sort to get in the face of guys like Cano. Then again, as you pointed out, I’m not in the club house…maybe he has, it didn’t seem to help if he did.
              I hate to bring up the old days but; Joe D (I think it was him or Hank Baure) said to a guy that screwed up on a game…”Don’t mess with my WS money.” (I hope someone will know who said that for a fact.)
              A few others mentioned Angelini as a replacement (down the line) so I expounded on it, that’s all. I don’t know at this juncture, if Angelini will ever make it to the show, let alone take Jeters’ spot…he sure hasn’t shown me a lot (as I posted above).
              Thanks for the comments, it keeps things lively. 27/09.

              • Chris C. says:

                “Misunderstood the point I was trying to make”

                Got your point. Your point is, a leader has to get in peoples faces. That’s bullshit.
                There have been many, many great leaders in all different sports that have done so quietly, by example, and through the respect they garner from other atheletes.
                Jeter may be one of them.

              • Steve S says:

                There were a lot of people who thought Joe D was an a-hole and kept to himself. I dont know if thats true but some say it. They also say he wasnt the nicest guy in the world to Mickey Mantle, who was referred to a great teammate and a great leader but managed to have a quite eventful night life (as painted by Billy crystal). And I dont know if any of that is true, its merely rumors by others.

                The bottom line with Jeter, is people in the league and around that team treat him with reverence and the guy hustles day in and day out. And say what you will you could tell how much it bothered him this year when they missed it, when he had to make that speech on the last night. His leadership skills are proven from that as much as they can be. He shows up every day and he shows up hurt and he gives it his all. And all of that applies to Arod also, he busts it every day no matter what. For all those people looking for brimstone and fire. Who was that guy in the late 90′s? Didnt exist. And comparing guys from the 40′s anf 50′s, thats not fair at all. Different time and thats not even just relating to baseball.

          • Steve S says:

            And you said that Angelini in 2010. Thats one year from now, when Angelini will be 21 years old which is what I said.

          • Chris C. says:

            “As for leadership ability (Jeters’), he has never stood up and backed up a team mate or gotten in anyone’s face (that I have ever heard).”

            Why, because he didn’t tell the fans to stop booing AROD??
            That was stupid right from the beginning. What player is going to tell the fans to stop booing? Did Munson tell the fans to stop booing Jackson? Must be a bad leader then.
            The teammates Jeter has backed in the press is a tremendous list. Jeter was the biggest supporter of Giambi when the balco stuff hit the fan, and Pettitte as well, after Clemens dragged him through the mud.

            “All one ever hears from him are the PC things to say in any situation.”

            Are you expecting Derek Jeter to give you the Knute Rockne speach in the NY Post?

            “Posada will get in your face in a heartbeat, sometimes not to wise in the things he says, but he leads by example and ability.”

            You make it sound like Posada’s actually gotten in YOUR face.
            So you have to yell at people to be a leader? Gotcha.

            “A-Rod has taken a couple of the younger guys under his wing (I am not a big A-Rod guy) and worked with them.”

            What do you mean, “worked with them”? I have never heard a player say that AROD helped refine their swing.

            “And yes, I have seen Angelini play, way to many E, SO, etc.”

            Awesome. Not only should he take Jeter’s position, but they should instantly name him the Captain as well!

            • Are you expecting Derek Jeter to give you the Knute Rockne speach in the NY Post?

              The last thing he said to me, Doc, he said… Sometime, when the crew is up against it, when the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to get out there and give it all they got… and win just one for the Zipper.

              I don’t know where I’ll be then Doc, he said… but I won’t smell too good, that’s for sure.

      • Slugger27 says:

        “jeter never has been a leader”

        u must elaborate

      • Chris C. says:

        “Jeter got to more balls hit up the middle because he moved over a bit. That is why some hits got through on his right. One must face it, he is less of a leader then Posada”

        Why do people always pretend to know what goes on in a clubhouse? What, he’s not a good leader because he’s not seen yelling in someone’s face? So Mattingly wasn’t a good leader either? And Munson wasn’t a good leader because he got into clubhouse fights and was supposedley surly towards young players?

        I remember alot of Yankee fans saying a few years back that Gary Sheffield was the real leader of the Yankees……..because Gary Sheffield told everybody he was. Please!

  8. Ivan says:

    It’s funny how people keep saying, trade Derek Jeter like it’s so easy. The guy was hitting extremely well after his hand was in much better shape, so the bat is still lethal.

    Plus, who would trade for DJ right now given his contract and his defensive liabilities? Who, name me one? Exactly.

  9. Slugge27 says:

    Couple points:

    He improved his defense dramatically this year from 2007. Before even looking at the numbers, i could tell with my own eyes he got to more balls

    Where could we put him? 2b is locked up for a few years, 3b is locked up for 9… he doesnt hit for near enough power to go to 1b ((i know hes a 300 hitter, but nevertheless, 1b should not be a spot for purely singles hitters)) he has a good arm but not a great one, which makes rf look iffy… CF could work, but if he has a lack of range at SS, why wouldnt he have one in CF? the only plausible position for him to move is to LF, and its possible that position best suits ajax ((if he indeed pans out))

    its a tough situation… LF being the only one i could see happening… but the bottom line is, thanks to girardi working on his defensive positioning, he got to more balls and improved… hes staying at SS for the next 2 years at least, so lets see how those 2 years go before we talk about where hes gonna play in his next contract

    • CF could work, but if he has a lack of range at SS, why wouldnt he have one in CF?

      Because range at SS is based more on reflexes/flexibility/quickness and range in the outfield is based more on flat out speed and instincts/jump on reading a flyball. Jeter has always had a problem getting down on hard hit grounders to his left or right, where he needs quick lateral movement, but his overall range in tracking and running under pop-ups has always been excellent.

      Look at Bossman Jr. in Tampa. He wasn’t quick enough to hack it at 2B, SS, or 3B (although they tried), but he’s plenty fast enough to be an outstanding CF.

      • Slugger27 says:

        u raise good points… i guess im just still in the old fashioned “CF is defense 1st, defense 2nd, defense 3rd, offense 4th” frame of mind… and not sure if he could be a great defensive CF.

        if his speed enables him to, as u say, then id be all for it, and his bat would be a huge plus as a CFer… i guess im just skeptical of someone at his age maintaining the speed and range it takes to play a great CF… torii hunter and mike cameron will go down as 2 of the greatest defensive CFers in decades and even they look like theyre declining out there

        hes always been good at tracking pop ups… so if his speed holds up i think CF would be great fit… but he’ll turn 35 next season… and the number of 35 year old CFers in baseball become fewer and fewer every year

  10. Baseballnation says:

    They can just slide him to second, and Cano to SS. This would at least give everyone something else to critic at ss other than Jeter dense…Now it would be Cano’s laziness! In all seriousness…They will most likely move him to CF, or LF

  11. CountryClub says:

    Jeter is still one of the best offensive SS’s in baseball. We fans compare him to himself too often. Even his down year last year was better than 75% (maybe more) of the other SS’s. His offensive benefit more than makes up for the 2 or 3 balls a week that get to the outfield because his range isnt what it used to be. they Yanks have far bigger problems.

  12. E-ROC says:

    Unless the Yanks plan on moving him to CF or 1B next season, I don’t think he’ll be moved from that position. Austin Jackson will probably be taking over CF in 2010, maybe mid-season next year. Tex might be playing first next year for next 6-7 years. The Yanks could have Cano and Jeter switch positions. Personally, I don’t see the position change happening ever until he’s about 50 when he’s retired.

  13. Chris says:

    Why all the rush to move him off SS? He may not be a good defensive shortstop, but he’s no worse than he was the rest of his career. If his bat slips to the point where it’s a liability at SS, then it would be even worse at another position.

  14. Januz says:

    They are not moving Derek Jeter off of Short. The reality of the matter is where will they put him? And who would actually be an improvement (Jimmy Rollins?). Here are the numbers: They have three more years of Jeter. This is his contract: 10 years/$189M (2001-10). Source: mlbcontracts.blogspot.com. What will happen, is he will reach 3,000 hits and become only the second shortstop to reach that number as a shortstop (Honus Wagner being the first). Right now, he is at 2,535. Source: http://www.baseball-reference.com.
    I really expect Jeter to retire after that: I do not think he wants to play for another team, and show diminished skills and bad judgement (Like Brett Favre), nor does he want to play second fiddle to Arod (Which he will, as Rodriguez gets closer to Bonds). The reality is, he will be replaced by someone like Lassiter, Angelini, or Joseph, who offers a lower cost option than $20m a season. PS: They did not draft those guys and sign them for no reason.

    • Here are the numbers: They have three more years of Jeter. This is his contract: 10 years/$189M (2001-10)… What will happen, is he will reach 3,000 hits and become only the second shortstop to reach that number as a shortstop… I really expect Jeter to retire after that.

      Am I reading your math wrong? The 2008 season is over. He has two years left on his contract, not three: 2009 and 2010. Considering that he’s 465 hits away from 3000, he’s going to have to sign another contract to get to 3000, no?

  15. Januz says:

    TSJC, I stand corrected (Blame it on a blonde streak). The fact that Jeter has a year less, makes things very interesting. If they do not go after Teixeira, Sabathia, etc, it may be a clue that they are going to rebuild, and you don’t need to pay 35 year old shortstops who are declining $20m a year to do that.

  16. A.D. says:


    Yeah Jeter isn’t the best defensive SS in the game, but hes #7 in zone rating, not too shabby, and vastly improved from ’07

  17. bkight13 says:

    The only move that I could see for Jeter would be to 1B. He would be above average defensively and adequate offensively. That decision has to be made now though if they are looking at Teixeira. If they miss on Tex, I think the switch would make sense.

    Of course it would only make sense if we got a guy like Furcal to play SS(offense and defense) and I don’t know if that is possible. A lot of ifs.

  18. Old Ranger says:

    I guess they told me!

    Just a side note…
    I’ve met (and worked with some very good) leaders, most of them set the example (per Jeter) but, when called on, they could be the night mirror you never wanted to meet. Not saying people don’t lead by example…they do, and Jeter has, very adroitly.
    Jorge, Andy and Jeter are my personnel favorite Yankees, so don’t think I was raging on Jeter, I’m of the old school…sorry.
    As for Joe D. being an ass…yes, he got Mickey hurt on that drain. And yes, Mickey was a very heavy drinker, in fact…
    One time he was told, he need not play the next day, so he proceeded to get under the weather the night before the game. Needless to say, Casey called down the bench to get ready to hit. He had to go into the club house and get his spikes on, then proceeded to hit a HR to win the game. As told; he crossed home plate to the cheerers of the crowd saying…they don’t know how hard that was.
    Good thing that’s over. I got trashed, not the first or last time. 27/09.

  19. [...] these developments make me damn glad we have Derek Jeter locked in at shortstop. Yeah, sometimes we complain about his defense, but that’s mostly because we’re running out of things to talk about. You’d like [...]

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