The Great Derek Debate and the CF issue collide

It's Derek vs. the Yanks in Spring Training
Yanks have the odds

Oh, Derek Jeter, what ever will the Yanks do with you in 20 months when you’re long-awaited and long-dreaded free agency rolls around? The Yanks will be saddled with a popular player past his prime and not very good at defense coming off of a contract in which he was overpaid. Someone has the upper hand in that bargaining session. I’m just not sure which side.

But that is a conversation for next season. For now, we get to talk about Derek the short stop, also one of everyone’s favorite topics. Christina Kahrl got the party started with a Baseball Prospectus piece (hosted on ESPN.com) about how Derek should move to center field. Her argument:

Crying over last year’s spilled Melky won’t help them catch up to the Rays and Red Sox, but signing Orlando Cabrera would provide the team with a useful-enough hitter, and a slick-fielding asset at short could make a small but important difference to a bad defensive ballclub. Last season’s Yankees ranked 25th in the major leagues in defensive efficiency (their ability to convert balls in play into outs) and park-adjusted defensive efficiency, and no positions see more chances than the middle infield. For all his defensive warts, Jeter has a strong arm and has always earned praise for his ability to track bloopers and pop-ups. These skills should both translate in center field. And simply by providing his usual dose of high OBP, he’d be a much better option than running Melky Cabrera out to center for 117 games, which the Yankees did last year.

Swapping Jeter out at short to address the team’s need for a center fielder would be the sort of win-win move that can let the Yankees return to the top of the standings while breaking in their new stadium, and it does nothing to damage the Captain’s place in franchise history. If Yount or Ripken, MVP winners and top stars in their day, could agree to help their teams and themselves to make these switches, you need to ask yourself why Jeter should be any different, especially when the need has gone from debatable to obvious.

Okay. So that’s a pretty convincing argument on its face. Kahrl, however, opted against using any metrics to evaluate how Jeter might do in center field and how the Yanks would fare with Orlando Cabrera at short. Enter Driveline Mechanics.

David Golebiewski analyzed Kahrl’s proposal and came up with a statistical answer to my questions. The analysis is rigorous. The conclusion:

We have little idea of how good or bad of a center fielder Derek Jeter would be, but even if we assume that Jeter would be lousy (costing his team -12.5 runs with the leather), the projected WAR of an Orlando Cabrera/Derek Jeter duo (4.79 WAR) trumps that of a Jeter/Melky Cabrera alignment (3.89 WAR) by nearly a win. If Jeter isn’t quite so bad, that advantage grows even further, perhaps nearer 2 wins if Jeter is only kind of bad in center.

Rob Neyer had a take on this as well. He hears what Kahrl and Golebiewski had to say and doesn’t feel that the two-win differential is worth the experiment. Neyer wants to see Brett Gardner win the job, get on base enough and steal. Whether he can do it is anyone’s guess.

Neyer, by no stretch of the imagination a Yankee fan, suggests that the Yanks should cut Jeter loose after 2010. I doubt that they will, and I sentimentally hope they don’t. But for now, just like his defense, it is just an issue lurking around the corner, and it won’t go away until the Yanks have to confront it head on.

It's Derek vs. the Yanks in Spring Training
Yanks have the odds
  • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    Neyer is a very smart guy; he seems to be one of the few people who realize that Jeter needs to hit the road in 2010.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Never happen. As long as he has some milestones to catch and a decent bat, they will find a spot for him. The Yanks will never let Jeter finish his career wearing another team’s jersey. We all know he needs to get off of SS, but I think CF is too demanding for a 36 year old. LF sounds like a good landing spot to me.

      Its hard to imagine the Yanks without Jeter, and you could see him even becoming manager someday after a brief retirement.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I still believe that Jeter, even at 36, will be not merely a passable or a poor outfielder but rather a good to great one. Jeter is a good athlete, but his specific athletic skillset no longer fits well with shortstop – he has limited quick-twitch lateral range making it hard for him to range down for grounders to his left or right, and has a strong but inaccurate arm making it hard for him to hit the small target on short, hard throws to second or first.

        But, while he has limited quickness and limited accuracy, he still has good top-end speed and a strong arm overall; those two things would help him cover more ground in the outfield and give him the ability to get many outfield assists be getting the ball back into the infield rapidly (and pinpoint accuracy is less critical on those longer throws.)

        Think about it: what two things has Jeter always done well for a shortstop, even in his advanced age? 1) Range deep into the outfield or foul territory on popups, and 2) Make hard, long jumpthrows to first.

        He’s basically been an elite outfielder playing out of position at shortstop for quite sometime now. He’s like a B.J. Upton: placed in the middle infield initially due to his athletic potential, but eventually moved to the outfield where he flourished.

        Making an educated guess that Jeter would be a -12.5 defensively in CF is selling him WAY too short. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he was a +12.5.

      • Brian

        I agree that Jeter should EVENTUALLY land in LF. If he is going to move this year (and he won’t), then CF is where he needs to move to.

    • Let’s Talk About TEX Baby

      Ultimately, Jeter’s future is at a corner oufield spot. I think the Yankees should offer to extend him after the 2009 season, but on the condition that he moves to RF in 2010. He’s got the arm and there’s less ground for him to cover there than left. Trade for J.J. Hardy who the Brewers will be looking to unload to make room for Alcedes Escobar. Sign Matt Holliday or Jason Bay to share time with Swisher at LF/DH. This leaves us with a lineup of:

      Jeter
      Cano
      Arod
      Tex
      Holliday/Bay
      Posada
      Swisher
      Hardy
      Austin Jackson

      I think that’s enough offense and if Swisher doesn’t look like an every day player this year we could always bring back Matsui or Damon to DH or resign Nady

  • Brian Cashman is watching

    Neyer is the best of the three, but I have little faith in Gardner. I do not think he is much more than a backup, who gets a lot of credit because of his speed. But it is a moot point because Austin Jackson is a year away, and is already a better defender than Gardner.

    Assuming Jeter moves, wouldn’t RF or LF make more sense anyway?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Nah. Then you have an offensive issue. Jeter is a sub-par corner offensive player.

      • Brian Cashman is watching

        I understand that, but it is very likely that Jeter is returning in some capacity. CF is out if we accept that A-Jax is able to play major league average CF. 1B and 3B (the most logical destinations) are out. LF or RF are seemingly all that is left if there is a SS to step in.

        Then again, Angelini is not looking good, and him and Lassiter are years away and far from sure things.

        • THE KID

          Exactly, two words…Austin Jackson

      • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        Yes, but he and Damon are both going to play no matter what. Might as well have Damon play CF and Jeter play LF. At least you know what you’re getting with Damon defensively.

        • Brian

          It is easier to hide Damon’s arm in LF.

      • steve (different one)

        Then you have an offensive issue. Jeter is a sub-par corner offensive player.

        depends which Jeter you get.

        2008 Jeter obviously is not a LFer.

        but 2007 Jeter plays just fine in LF. just fine.

        now, it’s obviously unlikely that Jeter is going to get BETTER as he gets older, but perhaps taking him off of SS will keep him fresher through the year.

        this idea that a TYPICAL Jeter year (and i know this isn’t what you were saying, Ben) can’t play in LF just because he hits less than 15 HRs is absurd. he still brings the great OBP and is still capable of punching 50-60 XBH’s.

        it’s basically the same as having Damon in LF.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          depends which Jeter you get. 2008 Jeter obviously is not a LFer. but 2007 Jeter plays just fine in LF. just fine.

          Exactly. Jeter’s 2008 wOBA of .343 was his worst since his rookie year, and the hand injury probably had a lot to do with that. But if you use his career average wOBA of .374, he’d have been tied for the 8th best leftfielder in baseball last year and tied for the 7th best rightfielder.

          LF
          Manny Ramirez – .432
          Matt Holliday – .418
          Carlos Quentin – .414
          Jason Bay – .387
          Adam Dunn – .383
          Andre Ethier – .382
          Ryan Braun – .377
          Derek Jeter – .374
          Pat Burrell – .374
          Xavier Nady – .374
          Alfonso Soriano – .374
          Johnny Damon – .373
          Jack Cust – .371

          RF
          Ryan Ludwick – .406
          Nick Markakis – .389
          Andre Ethier – .382
          Brad Hawpe – .379
          Jermaine Dye – .376
          Brian Giles – .376
          Derek Jeter – .374
          Magglio Ordonez – .373
          Vladimir Guerrero – .373
          Bobby Abreu – .368

    • http://ranger2709.blogspot.com Old Ranger

      Only thing A-Jax has over Brett (on defence) is his arm is stronger. Brett covers more ground, takes better routes, and better jump on the ball…not by much but, enough, mostly on the jump he gets.
      A-Jax is a better all around player but, if Brett can hit enough to stay on the job in CF I would love to see Brett and A-Jax in the OF. Talk about speed and defence, it would be great.

      • Lasoo

        Brett developing into a solid CF would really help the yankees a WHOLE lot.

        -It gives the yankee lineup speed that it really needs.
        -Possible lead-off hitter assurance in case Damon is not resigned
        -It takes the the pressure off A-Jack to be in ready by next year.
        -And it means we don’t have to feel forced to give a huge deal to Holliday, Bay, or Nady next year.

      • Brian Cashman is watching

        Gardner has never taken a good route. His speed makes up for it. I keep hearing he is a great defender from fans, but I cannot find a commentator to agree. Can someone show me an article saying Gardner is a great defender compared to Melky and A-Jax?

        • http://ranger2709.blogspot.com Old Ranger

          I wonder how many of those commentators ever saw him play more then one game in person. To put Melky in this equation is a joke. He isn’t even close to Brett and A-Jax…unless one counts his arm as the Number one asset in an OFer…not.
          Brett has the baseball instincts great athletes like A-Jax don’t have…although I was pleasantly suprised to see he is an exception to the rule, he has pretty good instincts. I think maybe you have been reading to many of the propaganda articles about A-Jax, he isn’t and may never be a all-star CFer of the caliber Ken Griffy Jr., Wells etc. Brett will never be as good (all around) as A-Jax projections put him to be but, I believe he can be a serviceable one with a lot of talents we need on this team.

          • Stephen

            I think I remember Keith Law not being overly enthused with Garnder’s defense, I think somewhere along the lines of average to above average, but definitely not great.

            • Brian Cashman is watching

              Keith Law and Baseball America have both been down on Gardner’s defense. Law has repeatedly rated both Gardner and Melky low, but Melky as slightly better. Melky is getting a bad reputation for no reason. Gardner is getting overly hyped. Neither is particularly good, but might be serviceable. Again, I see no evidence that Gardner is particularly good without looking at a small sample. There is no propaganda, A-Jax simply is better than Gardner.

              • Bo

                Why is Keith Law the expert? Because he has a column on ESPN? He’s like every other scout out there. Wrong most of the time on most players.

                • Brian Cashman is watching

                  So instead of attack my argument, you attack my source? I’m willing to change my mind, but I need more than just being told the source sucks. I want something substantive to show me Brett Gardner is a better defensive outfielder. Right now, there is no proof other than mere fan speculation. You don’t like Law, that’s fine, but offer me an article from someone who is a scout, or GM, or something.

                • http://ranger2709.blogspot.com Old Ranger

                  http://www.minorleagueball.com/2008/9/24/620941/analysis-of-yankees-prospe

                  I wish I could do better but I don’t know how to put in a link, sorry.

              • http://ranger2709.blogspot.com Old Ranger

                I have never said Brett was better then A-Jax, I said he has some aspects of the game that were better but, I also said A-Jax was the better all around player. A-Jax nor Brett will ever be all-stars but, I can see A-Jax as one of the top 5+ OFers in a few years
                Your first statement was;

                Neyer is the best of the three, but I have little faith in Gardner. I do not think he is much more than a backup, who gets a lot of credit because of his speed. But it is a moot point because Austin Jackson is a year away, and is already a better defender than Gardner.

                I happen to disagree with that statement because if one reads more of the reports on Brett, one will find the reason he has been thought of as less then what he is…he played some LF/RF the last couple years. He had never played LF/RF before so, his UZR/150 was…let’s say, not good. His UZR/150 was very good for CF, in fact everything was good for CF.
                Of course, everyone knows I am very supportive of Brett and have been even before 2008 ST, so to be fair, let’s admit I may be a bit bi-est.

                • Brian Cashman is watching

                  I’m not disagreeing with him being a good defensive player. All I question is whether he is better than Jackson, who is considered on of the best defensive players. But I admit, I do not think he is more than a fourth outfielder at this point. I am willing to change my mind, and Gardner could be more.

                  Where do you have minor league UZR ratings? I have only major league UZR ratings. I have only range ratings for minor leagues.

  • THU

    It’s an interesting idea, but I’d think we’d be better to just go into 2009 with Jeter at SS.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    And there is the fact that Orlando Cabrera is a pretty miserable hitter that’s nearly 35 years old, and the Yanks would have to give up a pick to get him. Plus he’s got a rep as being a bit of a jerk, dating back to his days with the Expos.

    Is he worth it? Nah.

    • Brian Cashman is watching

      Dating back to the Vermont Expos, you mean.

      • Mike Pop

        Montreal Expos

        • Brian Cashman is watching

          No, Vermont. Vermont is the short season affiliate and Cabrera played there (as did Milton Bradley). I saw them both as I lived in Vermont.

  • The Evil Empire

    It’s hard for everyone to admit isn’t it? Lets face it, Jeter is no longer a piece of the Yankee puzzle. We don’t need him, BUT he’s the team captain. It’s hard for me to say this as a Yankee fan, but I don’t like Jeter, and to be honest, if Jeter was on any other MLB team this is what i would say:
    – He’s not as good a hitter as he is portrayed, everyone thinks the guy is good at hitting the ball to RF, I just think his bat is so slow it’s hard for him to pull the ball to LF.

    -His defense is horrible

    -Lack of power

    None the less, i take it all back. My captain is a career .315 hitter, and will probably stay in pinstripes until he gets his 3000th hit. Hopefully he does something magical with his bat as an old man.

    BTW, he gets the hottest girls. Check this Nike forum i visit,
    http://niketalk.yuku.com/topic/149090/t/A-Salute-To-Derek-Jeter-s-Hitting-Avg-Off-Field-No-Baseball-.html

    Did anyone know the guy has herpes?

    • Count Zero

      Did anyone know the guy has herpes?

      Jessica Alba did.

  • r.w.g.

    Probably the smartest thing to do would be let him go at the end of his current deal.

    But if he can keep up his current production, they’ll probably find a spot for him somewhere on the diamond, even if his bat might not play as well there.

    Maybe the team can switch Derek with one of Alex or Cano.

    • The Evil Empire

      Cano at second?
      Ehh hmm ohh ahh noo

  • gianthinker

    I’d like to see Jeter move to LF next season (w/ AJax in CF) and make a move for a SS like Michael Young from Texas.

    • Brian Cashman is watching

      Pass. His rngr and uzr have both been significantly negative since 2004. Jeter’s OPS is .771, Young’s .741. Compared to Young, Jeter’s defense is about the same (last year, Young was worse, with a UZR of -3.9 and Jeter at -.4, but the numbers have fluctuated between the two). Might as well stick with Jeter, a slightly better offensive player, and the prospects it would cost to get him than to get Young.

    • whozat

      So, we’d have a LFer with a sub-par bat that’s never played the position before, a 23 year old rookie CFer, and a SS that’s worse than the one we just moved to LF.

      Awesome.

      • Mike Pop

        “gianthinker” did not do too much thinking there.

        • steve (different one)

          LoHud All-Star.

          • Mike Pop

            They get jerseys?

    • http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_postseason.jsp?c_id=nyy&playerID=121250&statType=2 Slugger27 Back From Hiatus

      michael youngs contract is insane… its as bad as vernons if not worse

    • steve (different one)

      I’d like to see Jeter move to LF next season (w/ AJax in CF) and make a move for a SS like Michael Young from Texas.

      that God you are not the GM.

      let’s move Jeter for a MUCH WORSE PLAYER!!!

      • Bo

        Young is soooo good at SS that Texas already moved him to 3b.

    • http://www.supertangas.com The man with 33 fingers

      So you want to replace one old and fading SS with another old and fading SS?

      no thanks.

      • Mike Pop

        Hello Anne.

  • http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_postseason.jsp?c_id=nyy&playerID=121250&statType=2 Slugger27 Back From Hiatus

    i got a couple issues with christinas piece…

    1. i still dont think it would go over well if jeters replacement came via free agency while he was still on the team… if they let him walk obviously it could work, but i dont see a FA signing to play SS with jeter still here… it hes gonna move, i would think he would have to be replaced in house

    2. jeter is in his mid 30s… how many everyday CFers are out there in their mid 30s? mike cameron… maybe a few others… i would doubt no more than 5 or 6… the reason is cuz its a hard position to play well. guys cant play the position at a high level in their mid 30s… thats why its hard to find them around the league… why would jeter be any different?

    3. she states “it could make a small but importance difference on a bad defensive ballclub” ….. now, i understand the yankees strength last year wasnt defense, but when u look at the new and improved team, its hard to say its a bad defensive team… damon in left is average to above average… gardner in cf is above average… swisher in right is above average… tex at 1b is WELL above average… cano at 2nd is league average… jeter at short is below avg… arod at 3rd is league average

    so at 7 positions not counting P and C… the yanks RELATIVE TO THEIR POSITION actually look pretty good

    4. o-cab just isnt that good ((career ops+ is 86))… if your gonna bring in a guy to takes jeters spot, at least let it be a badass

    • steve (different one)

      . she states “it could make a small but importance difference on a bad defensive ballclub” ….. now, i understand the yankees strength last year wasnt defense, but when u look at the new and improved team, its hard to say its a bad defensive team…

      DING DING DING!!!!!!

      everyone still seems to think that A) the yankees have a bad bullpen and B) the Yankees are still a poor defensive club.

      if Gardner is the CFer, the Yankees’ defense should be average. Jeter is the weak link, but this is not the first article i have read that completely overlooks the fact that Giambi and Abreu, the two WORST defenders, are GONE.

      they’re gone.

      they’ve been replaced with an excellent 1Bman and an average RFer.

      Abreu and Giambi were almost solely responsible for the Yankees’ poor defense last year.

  • RustyJohn

    Just for shits and giggles, I’d be curious to see how good (from a defensive standpoint) an outfield of AJax, Jeter and Swisher would be, assuming there would be a suitable replacement at short.

    Perhaps me thinks too kindly of Swisher.

    I’m out in Seattle and you should read some of the blogs out here- they are somehow convinced the M’s are going to get ahold of Swisher in exchange for some of the 2 dozen or so bullpen arms Jack Zduriencik has stockpiled this year.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Eh, we have enough bullpen arms. But if your willing to talk King Felix… What’s that? We’d have to include IPK & Melky? DONE!!!!

      • Mike Pop

        Heck, I’ll throw in Dan Giese.

  • Rob S.

    The only thing that would make me keep Jeter around is for him to get three thousand hits in pinstripes. Other than that he’s not worth any substantial or multi-year deal. The Yankees have not been swayed too much by sentiment in recent years but Jeter is a special case and I’m sure the media is already licking their chops over this one.

    • The Scout

      When you are planning for a future that involves winning championships, sentiment has NO place in the equation. Sentiment is for losing teams trying to draw fans with memories of past glory (see Ripkin on the Orioles). This team should be about winning. As the time approaches when Jeter no longer contributes to that, he should be encouraged to exit gracefully. I am not saying we are at that point yet — we need to observe him closely over the next two seasons — but he should not be allowed to drag the team down for the sake of sentiment. To win, you have to be cold-blooded.

  • BigBlueAL

    Neyer definitely isnt a Yankees fan, but of all the writers on ESPN.com he certainly respects them the most. He has repeatedly stated that the Yankees are clearly the team to beat in 2009 after the off-season they have had.

  • Januz

    I think the Yankees would get rid of Jeter (They will not give him (Or anyone for that matter) $20m out of sentimentality). Derek Jeter knows this better than anyone. In addition, I honestly do not think Jeter will allow himself to become another Brett Favre, a broken down version of a sports icon. Instead, he will either take a 1 year contract, at much lower pay (To get 3,000 hits (He is 465 away)), or just retire. He also plays with a guy named Alex Rodriguez, who is perceved by many fans, to be a numbers and money ONLY guy. I am certain, he does not want to become another Arod., in the mind of Yankee fans.
    Favre is an interesting comparison, because he has allowed himself to tarnish his reputation (And burned bridges with the Packers), for the pursuit of numbers and money (Since he is 13 away from Jim Marshall’s record for position players, want to bet he comes back in 2009?). Jeter is like another quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, whose legacy will not be written in numbers, but in Championships. The only difference, is Jeter is already Hall of Fame bound, and Ben needs another title, to cement his place.
    In the end, Jeter will end up doing the right thing, and not force the Yankees hand, and thus ensure his place in Monument Park.

    • Andy

      How about Brett coming back because he wants to play the game? I hate it when people who don’t know other people assume the worst in them. Anyone who has ever watched Farve play can see clear as day how much the guy loves to play. In fact, with every sports writer in the country railing about Farve losing his legacy, the idea that he did this in pursuit of numbers is laughable – isn’t the point of getting numbers so that you strengthen your legacy?

      Torre is dead to me, but I will quote his book here – we can’t forget the game has a heartbeat. And he has a point – has the stone cold pursuit of winning by dumping guys like Bernie in pursuit of the best player won a championship yet?

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    If you’re going to move Jeter to the OF, then it has to be LF. Why take a chance on him being a sub par CF when we already have the slightly below average Damon playing LF? They’re both going to play anyway, let each play a position they can do adequately.

    • steve (different one)

      i think LF is the most logical landing place for Jeter.

      • jsbrendog

        jeter is better offensively than a lot of lf we had when we won championships like chad curtis, juan and ruben rivera, luis polonia, ledee, etc

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          That’s a false analogy. Those LFers sucked, and left field was a continual black hole of suck for the late 1990s Yankees. That doesn’t mean you should put a sub-par left fielder in place just because he’s better than a bunch of people who used to be on the team ten years ago.

    • MattG

      To me, this is the same argument as “Why take a chance that Joba won’t cut it as a starter, when he is so good in the bullpen?”

      CF is much more valuable. Let him fail there first before you move him further down the spectrum.

    • Currambayankees

      RF is probably better if the Yankees decide to move for two reason 1) Yankee Stadium LF has almost as much ground to cover as CF and 2) Jeter still has a great arm.

  • Mike Pop

    The only way this idea would make sense was if a stud SS was in FA right now. A guy like JJ Hardy, Hanley, or Jose. It would still be hard to get one of those guys and move Jeter to CF. I want Jeter back after his deal. Preferably 1 year but I would go 2 if needed. I love Jeter and would be willing to stick him in the outfield or DH spot if need be to help him stay with the ballclub in 2010-2011.

    • Reggie C.

      Jeter isn’t going to re-sign for a couple million bucks. IF Jeter is willing to take a cut in pay to say … 10 million AAS for a two year re-up, then i’m in. Fangraphs has projected a better ’09 campaign for DJ. If DJ starts demanding a 20 million dollar salary, then its time to end the association.

      • Mike Pop

        Noone is going to give him anything near 15 million. That is obvious. I’m saying in the end what the Yankees are offering could be a couple mill less than the highest offer and Jeter will still take it. No way Jeter goes to another team unless the Yankees really lowball him, decide to move on and don’t want him back or another team gives him a contract that guarantees Jeter a whole lote more than the Yanks are offering.

    • MattG

      The only way this idea would make sense to the fans was if a stud SS was in FA right now.

      2 wins is 2 wins. That makes sense.

    • Tom Zig

      Landing Jose Reyes should be deemed impossible. No way the Mets take a chance with him going to free agency and having us getting into a bidding war with them.

      I’d love Hardy or Hanley.
      Only problem is that Hanley won’t be a free agent till 2015. (I sure hope we have our SS problem fixed by then) But if the Marlins stay the way they are, no way are they going to be able to afford the last few years on his contract. He will get $15 million in 2012, $15.5 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014. (MLB.com).
      So that means we’d have to trade for him, and he obviously won’t come cheaply.

      As for JJ Hardy, i believe you guys at RAB have made note of the fact that he becomes a free agent in 2010. Maybe then too we can use the system to screw the brewers out of a 1st round draft pick. Take that Selig!

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Hardy is the guy on my radar – good (although not young Jeterian good) bat, good defense. I think he becomes a Yankee someday and he’s the one Jeter moves for.

        FWIW, Hanley Ramirez is practically a Jeter clone: the bat is amazing, but he’s a bad defensive shortstop. Ditto Stephen Drew. (I’m not saying I wouldn’t acquire them if the price was right, just saying we’re not really solving the “bad defense at short” problem by acquiring them.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          I’ll gladly put up with Hanley’s atrocious D at SS.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Again, I’m not saying I wouldn’t acquire Hanley if the price was right, just saying we’re not really solving the “bad defense at short” problem by acquiring Hanley.

            I’m with you, I’ll take HanRam in a heartbeat. But it’s because he’s superior offensively (and younger).

            Defensively, they’re equally mediocre.

        • NYYanksCaptain23

          “Hanley Ramirez is practically a Jeter clone.”

          As a Yankees and Marlins fan, I have to say…

          Uh, no. Jeter has never been THAT good of a hitter. In fact, Jeter should have gotten a 6/$70M deal a while back, and Hanley should have just signed a 10/$190M one, financial resources and playoff legacies aside.

  • Rich

    Jeter isn’t moving from SS this season, so any discussion thereof is moot.

    But, there is no way that the Yankees should even consider a new contract in two years if changing positions isn’t a condition precedent to those negotiations.

    If Jeter’s OPS+ remains at or near the 102 it was this season, the Yankees shouldn’t offer him more than a one year extension.

    If Jeter’s OPS+ returns to the 120 something level over the next two seasons, the Yankees should offer him no more than a three year contract.

    • Reggie C.

      The way JJ Hardy is progressing he’ll hit the FA market as one of the top-dogs. Hardy just seems to be an ideal candidate to replace DJ after 2010. Regardless of how close DJ is to the 3000 hit mark, the brass cannot weaken the lineup and defense in deference to DJ. If there’s a spot open for DJ on the roster , then great…

    • Chris

      I know the idea of JJ Hardy sounds great, but over his 3 full seasons (2005, 2007, 2008) he’s averaged +3.8 wins. Over the last 3 years, Jeter has averaged +4.6wins.

      Yes, Jeter is in his decline phase and Hardy is in his prime, but we’re at least 2 years away from moving Jeter, and we have no idea how either of them will age over the next two years. It’s very possible that Jeter will be the better SS (counting both offense and defense) in 2011.

  • Peter Lacock

    Assuming no catastrophic injury or illness, I think Jeter will remain at SS until he retires, he’ll play 5 or 7 more years, there will be loyalty and he’ll retire a Yankee, whatever his stats are everyone will just live with and what his wages are is nobodys business.

    • dan l

      I see utility role future lol…

      • Mike Pop

        I see 2 234 hit seasons ahead, with 2 world series. Then he rides off into the sunset.

  • MattG

    Facts are facts. Jeter is a declining shortstop that has played himself off the position. If the Yankees refuse to do it, no one is going to sign Jeter as a SS. Jeter will need to move eventually. For his own ego, he should be eager to try CF, before he gets typecast as a tweener.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      FWIW, his idol is Cal Ripken, a man who played his entire career for one team, was beloved by the city forever for it, and a man who moved off of SS when it was clear he was costing the team.

      • Stephen

        Problem is, the position Ripken moved to is blocked for Jeter.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          Well, Alex has already moved once for Jeter (from a position that he was better than Jeter).

  • pat

    Is it just me or is there something wacky going on with the reply button?

    • MattG

      They seem to be using a new style sheet. What browser/OS are you using? What do you mean by ‘wacky’?

      • pat

        The reply button is gigantic no? Like a bar across the bottom of everybody’s post? I do most posting from my phone, a Voyager and sometimes it likes to mess with formatting. Eh whatever.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          You’re posting from a phone. This site isn’t optimized for your phone; it’s optimized for FireFox (and apparently IE 8 but no 6 or 7). I’ll try to play around with the styling over the weekend, but even then, I can’t guarantee that it’s going to work from a Voyager browser.

          But yes, Matt’s right. New CSS coding for the comments.

          • pat

            Strangely enough the site normally looks the same on my phone as it does on the computer. The only difference now is the reply button is a bar instead of a word but that was a change for everybody not just myself. Other than that the thing works perfectly from my mobile. Anyway, not a big deal I was just confused something I should be used to as it happens so often. Cheerio!

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Can you make the reply button Yankee Blue instead of boring gray?

  • Rob in CT

    SG over at RLYW also ran projections and his numbers are different. Granted, I asked him to run the projection assuming that Jeter is a -10 defender in CF. I wanted to be conservative about it, considering that, you know, he’s never played CF. The results are buried in the comments section of a post on the top 10 offensive debutes of all time.

    Anyway, the difference is that SG included Gardner in his projections. It’s hard to say for sure what his “true talent” is defensively, but Gardner’s UZR in limited time last season was phenomenal. If he is a plus defender in CF and manages to not hit a buck fifty again, the Gardner CF + Jeter SS combo could very well do better than Jeter CF + O.C. SS. Considering the pitfalls of moving Jeter, I don’t think it’s worthwhile.

    But if the above analysis is correct, and it’s likely to be a 2-win move… then I’d be onboard.

  • Darren

    Why not give him a 1-3 year deal to become the DH and then he can retire in pinstripes. He remains with the team and stays as captain, Yankee fans will be able to gradually absorb the shock of him leaving in this transitional period.

    Matsui will probably be gone, as will Damon. Posada is the only other likely person to be in that role in 2010 but who knows what will happen to him this year, injury wise.

    I know his numbers are diminishing and his defense is not that great, but can anyone else imagine Jeter finishing his career at another club? I just can’t picture it.

    • MattG

      You try him in CF first, right?

      The guy is 35. The sooner he moves, the better for everyone, including Derek Jeter. I don’t know him, but I am very confident he DOES NOT want to be a DH!

      I see the argument for giving Gardner a shot first, though (although I am not a believer). It would be nice if the Yankees had an Alexei Ramirez type on the roster, so they might do a little experimentation.

      • Dirt

        It would be nice if the Yankees had an Evan Longoria or Tim Lincecum type too.

    • steve (different one)

      the problem becomes, let’s say Manny (for example) takes a 2 year deal and is a free agent the same time as Jeter.

      Manny is still mashing, putting up a 140 OPS+ while Jeter has settled in at 110 OPS+….

      they are both free agents.

      how do you make an argument to make the Jeter the DH based on anything more than emotion?

      just an example….

      • Rob in CT

        Exactly. No way Jeter hits enough at DH. Or LF, really, but if he could manage to be a good defender in LF his overall game might be a positive. I think it’s more likely he could pull off LF than CF.

        The end will come. Sooner than any of us wish. The worst thing, IMO, would be to watch Jeter out there struggling, like Bernie. Man, that hurt.

      • MattG

        And this is how it looks on the team’s side of the equation. Jeter to DH is something you do for sentimentality. Jeter wouldn’t want to be a DH, and he wouldn’t be a good DH, so no team will want to pay him to do it.

        Man, the more I am thinking about this, the more urgent it seems. You’ve got to try this guy in CF for his own good: you’re not doing him any favors by letting him go to free agency as a SS.

      • Bo

        because teams and franchises are not run that way. No chance they take Manny over a legend like Jeter. Franchises think long term and also past. They don’t make decisions in a vacuum. And Jeter wearing pinstripes for the rest of his life is very good for business.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          And Jeter wearing pinstripes for the rest of his life is very good for business.

          There is nothing as good for business as winning championships.

    • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

      Does anyone have any idea who the available free agent short stops will be in 2011?

      • Mike Pop

        Go to Cots.

  • A.D.

    Jeter actually played essentially league AVG defense according to UZR/150 metrics last year, even with a somewhat down year offensively, and Cabrera putting up a very good defensive season, Jeter was still more valuable. So if he continues to hit, and can play 2008 defense, then you might as well keep him right where he is.

    The SS more valuable than Jeter last year:
    Han-Ram
    Reyes
    Hardy
    J-Roll
    Aviles (kinda out of place)

    Of those maybe Hardy comes available soon, in which case I’m all for him but the rest are unlikely to be going anywhere.

    Total package Jeter is still one of the better SS in the league, and without great SS alternatives out there, he’s the man for the job

    • steve (different one)

      i think there are two different arguments here.

      the first one is about 2009, and i think *most* people agree that he should stay at SS for 2009, b/c there isn’t really a viable alternative. O-Cab is not the guy who is going to push Jeter off SS.

      the other argument is about what to do when his contract expires. that’s the more relevant argument, and we won’t really know until we see who is available at the time.

      • Chris

        We also need to see what happens with Jeter. If he maintains league average (or at least not really bad) defense and goes back to career average offense, I can’t see any reasonable argument why he shouldn’t remain at SS.

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    I’ve been telling people for the past 2 years that the Yanks gotta move Jeter to CF. The difference in defense between shortstop and centerfield has a lot to do with quick reflexes versus speed. Derek still has wheels. He’s long been the best shortstop in baseball on flyballs/popups. He still has a strong arm (much, much better than Damon’s noodle). He doesn’t have the reflexes anymore to be a topnotch shortstop.

    So then the question becomes, who plays short? How about a trade with the Brewers for Hardy? They are not going to be able to afford to keep him, so why don’t the Yanks try to get him before free agency? I think I’d be willing to give up Hughes for Hardy. He won’t come cheap (not for extra arms like Aceves or IPK), but I think to install the shortstop of the future, improve the defense tremendously, and finally have a plan for Jeter, this would be worth the price….But maybe I’m just desperate to have a good fielding shortstop to combine with an awesome pitching staff (CC, AJ, CMW, Andy, Joba)!

    • steve (different one)

      the Brewers aren’t going to trade Hardy for Hughes. it would take much more than that.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        I was just trying to get the talk of trading for Hardy on a realistic path. I know it would take more, but what I really meant is that it will take some top talent to get him. Hughes + some guys with serious upside potential…ok maybe they don’t have too many of those left.

        I’m not one of those Yankee fans who thinks we can get any player for a package of IPK and JB Cox….

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          The package is IPK & Melky! Get with the program!

          • Mike Pop

            That package nets you Peavy. Yanks just don’t want to do it because they have too much pitching depth.

  • Bo

    His SS defense will be fine for another two yrs. So hes not Ozzie Smith. Name me a game hes lost because of defense? Does it matter as long as he hits?

    • steve (different one)

      Name me a game hes lost because of defense?

      what does this mean?

      • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

        Seems pretty clear to me he is asking how many games were lost as a direct result of Jeter’s defense.

        • Rob in CT

          Quite a few, if *any* of the advanced defensive stats are correct.

          10 runs is about 1 win. On that basis, looking at the various defensive numbers, Jeter typically costs the team 1-2 wins a year with his glove. He compensates (and then some) with his bat.

          I mean… ask the same question about Bobby Abreu in RF last season. Everyone who was paying attention knows he was terrible out there (people’s eyes and the stats agree: Bobby was BAD). But which specific games did he lose? If you can point to the exact plays, I’ll be duly impressed with your memory (and defiance of M. Kay’s fallacy of the predetermined outcome ;) ).

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

          And it seems pretty clear to me that steve’s saying that’s impossible to answer without going through video of all the Yanks recent losses. And even then, there are many factors that lead to a loss. Jeter’s defense is oftentimes one of those factors.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      How many runs were charged to pitchers like Pettite and Mussia, and even Rasner/Ponson, on basehits up the middle that a good shortstop catches?

  • YankFanDave

    Jeter isn’t the best but he also isn’t the worst SS out there. Yes his range is fading and in the past his defense has been overrated but more recently his defense has been beat down like a dead horse — that means way over done. Last year here’s how he rated: 9th most in games; 8th most in games started; 12th in innings played; 14th in total chances; 5th in put outs; 16th in most assists; 6th in fewest errors; 17th in most double plays; and, 10th best UZR. That basically makes in a middle of the pack performer among shortstops.

  • Januz

    Derek Jeter has never been about numbers, it is about championships and clutch plays. That is the difference between him and Alex Rodriguez. If you go by numbers alone, Jeter could NEVER compare to Arod (Even in his prime). But in the big situation: Playoffs, World Series, games against the Red Sox, that is when he excels. This is what made Mark Messier, John Elway, Joe Montana & Mickey Mantle special. This is what makes Jeter, ” Big Ben” and Tiger Woods special today. This trait, is what will allow him to be like Joe DiMaggio & Jim Brown and walk away on top

    • MattG

      Yeah! And Don Mattingly! And Curtis Martin! And Andy Stankiewicz!

    • steve (different one)

      <b.But in the big situation: Playoffs, World Series, games against the Red Sox, that is when he excels.

      except for the 2004 ALCS, right?

      i guess those weren’t big games against the Red Sox.

      • Mike Pop

        html fail

        • steve (different one)

          ietc

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

        He did have that hit off Pedro.

        • steve (different one)

          sure, but he also hit .200/.333/.233 in the worst postseason collapse in Yankee history.

    • Rob in CT

      This is parody, right?

      • steve (different one)

        it’s not…

  • dan l

    My favorite new phrase…15 years is enough lol…….don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

    This is exactly what is going to happen…

    Cano bounces back this year and the Yanks trade him straight up for Matt Kemp.

    2010
    Kemp CF
    Austin Jackson LF
    Jeter 2B
    1 year stopgap SS

    2011 – 2014
    Kemp CF
    Austin Jackson LF
    Jeter 2B
    Jose Reyes SS

    • Mike Pop

      Well this is wrong. First off if Cano bounces back, he definitely does not get traded for Matt Kemp. Second, A-Jax would be in center with Kemp in a corner. Third, Reyes more than likely won’t make it to FA.

      • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

        Why would Jose Reyes and his agent not use the Yanks at least for leverage if he is a free agent the same year Derek Jeter’s contract runs out?

        I guarantee he tests free agency for that reason alone, even if he fully plans on staying with the Mets.

        • steve (different one)

          Ace makes a decent point, the contract that Reyes is currently playing out is the one he gave the “discount” on. he will be looking to cash in on his next one, that means free agency.

          i hadn’t thought of Reyes as a legitimate option, but it IS possible.

        • Mike Pop

          I can see it but I don’t see Cano for Kemp happening, and I don’t want it too.

    • Currambayankees

      Why would you want Reyes as our future SS? A guy who has shown to be lazy. Thanks but no thanks. We want a guy like Jeter who will run out every ball for that we may just as well keep Jetes a class act.

  • MattG

    Two things I don’t get:

    1. why is it that a 2B doesn’t need to have as much range as a shortstop? I mean, the distance between 1st and 2nd is 90 feet, too, right?

    2. why is Jeter lauded for the back-handed jump throw? It takes forever to do, and the throw is weak. Plenty of other shortstops do a little half of a pop-up slide, get the ball out faster, and with more on it. I bring it up, because if Jeter were to play second, we would see it twice as much.

    • MattG

      Oops, I forgot to hit the big horsey reply button on Ace’s post.

    • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

      1. Without looking, I am assuming that shorts stops see more balls hit their way.

      2. No clue.

    • Am I the only Kevin?

      At 2B, you generally play much deeper given the much shorter throw, which makes lateral reaction time much less important. Think about how often do you see a 2Bman fielding the ball in the OF.

      You are also able to employ Giambi-type shifts against dead pull left-handed power hitters. This further decreases the need for lateral range at times where the ball is most likely to be hit in their direction.

    • Tom Zig

      It looks like he has grit when he does it.

  • CB

    Is this a blog for Yankees fans? Really can’t believe that so many of you are willing to throw Jeter out already. This is the same guy who had tremendous seasons in 2006 and 2007. Last year he was injured for most of the season and had a down year. Could it be the start of a trend? Maybe. But maybe it was a bad year. He did put together back-to-back-to-back 200+ hit seasons from ages 31-34 so I tend to think it was a bad, injury-ridden year. Time will tell.

    Can’t argue much about the defense, but unless 2009 and 2010 are total collapses you are not going to see Derek Jeter walking out the door when he still has a reasonable shot at 4,000 hits.

    I feel bad for those of you who want the face of the franchise–and one of the most respected Yankees ever–to get shoved out the door already. I hope the team does the right thing and ensures he retires as a career Yankee.

    • Rob in CT

      Yes, it’s a blog for Yankees fans. People who, you know, want the Yankees to win.

      I too want him to retire a Yankee. But not if it means he hangs on to the point where he’s hurting the team. And I think that’s a distinct possibility. So I fear it.

    • steve (different one)

      please.

      if Jeter hangs on to 4000 hits, he will likely have spent several years KILLING the team trying to get there.

      NO ONE wants to see that.

      i agree that this conversation is WAAAAAAY premature, and i don’t want to see Jeter go anywhere in the near future either, but i cannot fathom this idea that Jeter should get to retire as a Yankee no matter how poorly he is playing just b/c he is “the face of the franchise”.

      that idea is absurd.

    • steve (different one)

      CB, did you mean 3000 hits?

      b/c your post is a lot more reasonable if you did, and i know you are a smart guy, so i am curious.

      he is about 8-10 years away from 4000 hits, and he is 35 years old this year.

  • Mike Pop

    Where does Jeter rank in all time Yankees?

    • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

      Off the top of my head….

      Babe Ruth
      Yogi Berra
      Joe Dimaggio
      Mickey Mantle
      Steve Balboni
      Thurmon Munson
      Mariano Rivera
      Derek Jeter
      Don Mattingly
      Whitey Ford

      • steve (different one)

        i like that this list appears reasonable at first glance, but that you couldn’t resist slipping Balboni in there. i laughed.

        • steve (different one)

          except you forgot Gehrig…

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Here, I’ll fix it.

            Babe Ruth
            Lou Gehrig
            Yogi Berra
            Joe Dimaggio
            Mickey Mantle
            Steve Balboni Gerald “Ice” Williams
            Thurmon Munson
            Mariano Rivera
            Derek Jeter
            Don Mattingly
            Whitey Ford

            • Sweet Dick Willie

              No effin’ way is Munson ranked ahead of Mo. Munson was my favorite Yankee of that era, and he was damn good, but please, Mo is the greatest closer in the history of the game.

              And just because of the rings and his post season record, I would rank Ford ahead of Mattingly (and for the side benefit of DBHOF head exploding).

          • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

            Lol, I rushed it to get the joke out there but I still feel like a shithead for not putting Gehrig on the list.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              It’s all good, it was worth the effort. I laughed too.

              Although, my comeback would have been “I wanted to put Gehrig in there, but I only had 11 spots, so it was either him or Balboni…”

      • Brian Cashman is watching

        I know he doesn’t get much play, but Bill Dickey was one of the great catchers. He was very good, one of the best offensive catchers, a Hall of Famer, and he even managed briefly. His whole career was with New York, and he was sort of an unofficial captain.

  • Arin

    There’s a new Rob Neyer post up at ESPN.com basically saying that the Yankees will not keep him at SS when his contract expires.

  • Shawn

    Yankees win the Series in 09 and ’10…feeling accomplished beyond all doubt Jeter takes a one year 20 mil deal to DH and get 3,000 and then retires at 38 to go home to Minka Kelly…done.

    • Mike Pop

      If they give him 20 mill to DH, I’m calling the NYPD because that man is a bandit if he gets away with that.

  • johnny

    when jeters contract is up posada will have one year left. let jeter catch. he’s super athletic, has had no major leg injuries, great arm, and good hands despite his bad range at short.
    add to his physical abilities the fact that he’s a smart player, well respected, knows the pitchers. I think he could learn to do it.

    It’s actually not that crazy an idea, especially if our big catching prospects are a little further away than we think. If he goes to center he blocks austin jackson who is supposed to be our top prospect

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      No. That’s pretty much the most ridiculous idea I’ve heard so far.

  • Joseph M

    The Yankees are not moving Jeter to center field. In the place hes still can play short and not many shortstops bring his total package (hitting and fielding combined to the table.

    After 2010 who knows what will happen with respect to Jeter, for all we know he may decide to throw in the towel. As far as center field goes Jeter will be almost 38 years old, a little long in the tooth to be moving to center.

    If he decides to play, I figure he will be signed to DH, play some short and possibly fill in around the infield.

    Jeter is an asset to this team.

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  • Currambayankees

    If Jeter’s D and O continue to regress, as much as I love him as one of the important pieces to the Dynasty Years, I truely hope the Yankees cut ties with him just as they did with Bernie. Like all great players Jeter was once a promising part of the Yankees future as a gifted youngster but just like all those great players before him, his time will come to an end and their is no need for the Yankees to try to keep him around because he’s an icon. Perhaps, Jeter will make the decision for the Yankees by doing what the previous Yankees icon and captain, Don Mattingly did which is to walk away before he became a burden to the team.

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