Jeter wants to stay at short, but should he?

Halladay leaving Toronto would be good news for Yanks
Seventh-inning stretch can now be used as intended

As the years have worn on, Derek Jeter‘s defense has been the topic of many an argument among Yankee fans. Some see his strong throws from the outfield grass and willingness to sacrifice his body on foul balls as a sign that he knows how to field his position. Others die a little on the inside every time Michael Kay says that the ball goes “past a diving Jeter.” He is not, critics contend, a very good defender.

For the most part, those critics are right. Jeter has never been a particularly stand-out fielder. His range has generally been below-average, and he has been able to compensate for his weak fielding by flashing above-average arm strength and a top-notch offensive prowess. The Yanks are OK with putting him at short because he has a career offensive line of .316/.387/.458 and over 2600 hits.

As Derek crept past his 35th birthday 11 days ago, the debate over his place on the field continues. At some point, he’ll have to move off short to a less important defensive spot on the diamond. With third and first base held down for the better part of the next decade, what that spot will be is anyone’s guess.

Jeter, though, will have none of it. In the Sunday conversation with Post writer Steve Serby, Jeter unequivocally objected to switching positions:

Q: Can you envision yourself playing another position for the Yankees than shortstop?

A: Can I envision? No.

Q: What if they asked you?

A: You’re speaking in all hypotheticals.

Q: I know.

A: I can’t answer that question.

Q: Anyway, I was listening to radio, and they were talking about maybe . . .

A: I don’t listen to the radio, so . . . wherever you’re going with that question, I don’t even want to hear it.

Q: But your last day as a Yankee, whenever that will be, you want to be at shortstop.

A: You asked me, “Can I envision myself playing another position?’ My answer to that question is no, I can’t envision it,” so . . .

I could almost read Jeter’s patience evaporating before my eyes. For now, though, Jeter can stay at short. Per Fangraphs, Jeter is having a decent-for-him defensive season. He has a positive UZR, and while his range factor is still at the bottom of the bunch, he defensive metrics are far better than they were a few years ago. (For more on these advanced defensive stats, review the Fangraphs Glossary.)

There is, however, one question to ponder: Should Yankee fans expect to win with a 35-year-old short stop? A few months ago, David Pinto tackled just that question and produced the following graph. It shows the total percentage of all plate appearances by age and position. Click it to enlarge.

As Pinto pointed out in April, it’s been a while since a team won the World Series with a 35-year-old short stop. Larry Bowa was 34 in 1980 when the Phillies captured their title, and he’s the oldest short stop on a World Series winner in the last 54 years. You have to go all the way back to the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and 36-year-old Pee Wee Reese to find a short stop older than Jeter who captured a ring.

That isn’t to say the Yankees can’t do it. As long Jeter hits as he’s been doing and plays at least close-to-average defense, the Yanks have as good a short as ever. After all, their title hopes rest more with their pitchers than with the short stop. As Jeter protests moving positions, though, history is not on his side.

Halladay leaving Toronto would be good news for Yanks
Seventh-inning stretch can now be used as intended
  • A.D.

    Looks like Jeter wasn’t too happy about that question.

    But in reality, as you note Jeter has improved (at least UZR speaking) at SS of late. If he can keep the UZR/150 ~0 and produce, they really won’t be hurt by keeping him as SS. Sure there’s better fielders, but finding a guy that has the bat & fielding combo, and getting him on the Yankees isn’t going to be easy. The guys more valuable at SS than Jeter last year:

    Han-Ram: Not a better fielder, and going to cost a kings ransom
    Jose Reyes: MSM opinions aside, going to cost a lot
    J-Roll: Likely not available/going to cost a lot
    JJ Hardy: took a big step back this year
    Peralta: Not as good this year, or really years previous
    Jeter
    Orlando Cabrera: Not as good this year, also getting up there in age
    Yunel Escobar: Actually could be available.

    Of course the big if is Jeter’s defense remaining the same

    • /guest’d

      I dont know what’s happening to JJ Hardy who’s getting closer to his walk year. Not sure if he’s playing hurt right now, but his good UZR tells us probably not. Hardy’s streakiness at the plate was known before this season, but now its taken a turn for the worse.

      Could it be that Hardy is having a “Cano-esque” season so far? Combo of bad luck and bad plate discipline?

  • V

    What exactly does “No one has won a World Series with a 35 year old shortstop” prove?

    No one has ever had a 35 year old shortstop, along with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Mariano Rivera, etc., either.

    • radnom

      Yeah, this was an insanely stupid point.

      There is only one question right now – just Jeter positively or negatively add to the team this season comparative to the rest of the league.

      The answer is a huge positive.

      All those people going nuts in the offseason, saying that Jeter’s “pride” was hurting the team by refusing to move off short never came up with a good answer for a replacement.
      Is the team better off next season with Jeter in LF and someone else at short?
      Obviously depends who that someone else is, but I’ll tell you right now, chances are very very small the answer is yes.

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        The point is that the position of short stop is the most difficult to play and important position on a baseball diamond, thus, having a player there who can field his position adequately – or better – reasonably improves your chances of winning.

        • radnom

          So you mean having a good short stop improves a teams chance of winning?

          Yes, but that is obvious.

          Still has nothing to do with that shortstops age.

          If anything, Jeter has played better defense these last two years than in the previous three.

          • andrew

            Often, the short stops age has an impact on his ability.

  • Tony

    How many shortstops in the history of baseball have been Derek Jeter (or anything like him)? Five? Ten? People have developed such a warped view of him and the position simply because he has been so consistently great for so long.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheManchine Bruno

    I’d love to get a SS and see Jeter in LF next year, but we all know that’ll never happen.

    • Tony

      I love these kinds of statements, where people throw out this theoretical shortstop that is available and anywhere close to as good as Jeter. It’ll be some flavor of the week that will flameout like 90% of other shortstops, or a Hanley Ramirez that has absolutely no chance of coming her any time soon.

      Remember when Peralta passed Jeter?
      Hardy?
      Mike Young?
      Reyes?
      Nomar?

      the list is infinite, and we’ve seen it churn for 5+ years.

      Would someone really take ROllins over Jeter right now? He’s 30 and throwing down a 224/276/353.

      • BklynJT

        If not for playing the Mets or Yankees, Rollins numbers would be much worse. He seems to step his game up in big games, that’s one thing going for him.

      • chriskeo

        is rollins up to that now, i saw him around .200 a week or two ago, i guess when your team wins 22-1 it helps

    • Chris

      Nor should it happen.

      Jeter is the 3rd most valuable SS in MLB this year, and has been in the top 5 for basically his entire career. What are the chances that you’ll replace him at SS with someone better? Moving him off SS isn’t an easy solution since his bat won’t play as well anywhere else (except maybe CF).

      When his contract is up next year, it will be very interesting to see how the Yankees handle it. If he puts up a typical year next year, then there’s no reason to assume that he wouldn’t still be an above average SS for 2-3 years. On the other hand, if his age starts to catch up to him and he begins to decline next year, he may not be worth anything.

      All in all, it may be better for the Yanks to try to work out a 2 year extension this offseason rather than having him become a FA and risk needing to give him a longer deal.

  • Manimal

    I can survive Jeter’s defense for atleast 2 more years. He is athletic enough to be an average shortstop. Don’t shoo him away like we did with Bernie.

    • jjyank

      I agree, until he really can’t play there, he stays. And he’s not exactly slowing down. His defense is more then livable for at least this year and next, and the future is too murky to decide who will be manning short, be it Jeter or someone else.

      *sigh* if only we had a real legit SS prospect somewhere. Who has the highest ceiling by the way, Jose Pirela? He’s a looong ways off.

      • Reggie C.

        yup. pirela’s too far off, and even with a big break-through season in 2010 at Tampa, we’re still talking about 2012 the earliest. The brass would have long settled Dj’s successor at that point. Whether that immediate successor is a org. player (pena) or higher profile guy (hardy?) remains to be seen.

    • Reggie C.

      I don’t like to think of Jeter as being the team’s SS beyond a couple more seasons, but Jeter’s 2010 season at the plate and field will determine where he’s on the field in 2011. Dj isn’t leaving the Bronx (imo), but the starting SS gig is no guarantee.

      Dj is a yankee through-&-through and he’d accept the move. He’ll never admit to it publicly before then (as he shouldn’t), but he loves the Yankees.

    • jsbrendog

      this is an unfair analogy. while bernie was the most feared htiter of his generation his defensive skills had so deteriorated that he was even less viable an option in cf than jim edmonds is now and his bat would not have been near serviceable in a corner of/dh role.

      • http://anewfrontier.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

        bernie was the most feared hitter of his generation

        really?

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          Isn’t Manny in Bernie’s generation?

        • Chris

          Bernie Williams Career OPS+: 125
          Jim Rice Career OPS+: 128

          Bernie Williams Career IBB: 97
          Jim Rice Career IBB: 77

          This is a campaign building to get Bernie in the HOF. It worked for Rice, so it should work even better for Bernie.

          • radnom

            Bernie’s generation – the middle of the steroid era.
            Jim Rice’s generation – the middle of the pansy era.

  • Ed

    As Pinto pointed out in April, it’s been a while since a team won the World Series with a 35-year-old short stop.

    As the graph shows, that’s because not many teams play 35 year old shortstops.

    I’d imagine stats show teams don’t win the World Series often when the pitching staff is led by a black left handed pitcher, but that doesn’t mean CC hurts the team, just that there aren’t many players like him.

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

    Lost in all this is Derek Jeter’s transformation into the new Mike Mussina in regards to his impatience with reporters.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Agreed. He was getting really snippy with Serby in that interview.

      • Tom Zig

        Wasn’t he always sensitive about being questioned on his defense? I know Serby didn’t directly refer to Jeter’s defense, but the moving off short stop is a prelude to that.

    • Jake H

      I was just thinking that after reading that part of the interview.

    • radnom

      I think anyone would be annoyed the fifth time someone asks you the same question – just reworded – that you strongly hinted at not wanting to answer the first four times.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Lost in all this is Derek Jeter’s transformation into the new Mike Mussina in regards to his impatience with reporters.

      Well, you must admit, most “reporters” ask incredibly stupid questions.

      If you were asked basically the same questions after every game for 13+ seasons, I’ll bet your patience would be tested also.

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

        Which is why I give Girardi credit. On Saturday, Kim Jones asked him how he liked Jorge’s single.

        “Hated it. Damn him for ending the game. We wanted to go 14, 15 innings in this one.”

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          Kim Jones is one of the (many) examples of why “reporters” was in quotes.

      • cr1

        Jeter has been making slyly barbed responses to reporters for years but they’ve usually been too obtuse to recognize the barb under the bland, smiling demeanor. It’s always been fun to watch and snicker about for those who caught his politely offered little digs. In the newspaper you don’t see the polite stance or the little smile, so the sarcasm rings out.

    • Steve S

      I think he has a right to get snippy. You are asking the guy to comment on changing his position essentially two years from now and there isnt even a suggestion of who that replacement would be. I think Jeter has earned to the right to be snippy when the question implies you are so bad at the position you have been playing for 14 years that anyone else there would be an improvement.

  • Charlie D

    This one is now easy to figure out given Jeter’s character and persona. He doesn’t really care about records such as hits etc. He cares about winning. Jeter will be the Yankee shortstop this year and next and then whatever they decide on a new contract. At some point, Jeter will simply hang then up and walk away. He will not diminish himself by being a part time player or DH. He will own whatever records he owns, and that will be handful. Who cares whether he is first or fourth in all time hits? That’s great company wherever he winds up. Jeter will walk quietly into the night and be the all time “old timer” for the next 30 years. It will be sad moment when he retires..but he will be a Yankee favorite right up there with Mantle, Berra and Joe D.

  • Simon B.

    This is more tolerable since Jeter has actually been decent defensively the last couple years, but it’s still disconcerting how much blatant opposition he has to it.

    He’s going to have to move eventually. Cal Ripken was already beginning his transition to 3B at Jeter’s age.

    If he really fancies himself as such a “team player”, he should vacate the position reasonably soon. It’s bad enough that Alex had to move when he was in conversation for best defensive SS in baseball.

    At the moment, he’s far more valuable at SS than any other reasonable option (unless they suddenly spring to trade for Hanley), so it’s not that big of a concern yet thankfully.

    • BklynJT

      Hanley is not a good defensive SS

      • Simon B.

        He’s improved a ton the last two years and he’s still only 25.

      • Chris

        But he can hit really really really well.

        Sort of like the Piazza as a C argument. How does he help the starting pitchers? By hitting a lot of HRs.

  • Steve S

    I think Jeter has a right to respond that way considering the circumstances. There is no logical replacement whether it be through an impending free agent or a kid in the minors. The guy needs to leave some room for negotiation, especially when you consider the fact that he has another year and a half left on his deal. I really think that its fine to hypothesize and examine it on talk radio and blogs. But when you are actually speaking to the guy, I question how can you really judge his response. Its not as if they are saying hey Derek, Jose Reyes is available and wants to come here. Would you move to another position?

    Not to mention the fact that while 1B may be locked down, 3B might be another issue. Alex looks fine considering the circumstances, but while he is a little younger, he has had the kind of injury that gives you some pause as to whether its reasonable to leave him out on the field and perhaps allow his offensive performance to suffer. Alex has the kind of bat that will always be justifiable at DH. I really think that 3B might be the eventual landing spot for him.

    • jsbrendog

      this is interesting, i havent thought about dh arod and 3b jeter….hmmmm i dunno but it is a new wrinkle

    • Doug

      but isn’t jeter’s lack of range most apparent up the middle. will have the same range issues playing 3rd.

      • Steve S

        Im not saying that Jeter would be a gold glove third baseman, but I think his lack of range wouldnt be as much of a factor at 3b. I mean these are all major assumptions, we had him penciled in for first, second and a corner outfield spot. Not knowing how he would adjust, I think third makes a lot of sense just because you have seen it happen more often with former shortstops. I would assume the adjustment wouldnt be as big as say left field. It was just something to consider. The investment in Alex is massive and the organization should do whatever it takes to maintain him. I dont know what the history is with these hip injuries, I would think that they have to start thinking of ways to maintain him because in all honesty most of that money is for him to hit. More than likely Jeter’s next contract is between 3-5 years, which is still less of a commitment than what we owe Alex. If you take the difference, lets just say Jeter signs a 4 year deal. So for 2011 and 2012 he stays at short. Then you hope that in 2012 you have a replacement for Jeter at short and for Alex’s benefit you move him into the full time DH role. Hopefully at that point you wont have the Matsui and Posada concern. Jeter plays his final two years at third base.

  • Doug

    For me, Jeter’s improved D this season gives him a reprieve for this year and next.

    But when it’s time to potentially sign him to a new deal for 2011, if he’s refusing to give up the starting SS spot, you let him walk.

  • sabernar

    This is stupid. How many teams have won the World Series with a young, crappy SS? A number of them, I’m sure. I’d much rather have an old .800+ OPS at SS who can play roughly average (or even a little below average) defense.

  • tampayankee

    A very Dumb argument that is a waste of cyberspace and print. How about the left fielder who can’t field OR the old catcher who can’t throw anybody out or the never was in right field or the crippled DH and so on and so on. Have writers peed all over a great player as much as NY writers pee all over Jeter. Is it Jeter’s fault that Mo gave up hits to the Diamondbacks? Or Torre using Weaver against the Marlins? Or his fault the Yanks did not get younger from 2001-2008(2009 does not look good either)? Or that the Yankees do not have a tough guy for bench coach or a player?
    The Age of your shortstop means jack since most SS are finished by 35, Jeter is as healthy now as he has been recently.

    • Tank Foster

      It’s not a dumb comment or a waste of cyberspace. Give the blogger a break.

      Even if Ben is only pointing out that there aren’t many 35 year old shortstops, period, it’s still a valid point to discuss. It’s not like he was Ozzie Smith as a young guy, and is now tapering off. He’s always been at best average, and he’s now bigger and slower. It hurts a pitching staff to have a poor fielding SS…not as much as it helps a pitching staff to have a good hitting SS, but still, it’s totally correct that there will be a point when he’s too much of a liability there and his bat doesn’t carry the weight for him. He plays very hard and is showing some signs of age and injury “attrition,” so Jeter’s last days as an adequate defensive shortstop might be closer than we think.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      A very Dumb argument that is a waste of cyberspace and print. How about the left fielder who can’t field OR the old catcher who can’t throw anybody out or the never was in right field or the crippled DH and so on and so on.

      All of this is batshit insane.

      • rbizzler

        Agreed. That screed was some serious reactionary crapola of the first degree. I have no problem with defending Jeet, but doing so while ripping guys like Posada and Matsui that have been solid contributors is asinine.

        Also, what is the deal with the Lohuddian (I still prefer Lohuddite) fascination with Swisher being garbage? Low BA? Jealous of the sweet ‘cut? I’ll tke the OBP and pop any day of the week from a bottom of the order (or #2 hitter) any day of the week.

        • rbizzler

          Pardon the poor edit.

  • Slu

    Maybe this is sacrilege, but maybe there isn’t an issue where Jeter moves because maybe the Yankees just let him walk after next year.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Jeter and it would be painful to see him in another uniform, but if he doesn’t want to move or if the team has no place to move him where his bat will be a plus, they could just let him go. Or if he asks for too much money.

    It is not out of the realm of possibility. See: Smoltz, John and any number of examples in the past ten years. The Tony Gwynns and Cal Ripkens were a long time ago.

    Would it a bit of a PR problem? Probably, but I would still watch as many games as I can and would still go to as many games as I do. Would you change as a fan if they let him walk?

    Hell, it might be a money maker since a lot of people would have to replace their Jeter jerseys :-)

    • Doug

      personally, i’d have more of a problem if the yanks caved to his positional and contract demands than if they did the right thing and let him leave.

  • Tank Foster

    Never liked Derek’s defense, but like everyone says, he hits so well, so you put up with it. The first game I watched this season with Pena at SS and saw him and Cano turning DPs and stuff, it hit me how Jeter is not all that hot with the glove. “His bat won’t play in LF” is something we hear all the time. This is an example of taking a logical point too far. The Yankees have a potent offense, with elite power bats at 1b and 3b. They could tolerate Jeter in LF just fine. It’s not like he’s an offensive zero; he has a better batting line than 2 Yankee OFs now anyway. They could also consider putting Jeter at 3b to keep him in the IF and putting ARod in LF.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      Jeter’s got a decent arm…does his bat play well enough in left? He seems to have good speed, is used to that side of the field…other cons on that argument?

      Maybe Jeter in left makes losing Damon (2 years down the road!) a little easier–with an Arod/Jeter/Tex/Posada DH system keeping all these aging stars a little healthier?

    • Slu

      Also, Jeter is currently a top quality leadoff hitter, which must add some extra value.

  • A.D.

    A: I don’t listen to the radio, so . . .

    But Francesa knows all!!!

  • Rob

    After all, their title hopes rest more with their pitchers than with the short stop.

    Sorry, but I think the two are correlated – maybe significantly so. An aging SS is going to hurt those pitchers where it counts most – putting men on base. With playoff games as tight as they are, every baserunner is important. A SS with no range is just hurting the chances at winning.

  • http://anewfrontier.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    The shortstop’s age doesn’t matter. Julio Lugo won a championship with the Sox witha 0.8 WAR. Jeter already has a 3.2 WAR.

  • Tank Foster

    Just read the whole article. Jeter is a tough interview. You really get a glimpse of the type of personality you have to have to be a successful athlete.

  • Mark B.

    If the Yankees win it all this year, I imagine this debate will fall on deaf ears among the Yankee brass. I may be wrong, but I see this falling on deaf ears as the Yanks tweak other areas of the roster in repeating in ’10.

    If they fail to win the World Series this year however, I have to imagine Cashman might be open to such a move as his own tenure with the Yankees might ride on making a bold move like moving Jeter to LF.

    Face it, with a $200 million+ payroll and having hundreds of millions invested in CC, AJ, Tex and A Rod alone, there will have to be some fallout – possibly including Girardi or Cashman’s job – if the team fails in their pursuit of a 27th ring in 2009. Whether or not this is right is another story, but anyone who follows this team knows there are some big expectations for this squad this year.

  • emac2

    If Jeter was only about winning he would play whatever position best served the team and wouldn’t be making 20 million a year.

    I just hope the positional issue is handled with his new contract since he is going to be a baby about it. He can agree to a position switch with the new deal or he can play somewhere else.

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      Jeter’s deal was signed the same year that A-Rod got a $252m 10 year deal. Immediately after Jeter had just won his 4th ring. His deal at the time didn’t seem to hurt the team and frankly it must truly rank as the 2nd or 3rd best of all $100m+ deals made by a club (only Pujol’s and maybe Manny were better buys of those we can give a verdict on). Certainly its a better contract than A-rod’s first was for Texas and the list then is pretty dire – Soriano, Wells, Zito, Hampton, Giambi, Beltran, Griffey, Brown were all bad. Todd Helton was ok and its too early to know about CC, Tex, Cabrera, Santana and Lee

      Since 2001 we’ve never heard a word from him about what his expectations are for pay in 2011 and onwards. I don’t know what he’s really worth – obviosuly not $20m/year – but given the media coverage he generates he could well be worth $10m in 2011 and slightly less in 2012 (unless he’s still hitting .300 and plays 150 games in which case the ridicoulus talk about 4000 hits would start for real – don’t count on it though). I could see him accept a 2 year $10m + incentives deal, but maybe I’m naive

      • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

        I meant $10m/year not $10m in total – i’m might be naive but not that naive…

    • Tony

      wow thats cold – I would think Jeter has earned more respect than that.

  • MikeD

    He didn’t say he wouldn’t move if the Yankees asked. As is often the case with Jeter (and to his great credit and skill with the media), he seems to answer questions, but he really doesn’t. Of course he would move if the Yankees asked him. He’s always been a team player. He responded he doesn’t envision moving, because playing SS for the NY Yankees is what he’s wanted to do since he was 8-years-old, and has been since he was 21. Why would he envision moving when he is still playing well?

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    Jeter was asked if he could envisage playing another position. What was he gonna do? Say yes? Then the question would be asked every time he made an error, and not only on bloggs but Hal, Hank, Girardi, Cashman, etc, etc would constantly get asked when it was time to move him.

    Jeter is 53 hits away from having the most hits ever by a SS (assuming Omar doesn’t get there first) and if you included post season he already has the most hits by any shortstop. In 2011 he should collect his 3000th hit and the Yankees aren’t stupid – the attention on that countdown alone will be worth millions so the Yankees will give him a deal for 2011 to keep him. The question is if it will be a 1, 2 or 3 year deal and at what price. Any deal longer than 2 years will have to include an understanding of a shift of position, and probably would also involved making Tex the new Captain. Those discussions will take place between Cashman, Hal and Jeter next year not now and not through the media.

    • Slu

      As long as Jeter is on the team, he is the captain.

      And when Jeter is not on the team, there is no guarantee anyone is named captain.

      I don’t know how old you are, but there was no captain from 1995 when Mattingly retired to 2003, when Jeter was named captain. And there was no captain for many other periods in the team history. Also, at one point there were two captains (Randolph and Guidry from 86-89).

      You aren’t just named captain on the Yankees because you are the best player. You earn it on and off the field.

  • FrankSpin

    I don’t know if anyone has noted this but is it any coincidence that Jeter’s UZR is slightly better this year having a gold glove first basemen in Tex? Watch how many times in a game Tex saves a throw by Jeter that is not on point, it happens a few times a game. Also in Jeter’s history his UZR has been in the top 10 once amongst all MLB SS.

    Also, people who claim there is no one better than Jeter are simply looking at Jeter from the offensive standpoint and not factoring in his defensive statistics. Watch where he plays SS now, he’s practically in LF. I get it, he can jump up and throw the ball but who cares if the throw is never on target.

  • MikeD

    “…it’s been a while since a team won the World Series with a 35-year-old short stop.”

    Yup. As noted, the last time was 1980. Of course, it had been even longer since a 35-year-old has been elected the starting SS of his league’s All-Star team (1971). Jeter has already shot that one down, which leads me to the weakness in Pinto’s argument, if that’s what it really is.

    The point of Pinto’s aricle is obvious; less obvious are the flaws in his case that he conventiently ignores to make his point.

    In order to take this seriously, we’d have to focus the field on the number of HOF-caliber SS’s that were still playing the game at 35. Remember, Jeter is now regarded, give or take a spot or two, as one of the top-ten SS’s to play the game, so comparing him to other SS’s is not exactly a good way for Pinto to frame the discussion. Next we’d have to narrow the field down further to HOF-caliber, 35-year-old SS’s who are still playing at near the top of their games. Jeter is hitting right at his career norms and his fielding is actually stronger than recent seasons. Last, we further have to narror the field to 35-year-old, HOF-caliber SS’s who were still playing at a high level and are on the right teams (meaning very good teams)to even have a chance to win the World Series.

    Pinto really bakes the cake in his favor with the qualification “win the World Series.” Ummmm, do I even need to say why that’s a ridiculous standard for any age, let alone 35?

  • AsianShuutoHeat

    Baseball IS a game of numbers, can we agree a bit with that statement?

    BUT, at the same time baseball can not be governed by numbers. There are so many things that can happen in that split second when the lumber meets the leather across the plate.

    You can’t just rate all things, things happen out of the ordinary. Sometimes coaches send up a pitcher that has a good lifetime career against a certain batter… only to fall flat on his face for that move.

    You can rate someone’s performance, but you can’t rate someone’s fighting spirit…or whatever unquantifiable events that might happen in a baseball season. So to all the mathemagicians (notice I used magicians?), shut up with your numbers and how the Jeet is the “worst” in the whole league….

  • Dylan

    The % for SS plate appearances in that chart doesn’t really change much from 35-40 yrs. old. (i.e. Moving forward from here..) DH grows at the expense of OF and some others, but SS remains relatively constant in that age frame.

  • Tony

    I hope to see Jeter at short as long as possible. I am cherishing every moment he is a short & it will be a sad day when he is not at his natural position.

    • Chris B

      Amen.

  • steve from Rockland

    Re; Jeter’s defense. I have been an avid baseball fan for 52 years. Also, I have 30 credits above a Masters in math and have taught high school math for 37 years (including 16 years of teaching college statistics, and teaching AP calculus for the past 17 years). Without going into detail-both mathematically and baseball wise ALL THOSE SO CALLED DEFENSIVE STATISTICS ARE 100% INVALID ANYONE WHO THINKS RANGE FACTOR, ETC., ETC., MEANS ANYTHING AT ALL DOESN’T UNDERSTAND STATISTICS OR IS PURPOSELY MIS-APPLYING THEM (WHICH I THINK PEOPLE ARE DOING , SINCE CRITICIZING A PLAYER LIKE JETER GETS MUCH MORE ATTENTION THAN PRAISING HIM!)

    • Rick B

      I have never been a fan of defensive metrics. You should write a report invalidating them or at the very least explain it mathematically in a post. I would very much like to take a look at something like that.

  • Donna

    Of course Jeter is not going to tell a reporter that he can see the day when he’s not playing shortstop. He admits to that, and that day will come sooner rather than later. But he DOES know that one day he will not be the Yankees’ shortstop, and there is evidence of that every time he steps up to the plate at Yankee Stadium. Anyone who’s been to games with Bob Sheppard announcing knows his routine:

    “Now batting, the shortstop, number two, Derek Jeter. Number two.”

    Derek had Bob record an announcement for him to be played at the Stadium, because, as he said, “as long as I am a Yankee, Bob Sheppard will announce me.” Next time you’re at the Stadium, listen to the recorded announcement. Listen to what’s missing:

    “Now batting, number two, Derek Jeter. Number two.”

    Obviously Derek himself took the position out, so it will be usable no matter what position he plays. Does that seem like someone in complete denial about some day moving off shortstop?