The days of Derek’s discontent

Report(s): No deal for Liriano in the works
Teixeira leaves Boras
(Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

For 14 years, Derek Jeter has been a media darling in New York. The team captain, he has projected an aura of calm professionalism while going about his job in an intense way. He doesn’t get into trouble; he doesn’t stick his foot in his mouth; and his girlfriend has never been caught on national television feeding him popcorn. He might not say too much, but he speaks often enough to remain a favorite.

Lately, though, Derek has seen his image lessened. It isn’t tarnished, but the do-no-wrong short stop has seen the less glamorous side of New York adulation. It started last year when he had a sub-par season. He hit just .270 and his .710 OPS was a career low by 60 points. He clearly had lost a step at short as well. The Yanks, though, never moved Jeter down in the lineup, and fans didn’t know what to do.

Meanwhile, during his contract negotiations this past winter, things came to a bit of a head. The media reports focused on the animosity between Jeter’s camp and the Yankees as well as the differences in the offers the two sides reportedly had on the table. Some of that stemmed from his agent’s decision to talk to the Daily News about the negotiations, but some of it came from the Yanks’ comments on Jeter’s skill set and role going forward.

The captain retaliated by dragging the Yankee reporting contingent down from Orlando to Tampa during the Winter Meetings for a ceremonial press conference. It was Jeter’s way of saying that he’s still boss in this town no matter what happens on the field — or off it for that matter.

Now, he’s back in the headlines again. On the one hand, we have his big house. It’s a mansion; it’s big; it’s a big house. How big is his house? The Times offered up this succinct summary: “The 30,875-square-foot mansion, which overlooks Hillsborough Bay, features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a pool, two boat lifts, a drive-through portico and a pair of three-car garages flanking the north and south ends of the property.” It is nearly 20,000 square feet larger than George Steinbrenner‘s old home. As I might have mentioned, it’s big.

On the other hand, we have Jeter’s retooled swing. As Joe wrote yesterday, we must have patience with it. Jeter is off to a slow start in Spring Training — an indication of approximately nothing — but already people are eying his work with Kevin Long and Jeter’s mechanics. Is he trying to cheat age (and fastballs) by swinging earlier? Will it work? Can he be as Tyler Kepner asks today, another Omar Vizquel?

It’s not easy watching favorite players get old. We saw Andy Pettitte age over the past few seasons as his body didn’t rebound from injuries. Jorge Posada hasn’t been the same since his 2008 shoulder surgery. Now, Jeter, 36 going on 37, has to find a way to delay the inevitable or we all must come to grips with it. How Jeter goes this year will determine, to a large extent, the media reaction to him.

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Report(s): No deal for Liriano in the works
Teixeira leaves Boras
  • KofH

    I can lose all three of them, but when Mo goes, I may go back on the bottle…

    • chris

      I couldn’t agree with you more. The MVP on this team since 96′ hands down, no questions asked.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        No, that’s… actually Derek Jeter.

        • Brian in NH

          I agree with bexy here…Jeter has been more important to the yanks success the past 15 years. However…I think that Mo has always been my favorite.

      • Sean C

        One of the greatest shortstops of all time >>> one of the greatest relief pitchers of all time.

  • fire levine

    Its sad to watch really. Derek was supposed to be above it all. He was the one that was going to do everything, including eccepting a lesser role or exiting the game completely, gracefully.

    On the other hand, maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think any of us heard him say he won’t accept a move to a lower spot in the lineup or accept a diminished role. Could be it just seems that way

  • hogsmog

    On another note, can we please stop using that picture of Jeter? He looks like an old man taking a dump, and I don’t want to be reminded that Jeter is old OR takes dumps.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Jeter has all of 6 AB’s in ST. Can we at least wait to the end of ST before this becomes such an issue. Pitchers are way ahead of hitters at this point. And Jeter is even further behind with a new timing device on his swing. After 100 AB’s in ST and regular games we’ll have a much better idea. The guy has hit .314 in his career. He’ll adjust. The media should find other points of interest to print.

  • Januz

    I do not thing Jeter will be the player he used to be, due to age (Unless you are using steroids or something else illegal, almost no position player will be the same as when they are younger). That said, the reasons why the media is going after him is. 1: Hank’s big mouth (Keep in mind he is the one who gave Arod his stupid contract after he opted out. So he should be the LAST person discussing financial excess). 2: There is very little of a controversial nature to discuss in Yankee Camp (And controversy and gossip brings in money to the media (Guess why a non-talent like Lindsay Lohan is always in the news?)). 3: He plays for the Yankees. If you play for a team like the Yankees, you have a bullseye on your back. So anything you do gets magnified to the nth degree.

  • OldYanksFan

    “Will it work? Can he be as Tyler Kepner asks today, another Omar Vizquel?”

    Wow…. is this just a nutsy analogy?
    How about…. Is he another Cal Ripken.

    It would have been better to give him a 2 yr contract for $25m, but also build a stature of him. I don’t believe he will go gently into the night. He is going to hold on and kill his rep over he next 4 years.

    This will be uglier then then Bernie ‘retirement’.

  • steve s

    Anyone old enough to have seen the Mick’s last years can attest that it was still more of a thrill to see the shell of the player out there than to not see him at all (and, by the way, even at the end, Mick was arguably the top Yankee offensive player in his last year of 1968). In addition to Mantle, Yankee history has had more than its share of icons leaving too soon who still had more to give even if it paled by comparison to what they were in their prime (Joe D., Donnie Baseball, the Babe, even O’Neill). I’m glad Jeter has the option to make that 4th year of his contract kick-in as I rather see the great Jeter squeeze out every last possible chance to play as, in all liklihood, there will never be another Yankee in our lifetime that comes close to achieving what he has achieved or representing Yankee greatness and legend as he has.

    • CS Yankee

      This.

      When I took the fam out to catch a game in (like) ’05…Moose pitched great, Bernie & Giambi went deep and they beat the Rangers, however Jete had a day off. We tried to get another game in just to see him…but couldn’t do it.

      They got to see him in the CR games when they played interleague. I have a picture of my middle son wearing a #2 & taking a picture of #2 from behind the plate…(priceless).

      Flew out with the boys to see YS2 one last time in ’08, Mo closed, Jete played well & they beat TB.

      Flew out again to see YS3 & Jeter tie Gehrig in ’09 against TB, he was clutch that day.

      My kids will talk about that last one forever, they seened the legend hit a great milestone.

      So, i don’t get all the GIDP comments…some yes, but the level that is, no that’s just wrong. Heck even the Arod post talked about how he can help overcome the Jeter fielding. Jeter is real solid, IMO, on the 3B-side…he is well below MLB avg towards 2B though. Keep the Arod thing about Arod vs. Jete bashing on otherwise the best, most complete, most knowledgeable site. (sorry, for the rant, but geez’)

      • Big Apple

        Jeter’s D may be slipping but he’s backed up by two great OFs in Gardner and Granderson and a Cano who is just tremendous at 2B as well as Tex, the human vacuum.

        Team D is much more important than individual D…there are too many haters our there and some of them are wearing Yankee caps.

  • CS Yankee

    There seems to be two fan camps;
    A) Arod is great, Jeter over-rated
    B) Arod is an cheat, Jeter is clutch

    It seems to me that Camp A was formed when Arod came over & gave up his SS position but put up fantastic numbers. Camp B is about all the clumsy off-field stuff and that Arod didn’t have hardware (pressure).

    I am glad we have both…Arod is the better athlete and Jeter the better overall image. I’m enjoying both of their talents, glad my kids have Jeter as their role models, love it when Arod takes Paps yard and don’t give a darn about where Jete hits.

    I never care about the money that they make and I’m proud of what they (George & etc) have done for players and the game. Let’s enjoy the greatness of these two legends and quit the Jeter bashing.

  • Yank the Frank

    When you are as great as Jeter has been any decline always looks worse than it really is. It’s inevitable that his numbers will go down with age but he has the heart of a lion and will continue to add value to the lineup.

  • Big Apple

    Jeter and Mo have been equally important to the Yanks success and both will be greatly missed when they leave.

    I’m fine watching their so called demise….its expected with players that reach age 35. But both are still producing at a high level.

    Jeter has had one mediocre year out of 16 and so many are ready to cast him aside like a part of dirty underpants….shame on you, I Say!

  • JerseyDutch

    Give him April to straighten out his swing. If he can’t, he goes to number nine and Gardner takes lead off.

  • Rob

    Shit. In other words, after translating Cashman’s statements: Banuelos and/or Betances will be gone in a trade for Liriano.

    • Rob

      wrong thread ha, not sure how that happened