A Leadoff Hitter Compromise


(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

With Derek Jeter on the shelf for the last week, Joe Girardi has employed a Brett Gardner-Nick Swisher leadoff hitter platoon with great (small sample size) results. Yankees leadoff hitters have put together a .423/.559/.654 batting line since Jeter got hurt, which is both awesome and unsustainable. After Tuesday’s game against the Reds was called due to rain, Joe Girardi told reporters that Jeter will return to the leadoff spot once he’s healthy. As far as I know, he didn’t give a reason or explain his thinking, though if he did I imagine it went something like this…

Jete is our shortstop and our leadoff hitter, that’s why he’s here. Gardy and Swish have done a great job, but it’s still Derek’s job and he’ll get it back. We feel our best lineup has Derek leading off. We trust all of our guys.

I think that about covers it. Of course you know that Jeter shouldn’t be leading off if you’ve watched the Yankees with any regularity this season. He’s hitting just .260/.324/.324 overall and a slightly better.270/.336/.345 from the top spot in the order. The average leadoff hitter is batting .264/.328/.387 this season, so the Cap’n isn’t even meeting that modest standard. There’s no logical reason why someone performing like that should get more plate appearances than anyone else in the lineup. None.

Obviously Jeter’s legacy is coming into play here, and that’s a dumb reason to make a decision. But it is what it is, and we’re stuck dealing with it. Perhaps there’s a compromise though, one that maximizes the team’s chances of scoring (and by extension, winning) without bruising Derek’s ego, since that is what this is essentially all about. The solution: platoon him with Gardner. A straight platoon, Gardner leads off against righties while Jeter leads off against lefties. That’s it.

As unimpressive as his overall stat line is, Jeter is still hitting a stout .299/.405/.403 against left-handed hitters, continuing last year’s trend (.321/.391/.481 vs. LHP in 2010). He’s unusable against right-handers though (.246/.294/.297 this year, .246/.316/.317 last year), and that’s where he’s really killing the team. Gardner does his best work against righties (.294/.366/.465 this year, .279/.362/.396 career), which is why he should leadoff against them. Jeter will be on the short of the platoon since he’s the righty, but you know what? That’s life. At some point he has to step up and face the reality of the situation. He hasn’t hit righties for 15 months now, it’s not just a slump anymore.

Not that I would know anything about it, but the old saying is that the toughest thing for a world class athlete to do is accept when they can no longer do thing they used too. That’s what Jeter is going through now, whether he realizes it or not. If they want to bat him leadoff until he gets his 3,000th hit, fine. Hopefully he does it sooner rather than later. After that though, the Yankees have to put their foot down and start doing what’s best for the team. Platooning Jeter and Gardner atop the lineup is step one of that process.

Categories : Offense


  1. Sean says:

    This is the best idea period

  2. Esteban says:

    I think that’s a fair comPromise. So jeter bats where, 9th, when he’s not leading off?

    • mbonzo says:

      I think you’d have to bat him second, at least at first. I don’t imagine Jeter would have a problem with it, but imagine the headlines when he’s hitting 9th? Remember, in a perfect world I totally agree with batting him 9th, but the Bronx is a zoo, and I’d rather see headline saying Granderson dropped in the order than Jeter batting 9th.

      • Kiersten says:

        No, no. I’d much rather he lead off than bat second. Because that would drop our best hitter down and give him fewer ABs. Granderson is the perfect No. 2 hitter.

        • mbonzo says:

          I know I’m going to shock a few people here, but I don’t think Granderson is our best hitter. Sure he’s been the best, but we’re talking about a lineup with one of the best hitters of all time (Arod), the third place MVP candidate for 2010 (Cano), and a player who leads the league in homeruns (Tex). I think he’s got to finish this season off strong to justify a top in the rotation spot, and don’t forget the strikeouts are a little too much to lead off a game. Dropping Jeter to 9th is gonna be hard for the team to deal with for media purposes, so I don’t mind dropping Granderson to 6th behind Cano against righty pitchers. That would give the Yanks the strongest cleanup of any team, and you have to think that Jeter might improve on his double play numbers if Gardner can distract the second basemen with his speed.

          • mbonzo says:

            Just to clarify this would be my lineup against a RHSP starting pitcher.
            1. Gardner (LB)
            2. Jeter (RB)
            3. Tex (LB)
            4. Arod (RB)
            5. Cano (LB)
            6. Granderson (LB)
            7. Swisher (LB)
            8. Posada (LB)
            9. Martin (RB)

            • FIPster Doofus says:

              Granderson is one of the best hitters in the sport, so demoting him in the lineup – and thus giving him fewer ABs – is clearly not a good way to go about winning games.

              Honestly, fuck Jeter’s feelings. The Yankees kowtowed to him enough when they handed him his ridiculous legacy contract. No way in hell should he be hitting second instead of Granderson.

          • Kiersten says:

            Oh I agree that in general he’s not, but this season he has been (along with Tex). The main problem with Jeter leading off is that he’s not getting on base in front of the power guys. Moving him to 2nd just makes that problem worse. If 9th is too brutal, drop Jeter to 7th. But I guess that would also require dropping Posada to 9th, unless you’rte gonna bat Swisher 9th. Great how the guys with the smallest OPSes have the biggest egos.

            • mbonzo says:

              Right, I think thats the problem here. Although I wouldn’t assume Jeter’s ego keeps him out of batting lower in the order, the media would just draw out so much bullshit that this would become an issue.

          • V says:

            Granderson’s #1 flaw, by far, is that he swings and misses -a lot-. I’d much rather have a swing-and-a-miss guy with excellent power at #2 than at #6, as the lineup protection may (?) give him better pitches to hit, in general, than a pitch-around spot later in the lineup.

            • mbonzo says:

              Well Swisher is no slouch, if you walk Granderson you have to deal with a guy who has OPS’d .840 the last 2 years and a guy with one of the best eyes in the game. Yes you’d be taking away a probably 30 or so at bats from Granderson, but you have to think that he’d have more RBI opportunity and still have ample protection. I really don’t like to see strikeout guys in the top of the order so I like this lineup. Figuring out where Granderson should bat is a great problem to have, regardless.

      • Doesn’t moving Jeter down to second kind of defeat the purpose of platooning him in the leadoff spot? The whole point is that he shouldn’t be hitting at the top of the lineup against RHP, not that he shouldn’t be in one particular lineup spot. The difference between batting leadoff and batting second is pretty negligible.

        I think the whole point is that you get him out of the top of the lineup when you’re not facing a LHP, so you move him down to somewhere between 6-9.

        • mbonzo says:

          Agreed, but its letting him down softly. Whether it be his first day back from the DL in June/July, or a year from now, moving him straight from leadoff to bottom of the lineup is bad news for the media impact. It needs to happen in steps, and I would definitely prefer to have Gardner leading off against righties.

          • But moving him to second isn’t really a “step.” The guy has batted second more than he’s batted in any other lineup position in his career – 55% of his plate appearances have been in the second spot in the lineup (34% as leadoff hitter). Batting Jeter second is not a demotion.

            The “step” is moving him down to 6th.

      • Montero's Agent says:

        There is no way he should bat second…he would easily lead the league in double plays. His inability to hit the ball out of the infield as much as in the past and his lost step to first base would spell disaster.

        Also..why take the chance of screwing up Granderson? Not saying it is directly realted, but look at Swisher now that he isn’t hitting second anymore.

  3. bob says:

    Yea – but notice that Posada was never dropped to 9th after his hissy fit. I don’t know that Girardi has what it takes to do the right thing for the team if it means conflict with “the captain”.

  4. Jetrer says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening until at least next year. I doubt Girardi has the balls to do this, especially after what happened with Posada.

  5. Bones says:

    I agree, but where does he hit?

  6. Kiersten says:

    I’ve thought this since August. Forget Girardi, someone else needs to step in and say something. I don’t care about legacy bullshit, the guy with the worst OBP in the lineup should not be leading off. Period.

    /preaching to the choir’d

    • Riddering says:

      I’m sure Girardi has stopped taking Cashman’s calls in order to save Jeter’s place in the leadoff position. It’s going to take a real man like Harkey to break into Joe’s fortress-like office and force him to change the lineup!

  7. The BIG 3 says:

    LMAO @ Axisa suggesting small samples mean anything at all.

    I know this statement doesn’t mean all that much but I’ve said it before, so will say it again here: Jeter will out-OPS Gardner this year. My reasoning is thus: Jeter knows what he’s doing and Gardner just looks silly while swinging a bat. He reminds me of my sister (who incidentally, is a pretty good ball player). Go sis!

    • hogsmog says:

      Wanna bet?

      • The BIG 3 says:

        Figure of speech. I don’t know you from Adam so, no I won’t bet you money you probably won’t deliver.

        Let’s leave it at this: Jeter will out-OPS Gardner this year. Mark this post and laugh later. Or not.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          Let’s leave it at this: Jeter will out-OPS Gardner this year

          No, he won’t.

          • The BIG 3 says:

            Gardner will probably wind up with a OPS+ under 100. Jeter will probably wind up with an OPS+ over 110, as are their 3 year profiles.

            Your problem is that you are convinced Jeter is toast at 37, yet Gardner can somehow continue to induce walks from pitchers who must know by now that, as long as they pitch strikes, he’s an automatic out.

            You’re wrong. See you in September.

            • I have a really nice bridge to sell you about 3 miles away from where I live if you’re interested in that too.

            • FIPster Doofus says:

              Not only is Jeter toast, but Gardner is really good. Those two things don’t work in your favor.

            • David, Jr. says:

              You are as deluded as whoever in the Yankee organization (Levine?) was when the decision was made to partially cave in to Jeter’s idiotic and egotistical contract demands. He has severely declined in the past 11/2 years to the point where he is maybe an average player.

            • Riddering says:

              Your problem is that you are convinced Jeter is toast at 37, yet Gardner can somehow continue to induce walks from pitchers who must know by now that, as long as they pitch strikes, he’s an automatic out.

              1. No, Gardner is not an automatic out without walks.

              2. Gardner’s MO as a starting player has been transparent for 1.5-2 seasons’ worth of games. It was a concern throughout April of this season that perhaps he really was a mirage and couldn’t sustain success but that view has changed in the past two months. What would explain a league’s worth of pitchers not being able to adjust to Gardner for so long? Is he like the Silence from Doctor Who and every pitcher immediately forgets how easy it is to get him out as soon as they look away from him?

        • Kiersten says:

          10 games away from being halfway through the season:

          Jeter OPS: .649
          Gardner OPS: .815

          So, in short – no.

        • V says:

          Do you trust the RAB ‘big 3′? I’m willing to paypal them $100 -right now- on a simple 1-1 odds bet if you are.

          If Gardner Out-OPSes Jeter from the date Jeter returns from the DL through the end of the regular season (2011), I win your $100. Otherwise, you win mine.


          (I’d go up to $1000, but my wife probably wouldn’t be too pleased).

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      I’m going to assume this is sarcasm, though it’s hard to tell around here these days.

    • The BIG 3 says:

      I think you people are clinically insane. Two weeks ago, you wanted Gardner benched, now two weeks and a hot streak later, he’s better than the best SS in this franchises history, who 1.5 years ago was massive.

      At the very least, you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

      • mbonzo says:

        Who has put up better number the last 1.5 years?

        Who is in the prime of their career, and who is at the tail end?

        Theres a chance Jeter comes back, and I’ve been optimistic about him. Gardner has been massive though, and he’s been as good as Jeter was in some of his best years.

        • The BIG 3 says:

          I believe all the early season concerns about pitchers getting keen on Gardner and his timidness at the plate are legit. Throw strikes and he’s out. Mostly, he looks awful up there, to me. And I have to believe that will be exposed.

          • Brett Gardner is hitting .342/.420/.519 over his last 184 plate appearances since April 23. That doesn’t happen because he’s not seeing strikes or looks awful. How is that even approximating looking awful? He’s likely not going to do that all season, but the idea that he’s going to be “exposed” or that he’s getting by on pitches out of the zone because of your notions of timidness just don’t make any sense.

            • The BIG 3 says:

              You’re judging him now while he’s peaking. Although this wouldn’t be particularly fair either, try to consider him as a player 2 weeks ago.

              • V says:

                2 weeks ago his cumulative line (including his awful April) was still better than Jeter’s.

                • The BIG 3 says:

                  And Jeter has sucked, to date. But that’s not forever, Pal, He has pride. And I’m not buying the age argument yet.

                  • hogsmog says:

                    Apparently pride helps you hit baseballs?

                  • David, Jr. says:

                    Jeter’s amazing pride and ability to reverse the aging process must not extend to defense.

                    UZR – Fangraphs: Gardner at + 30.8
                    Jeter at – 2.4

                    Total Zone: Gardner at + 38
                    Jeter at – 9

                    Your eyes likely see something entirely different – “Look at that! Another great play by the Captain!”

              • FIPster Doofus says:

                Gardner has been a better hitter than Jeter for just about a season and a half now. You’re just gonna have to accept it.

            • James says:

              “Brett Gardner is hitting .342/.420/.519 over his last 184 plate appearances since April 23.”

              Guys guys… we all know this is because Girardi doesn’t play him against lefties, whom he can’t hit (kidding).

      • That’s a long 1.5 years for soon-to-be 37-year-old Jeter. In the last calendar year, Jeter has hit .256/.331/.321, and he’s not getting any younger. It sucks to watch because we’ve all admired Jeter for so long and are used to his top play, but if you think he can at all approximate what he did in 2009, you’re in for disappointment.

        On the other hand, your idea — “yet Gardner can somehow continue to induce walks from pitchers who must know by now that, as long as they pitch strikes, he’s an automatic out” — has no basis in the reality we’ve seen from Gardner this year, last year or at any point in his career. He’s a legitimately good baseball player. What he does has no bearing on Derek Jeter, and both are working toward Yankee wins. Right now in their respective careers though, betting on Gardner and against Derek Jeter is a far safer bet than the one you propose.

        • The BIG 3 says:

          We were saying the same thing 1.5 years ago. The exact same thing, ‘he is toast’. But he did put together a great season so there’s no legit reason to really believe he can’t do the same at 37. Shit, 37 isn’t that old and 1.5 years is not forever.

          Regardless of age, I just think he’s a better bat than Gardner, not that I dislike Gardy. But even now, I would much prefer to see Jeter up there than Gardy.

          • V says:

            So, no dice on the $100 offer?

            • The BIG 3 says:

              Dude, if you could somehow guarantee that your loss would wind up my pocket, I would do it in an instant. But you cannot.

              • hogsmog says:

                I mean, if he doesn’t pay, then you still get to rub this in all of RAB’s face for the rest of Jeter’s career. You will be the king of the board! They might even give you a weekend column. What’s to lose?

                • The BIG 3 says:

                  The thread is bookmarked so I have that, anyway. But I’m not about to give 1-0 odds to a guy I don’t know.

                  • jsbrendog says:

                    you are only not betting because you know you are currently temporarily insane even considering jeter will out ops gardner

              • V says:

                Did you not see the part where we give the money to a neutral party for safe keeping?

                I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. You aren’t.

          • mbonzo says:

            I think the point is that Gardner is having one of the best seasons for a player. He’s out produced Crawford not only this year, but in the past 1.5 years. He’s becoming one of the best left fielders in the game both offensively and defensively.

            Jeter is having one of the worst of his career, and has shown few signs of figuring things out. I am an optimist and even I think things are starting to look bleak for him. At best he’ll be hitting .280-.290 with a .350 OBP with maybe a .360-.370 OPS. Gardner has been outproducing that and his numbers are still going up from his terrible April. I don’t know why I just wrote all this because logic won’t convince you.

          • FIPster Doofus says:

            But even now, I would much prefer to see Jeter up there than Gardy.


        • Tony S says:

          Good points – but I’ll still place my bets & faith with Jeter. We will win with Jeter. I have faith in him. I have faith that he will always find a way.

        • Tony S says:

          Good points – but I’ll still place my bets & faith with Jeter. We will win with Jeter. I have faith in him. I have faith that he will always find a way.

      • Kiersten says:

        I’d just like to point out that if Brett Gardner ends the season with a lower OPS than Derek Jeter, he will have crashed. Hard. Like, he’d have to be Juan Pierre bad to make up that much difference, even if Jeter were to improve. And that’s really not something you should be hoping for.

      • hogsmog says:

        Who the hell wanted Gardner benched? Even when he wasn’t hitting he was pulling his weight as a GG caliber outfielder.

      • Dustin says:

        The hot streak you refer too is more like two months than two weeks. Gardner’s hitting .346 since May 1. He’s also swinging at more pitches in the zone without chasing significantly more out of the zone (supported by Z-swing % and O-swing %). So he’s become somewhat less passive, meaning your theory that Gardner will fizzle out if pitchers throw strikes against him is looking pretty weak.

        I understand if you have a lot of loyalty built up for Jeter over the years. But he’s the Captain, and he’s all about winning. How many times has he said that himself? And I think even he has to know the team is best off with him hitting 7th, 8th, or 9th.

    • pete says:

      This comment has been bookmarked.

      And I think it’s more likely Jeter winds up with an OPS+ under 85 than that he out-OPSs Gardner. I think Gardner will OPS+ around 110.

      Of course, that doesn’t even take into account either of their entire offensive packages, so I’ll go out on another limb stronger than yours – Jeter will finish the year with a wOBA under .310, and Gardner’s will be over .350.

  8. Mark says:

    I would love to be there when they tell el cap he isn’t leading off anymore. The guy lives in a fantasy land as is when he tried to suggest the team play a man down so he didn’t have to go on the dl.

  9. MikeD says:

    Does Girardi have to give a reason? Girardi knows the reason. Cashman knows the reason. Hal Steinbrenner knows the reason. The NY Post knows the reason. The Daily News knows the reason. Mike Francesa knows the reason. Hell, even the Huffington Post knows the reason.

    They’ll all write about it, scratching their heads thinking, “I just can’t think of one dang reason why Jeter is still batting lead off. I am totally at a loss to think of a single reason.”

    Teams, including the Yankees, give their star players who have contributed so much over the years extra runway before making moves like this. Everyone knows he’s not being moved from the lead-off spot right now, so it’s a pointless conversation.

    BTW Jeter’s strength this year has been leading off games and innings, posting .391/.472/.478 line leading off the game, and is one of the reason the Yankees have scored frequently in the first. He’s horrible in other situations and runners on base. It’s a small sample size, but it’s there. He’s actually helped the Yankees leading off ballgames and innings. It’s a fact.

    I don’t see Jeter moving out of the lead-off spot this year, but that all said, I do like Mike A’s suggestion because it accomplishes to things. We have strong hitters (including Jeter against lefties) leading off, and it introduces the concept that Jeter is no longer the lead-off man.

    Make it so.

    But it’s not going to happen…yet.

    • Tony S says:

      Nice points – well thought out.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      In general I agree. However as was pointed out earlier Jeter has spent more time batting second than leading off. So if the “step” only pushes him from leadoff to second n the platoon, then this isn’t really a step at all. More like a reversion.

      Steps in my book, in this context, are measured in batting Jeter in the bottom third of the order.

  10. nathan says:

    We are talking about someone who did not even offer to move off SS when the best SS in MLB came to the team. This has to be the most frustrating headaches for Cash$$. Well if Joe wants to play nice, Cash$$ has to grow a pair and tell DJ what captaincy really means — playing for the freakin team. Just annoyed !!

    • Tony S says:

      annoyed at Jeter wow. He has only been a model ballplayer. does Does Legacy mean anything to you. does rings not buy you any goodwill???

      you should be proud that he is on our team & treasure the time he is here. Trust me it will be over way to fast.

      Mattingly was the last player that had similar equity as Jeter & it was awful not to be able to watch him. Tino was the perfect replacement – but for many fans it was a sad irony that Mattingly could not be part of the 96 run.

      • eddie nunez says:

        “Trust me it will be over way to fast.”


      • nathan says:

        I will appreciate his legacy as much as anyone and at the same time question his stubborn attitude. No one is bigger than the team, its an irony he doesnt realise it. Bernie was a great player for us, but would you want him around right now if he wanted back in?

    • Preston says:

      It’s rediculous to condemn Jeter for not offering to move off of SS when they traded for A-Rod. The fact of the matter is he was never asked. In fact the only reason the Yankees traded for A-Rod was because when the Red Sox were trying to do it Alex said he wouldn’t move to 3B unless it was to play with Jeter. Maybe Cashman and Torre should have decided that A-Rod was better and played him at SS. But I’m thinking that the thought long term the guy with 30 extra lbs. on his frame wouldn’t age as well defensively and that his bat played better at a corner than Jeter. In hindsight they’ve been right, Jeter is still an adequate SS, do you really think A-Rod would be?

      As for the lead-off spot, it’s the same thing. You’re assuming that anyone has asked Jeter to move. Should he volunteer to bat 9th? I’m sure Cash and Girardi have talked about it and think that the handful of runs gained by line-up optimization are not yet worth the media storm that would surround the team if they made the move.

      • nathan says:

        Look, DJ treats this as a business and his fans think he doesn’t. Thats ok. But, would you rather the team play well and be positioned to make the playoffs or nurse his ego and pull a 2008.

        No one can say for sure if Alex would have or wouldn’t have succeeded at SS, the crime is we did not get to find out.

        I am saying as the purported captain and all that is holy, is DJ not obligated to do what is best for the team. In many ways, you have to admire what Beltran did for the Mets.

        • Preston says:

          I don’t disagree that Jeter should bat 9th. Maybe A-rod would have been a better SS. My point is so far in neither situation has Jeter been the decision maker. If and when they ask him to move and he throws a Posada hissy fit I will start to be Ok with criticizing him. Until then all of this piling on Jeter is unfair.

          My bet is he will handle the transition quietly with class and dignity, he always has. And we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

          • nathan says:

            On that day I will eat crow. I saw too much at his press conference and his FA process to think it will be smooth.

  11. dkidd says:

    why do some people seem to think girardi will drop jeter in the line-up after he gets hit 3,000? he gets the hit, and next game he’s suddenly batting 9th? he will be leading off for the rest of the year

  12. mbonzo says:

    If I was Girardi I would say “Jeter has obviously been in a prolonged slump. We feel that lowering him in the lineup might help him out and jump start his bat to what it should be.”

  13. Guest says:

    Jeter has hit “2″ so often in his career, I don’t think he would consider it a demotion at all. Heck, he started the season hitting “2″ against righties. I also agree that it would suck to take away at-bats from Granderson, or prevent him from getting Tex’s protection.

    Given these two things, why not bat Jeter “2″ against righties and bump everyone down one?:

    1. Gardner
    2. Jeter
    3. Granderson
    4. Tex
    5. A-Rod
    6. Cano
    7. Swisher
    8. Posada
    9. Martin

    The only two guys that have “ego” shifts there are A-Rod and Cano, and for all of the grief they get (A-Rod for everything he does/says and Cano for “effort”), I haven’t heard either of them complain about making sacrifices for the team. A-Rod didn’t say a peep when Torre dropped him to 8 in the playoffs and moved to third without batting an eye when everyone knew he was a better defensive SS than Jeter. Cano has hit nearly every where in the lineup without any marked change in production or attitude.

    I think this is the best way to appease jeter without completely messing up the lineup. (Which doesn’t really have THAT big of an impact anyway, though with as close as things figure to be with teh Sox, every little bit counts).

    • “Messing up the lineup” > Jeter’s ego. In no world should he be getting more PAs than Granderson, Tex, A-Rod, and Cano.

      • Guest says:

        I agree completely. In a perfect world, Jeter hits ninth. No question.

        I just don’t think dropping Jeter to the bottom of the lineup is within the realm of realistic options. No matter what, he will get more ABs than Grandy, Tex, A-Rod, and Cano.

        So if the Yanks have to operate under the premise that “Jeter must be at the top of the lineup,” then they need to fashion the best lineup they can given those restrictions. And I think a lineup that has one of their best OBP hitters in Gardner at the top of the lineup is better than one where Gardner is at the bottom.

      • mbonzo says:

        While I agree, I don’t think its as simple as that. The media impact could affect Jeter’s game more so than his ego. I do think theres a chance that moving him in the order will help shake things up for him, and help his BABIP increase. Gardner can open up holes for Jete, and may get back in the rhythm of hitting second a bit easier. It worth a try at least. You’d only be losing a handful of PA’s for whoever you drop down, its worth the experiment to see if Jeter changes his game imo.

    • Sayid J says:

      Yes, but as the Congressman said above, the whole point of moving him out of the leadoff spot is so that he’ll stop getting more at bats than Granderson, Tex, A-Rod, etc. Moving Jeter to the 2 spot and sliding everyone else done provides no benefit and may even be detrimental by pushing our best hitters further down.

    • David, Jr. says:

      But why do they need to “appease Jeter”? Isn’t the Captain supposed to be a leader and team player? Wouldn’t that person say publicly and to the team “Batting 9th is no issue at all for me. Whatever Joe says and however I can help the team, I am all for. I hope to get hot and move back up, but for now this is right for the team”.

      • Guest says:

        You’re absolutely right. But what you propose will not happen.

        Jeter will not do or say those things. It doesn’t make him a bad person, it just makes him a prideful star who doesn’t want to go softly into that good night (see Posada, Jorge). Eventually, Jeter will be at the bottom of the lineup. But the Yankees are going to have to do it carefully, in a on off-season, with plenty of discussion and warning.

        They are not going to demote him to the bottom of the lineup (and Jeter will see it as a demotion) in the middle of the season without a lot of consternation and angst. Mayabe the lineup benefit is worth the consternation and angst. I just don’t think the Yankees are willing to find out.

        • David, Jr. says:

          Agree, unfortunately. What would be interesting to know would be what have been the private conversations, compared to what Girardi has said publicly. They must see that he should be getting less at bats than at least Granderson, Cano, ARod, Tex and Gardner.

  14. Tony S says:

    Give Jeter the RESPECT he has earned. He gets as long as he needs. He has earned it. We will not lose with Jeter. Way to much time is being spent on this. We have bigger conerns – like our starting pitching.

    • jsbrendog says:

      sure, give him respect as we lose games because he cant hit or field.

      • Preston says:

        Slow down there. Jeter is a better fielding SS than Nunez at this point and while Nunez may have more power I think Jeter will more consistently get on base. It is not nearly the time to say Jeter isn’t our starting SS, it’s just time to say he shouldn’t be the one setting the table for our best hitters and getting the most AB’s on the team.

        • pete says:

          that. we’re going to have a replacement-level or slightly-above-replacement-level-because-replacement-level-is-so-low shortstop no matter what. This is strictly a lineup argument.

  15. Tony S says:

    bat gardner 9th and you’ll have 2 lead off hitters

    • Guest says:

      But then one of the hottest hitters in baseball (who has proven to be a very good hitter even while not in the midst of a hot streak over his 1.5 seasons as a starter) will get the fewest number of at-bats.

      Brett Gardner is second only to A-Rod in OBP amongst Yankee starters. He should not have fewer opportunities to do what he does best (get on base) than everyone else in the Yankee lineup.

    • Rich says:

      bat jeter ninth and you’ll have 2 lead off hitters—only difference is the one that gets on base more will get more at bats

  16. nsalem says:

    As per last nights discussion put forth by The Big 3
    while I don’t think Jeter will end up with a better line than Gardner in 2011 it should be noted that on June3
    Gardner .244/.324/.696
    Jeter ,260/.327/.654

    Indeed there were posts on this board that were making mention of Gardner’s “poor performance” in 2011. I also agree with his notion that there are many on this board that are way to caught up in the moment and to me seem totally oblivious to the up and down flows that happen within a 162 game season. It can’t be denied that Jeter is in a 1.5 year drop off from his peak, but he too is capable of a prolonged hot streak that can turn this around. Though at 37 it’s not so likely he has done it before.
    i don’t agree Jeter will outhit Gardner in the future but, it’s not as impossible as others suggest. Good for you The Big3 you presented you put forth an excellent point that is worthy of discussion.

  17. Monteroisdinero says:

    Going forward, it is inevitable that Jeter will have increasesing problems staying healthy playing SS and batting leadoff (please get him outta leadoff after 6 more hits). He is a lousy DH option. A singles hitter to the right side of the infield. No power, decreasing speed on the bases (remember when he couldn’t tag up from 3rd on a medium flyball to cf a few weeks ago?) and poor (and decreasing ) range at SS.

    A regrettable contract for the next 3 years. We can only hope the captain doesn’t go out like many an old boxer being battered beyond what they once were.

    • David, Jr. says:

      I am worried about them trying to get something out of the contract by putting him at full-time DH next year. It would be like giving the Red Sox some kind of a handicap advantage. Big Papi would edge him in Home runs by about 28 to 1, and in RBIs by about 102 to 36.

      • YanksFan in MA says:

        Still don’t see the Sox bringing Papi back next year.

        • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

          Given the year he is having and assuming he keep it up (heh) I can totally see Theo offering him 1/$8mm or some such. Maybe a touch higher or lower. Question becomes whether any other team will offer him 2 (or, egads, more) years. No way Theo goes there.

  18. boogie down says:

    Apropos, then, that FanGraphs publishes an article this morning showing that Gardner ranks 12th among all position players in MLB in cumulative WAR since the start of the ’10 season, with 9.2 WAR. In fact, he ranks closer to 5th (9.6 WAR) than he does to 13th (8.7 WAR — Cano). Obviously, his superb defense plays a major role in this, but, as the article states, only Andres Torres can also claim to be 20 RAA in both hitting and defense.

    In all, Gardner has been nothing short of excellent over the last 1.5 years, and has thoroughly outperformed Jeter in every facet of the game.

  19. Whatever, I don’t even care anymore. Let Jeter hit leadoff forever. I’ve given up.


  20. nsalem says:

    If Gardner keeps this up through the AS break I think it would be time to make a switch, I don’t think
    that Granderson should be moved out of the two hole and that the only other place for Jeter in in the ninth spot. As a Yankee fan I’m thrilled about what Gardner is doing, But I feel people are denigrating Jeter in tandem with Gardner’s success. That shouldn’t be. Before people throw the dirt on Jeter’ grave and misuse words like inevitable they should check out the line of Ortiz .317/.395/.988 to realize that aging stars do sometimes turn things around.

  21. mike c says:

    jeter batting leadoff is a business decision, not a baseball decision. you want a $200M payroll? well the yankees have to sell some jeter merchandise first

  22. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    Its all but certain that the Yanks keep Jeter in the lead-off spot until the 3000th hit. Then provided that Gardner is hitting and OBP is better than Jeter’s, you would make a switch.

    As far as the lineup. I would not move Granderson from the two hole. He provides a better bat, power and speed than Jeter. Jeter goes to the 8th spot in the lineup providing a very solid .270 hitter at the end of the lineup.

    How do they approach the change. Girardi and Cashman sit Jeter down a week or so after the 3000th hit and tell him. He may object, get angry, throw things. The next day the lineup card has Jeter in the 8 hole. Questions will be asked of all parties then die away. Jeter works for the Yankees at 17 million a year. I like the guy and what he has brought to the team for 15 years but its about the team. He may show an attitude to the management but he will still play his best on the field. If they make the playoffs all will be forgotten. We should expect all to act like men. “Just Do It.”

    • jsbrendog says:

      Questions will be asked of all parties then die away. Jeter works for the Yankees at 17 million a year.

      this. derek jeter is an EMPLOYEE of the ny yankees. he does what they tell him when they tell him or he doesn’t have a job. if he doesn’t like it then quit. boo fucking hoo

      • LarryM.,Fl. says:

        I’m trying to understand are you for or against my comment. If against can you offer a different suggestion to the issue.

        • jsbrendog says:

          my opinion is he is a paid employee and he does what the team wants so they should treat him as an employee and do whats best for the company. its not like they would fire him. if him hitting 8th helps the company then he should take it and shuttup because he is on payroll. if he doesnt like it, dont show up and forfeit your salary. or go retire.

    • David, Jr. says:

      Great post. Right on it. I would add that if he pouted, sat out, faked an injury, whatever, would the team be markedly worse off? I believe the answer is no they would not be, which is the reason for the discussion in the first place. If he was at a “hard” .288 with some power and a high OBP, nobody would be concerned about him now and for the future years of his contract.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      The only aspect I disagree with is that the questions die away. Eventually sure. But I think it could be an alltherestof2011 thing. Not saying we shouldn’t do as you suggest. I just don’t believe it’ll be particularly quick or easy.

  23. A Gritty Dude's Gritty Dude says:

    Bat this guy 8th and get it over with.

  24. Guest says:

    Here’s a link to the Gardner Fangraphs article mentioned earlier:

    Over the course of a year 1.5, Gardner has proven himself to be one of the games best two-way players, yet he loses starts to Andruw Jones and he hits ninth while a sub .700 OPS player hits lead-off. Why?

    I think its because everyone always thought of him as a fringy-Major Leaguer who might provide some speed of the bench and late defense. Essentially, for years, from when he was drafted, through the minors, through when he first came up, everyone thought of him as Greg Golson.

    Now that he has proven over a pretty extensive stretch that he is decidedly NOT Greg Golson, people are still a little behind the curve and have yet to re-assess their judgment.

    I hope the Yankees do soon, and quickly. Otherwise, they will end up under-utilitizing one of the most valuable players, dollar for dollar, in all of baseball.

    • Preston says:

      Well that’s what the article is about. That because he is great at things that we value less (walks, base-running and defense) while the he is less skilled at more traditionally valued skills BA and Slugging so we underestimate his overall value.

      • Guest says:

        Yeah, but I don’t think it’s just that we don’t really care about what he’s good at.

        Ellsbury was a hot-shot prospect that people valued highly based on speed and defense. Heck, so was Austin Jackson. It’s not the skillset, its the rep.

        I think people put Gardner in the “gutty gamer who can help out as a spare part” category and they just haven’t adjusted to the fact that in addition to being gritty, he is actually really good at baseball.

        • Ellsbury got more shine than Gardner did as a prospect largely because he was a first rounder and he had the Jim Rice HoF Publicity Machine working for him. I get why Ellsbury is consistently thought of better than Gardner, despite the obvious similarities. (He also got more PT and had more success initially than Gardner; that matters a lot. Gardner broke in in a timeshare with Melky and Damon, Ellsbury played every day and was thus able to steal 120 bases his first two seasons as a big leaguer.)

          As far as AJax v. Gardner, two interwoven theories:
          A.) AJax was the centerpiece of a notable trade; centerpieces always gain notoriety and therefore more natural public acclaim when they perform well initially (as AJax did).
          B.) Race is probably a factor, this time to Gardner’s detriment and AJax’s comparative benefit. Gardner’s skillset is one stereotypically thought of as “black”, i.e. great speed, defense, no power, protoypical leadoff hitter, etc. There’s more Kenny Loftons and Rickey Hendersons and Tim Raineses and Juan Pierres than Brett Butlers and Chuck Knoblauchs in our collective mental rolodexes.

          Thus, when judging the prospective futures of two fairly similar prospects like Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner, we as a social body unconsciously dock Gardner for not fitting our mental image of what that prototypical leadoff hitter is. Austin Jackson seems theoretically fine, but something seems “off” about Gardner, and it leads fans to (unknowingly) discount or doubt his future more than we would with AJax.

          • Preston says:

            I think the fact of the matter is that Jackson and Ellsbury are both better “hitters” than Gardner. The thing that people are still undervalueing is BB’s. I think people incorrectly assume that plate discipline is learned. Thus Jackson and Ellsbury who hit for average will learn plate discipline with age. On the flip side Gardner can’t really hit so eventually pitchers will realize it and stop walking him. Eyesight and discipline are physical attributes, just like any other skill you can improve in that area with work. But to a certain extent it is a genetic gift. It just isn’t as visible as some other genetic gifts (like the ones Jesus Montero has).

            • David, Jr. says:

              The problem with this is that none of it is true. Gardy’s WAR is closer to that of Albert Pujois than it is is to Jackson or Ellsbury. Believe me, we would never even think of trading him straight up for either of them.

    • bobby two knives says:

      i agree with mbonzo – here’s the best lineup for the yanks

      mbonzo says:
      June 22, 2011 at 1:25 am

      Just to clarify this would be my lineup against a RHSP starting pitcher.
      1. Gardner (LB)
      2. Jeter (RB)
      3. Tex (LB)
      4. Arod (RB)
      5. Cano (LB)
      6. Granderson (LB)
      7. Swisher (LB)
      8. Posada (LB)
      9. Martin (RB)

      • Rob says:

        What is the point of batting jeter 2nd? i think you have to bat him at the bottom of the order (at least against RHP) or you might as well just bat him leadoff if you aren’t going to do that. why break up the high obp guy and the power guys?

      • jon says:

        why would you bat the worst hitter on the team 2nd?

      • Owen Two says:

        Why would you want Tex up in the first inning with nobody on and 2 out?

  25. steve s says:

    Late to the thread but I think there’s been a strong anticipatory overreaction to how Jeter will handle being dropped in the batting order. Jeter has attained his iconic status by being more about winning and not personal achievements and staying out of controversy. Why will he risk all that by whining about where he hits in the lineup? I believe he’ll be a lot more savvy and accepting on this issue than people are giving him credit for.

    • CP says:

      When has Jeter really acted in a way that was “all about the team”?

      He plays hard and he’s been a great player for many years, but when has he put the team ahead of his own interests?

      • steve s says:

        When he dove into the stands against Red Sox face first risking injury was that for his own interests? When he played banged-up multiple times (hurting his own stats) was that for his own interests? How many times did you see Jeter give up an at bat and bunt to get a runner over? Being about “winning” is all this guy has ever been about by both his words and acts.

        • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

          Steve I think you’re underestimating Jeter’s ego and pride here. In addition to the things you cite, he wanted the Yanks to play a man down for a week+ so that he wouldn’t have to go on the DL. And that happened more recently than your points :)

          Not saying he hasn’t given it up for the team over the years. But let’s not pretend the guy is not a prima donna. A bland, boring one to be sure. But a prima Donna nonetheless.

          I don’t see ANY reason to suspect that Jeter’s reaction to batting 7-8-9 would be any less of a high profile hissy fit than was Posada’s when he was penciled in 9th.

          • steve s says:

            Fighting a trip to the DL is what I’d want every player to do; even if it were futile it’s what a team leader should do. Do you really think Jeter would EVER ask out of the line-up (a la Posada) no matter how much his ego or pride was hurt? If anything he’s earned being a prima donna but I think his overwhelming will to win is what drives his ego and pride and his actions need to be seen in that context as opposed to a context of me-first or personal record setting.

  26. Monteroisdinero says:

    Why doesn’t he travel with the team? Peedy-Gritty did.

    Surely he can get his workouts and Minka-massages accomplished in Chicago and Cincinnati etc.

  27. S says:

    Being great is the ability to not believe something is impossible no matter who or what says to the contrary.

    This is how great players are able to become what they are known for…sadly this is a double edged sword because once father time starts his assault, this mentality often leads to what we are seeing now.

    It is a short list (a short short list it probably like 10 guys) of great players who have stepped down before it was time. Its not due to selfishness or greed its just in these people’s minds they are seeing these struggles as normal slumps that can be overcome with hard work.

Leave a Reply

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

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