Whenever Derek Jeter talks, someone is around to record his musings. It’s as though his inner monologue makes it to the press everyday. From the weekend: Derek Jeter supports blood testing for MLB players and also wants to play in 2009’s World Baseball Classic. Check back tomorrow when Jeter wonders what he wants for dinner and if he’s in the mood for There Will Be Blood or some lighter movie fare.
- Joba must have that Thinner disease. Dude’s downright skinny.
- Jason Giambi definitely avoided the In-N-Out burgers this winter. Wait, didn’t he say that a few years back?
- Here are your top two position prospects.
- Andrew Brackman is one big dude.
- Brian Bruney lost a ton of weight. Hopefully he practiced throwing strikes with the empty cans of Slim Fast.
- The Fat Relievers™ aren’t so fat anymore; I’d say … husky.
- Check out Ross Ohlendorf. Tell me that kid doesn’t look like he was born to wear pinstripes.
Make sure you take a look at all the photos. Good stuff. Some of ’em remind me of yearbook picture day.
With Curt Schilling out indefinitely, the Red Sox needed to fill that over-the-hill, fat guy spot in their rotation. To that end, they have reportedly inked Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal. Colon, coming off a shoulder injury, was unimpressive in winter auditions and probably won’t make the Red Sox anyway. But we can still make fun of him.
Damon Oppenheimer is the man behind Brian Cashman’s plan to develop a solid core of young players who come up through the Yankees’ farm system. Oppenheimer and Daily News columnist John Harper sat down for a lengthy talk recently, and the resulting profile in today’s paper provides a solid glimpse into the mind behind the Yankees’ drafting plan. If you want to know how Joba and IPK started a movement that propelled the Yanks’ system to the upper echelons of Major League Baseball, check it out.
The Yanks locked up their last remaining free agent on Saturday. Bob Sheppard, who, despite earlier reports, will return to the booth this year, signed a two-year deal with the Yankees. This contract will career Sheppard through his age 99 season. According to Ken Davidoff, Sheppard, recovering from a severe case of pneumonia, will return to the Bronx sometime around the beginning of June.
Not that there was much doubt about this one, but Chien-Ming Wang will be the Yanks’ Opening Day starter, according to PeteAbe. Hopefully, no hamstring injuries will delay that one; the Yanks don’t have Carl Pavano around to pick up the slack this year.
As Cal Ripken neared the twilight years of his Big League career, he grew to recognize his defensive limitations. A career short stop, in 1996, during his age 35 season, he played a handful of games at third base before moving there permanently the next season. He moved over with the recognition that 23-year-olds are better equipped to handle the demands of short stop than 36-year-olds.
In the Bronx, the Yanks’ short stop will soon undergo similar growing pains. Derek Jeter has played 13 years at short, and during an injury-plagued 2007, it seemed that he had lost a bit from his already slow first step. The rumblings, as we’ve discussed over the last few days, for Jeter to move from short have grown louder over the last few seasons.
Derek, however, will have none of that talk quite yet. As Mark Feinsand from the Daily News reports, Derek wants to stick it out at short:
he plans on playing shortstop through the final three years of his current contract, and on remaining there for however many years he plays beyond 2010.
“That’s the plan,” Jeter said. “I haven’t really thought about how long I’m playing. I take it one year at a time; I don’t sit down and say, ‘Well, I hope I’m playing in two-thousand whatever.’ It’s a tough question, because I haven’t really thought about it much.”
Could Jeter, who has been named to eight American League All-Star teams in his 12 big-league seasons – four as the league’s starting shortstop – ever see himself playing another position?
“Right now?” Jeter said, “No.”
Now, Yankee fans will be up in arms over Jeter’s quotes. “He’s being selfish,” they’ll say. It’s not for the good of the team for him to stick it out at short.
But that’s just silly. No baseball player will ever admit to the media that they’re losing a step or two at their natural position. No one will say that age is catching up to them, that they’re slowing down and that, yeah, they probably shouldn’t be playing short stop. It just doesn’t happen.
Right now, the Yanks need Derek Jeter as short stop. While people can fantasize about A-Rod’s moving back to short, in reality, he hasn’t played there in 2003, and there’s no guarantee that he would still be a solid short stop.
When the time comes, I believe Derek will take a page from the Cal Ripken book and recognize when it’s time to move from the demands of short. It’s not going to happen yet, but it will.