Archive for Derek Jeter
In his first minor league rehab game with Triple-A Scranton, Derek Jeter went 2-for-3 with a double to left and an infield single on a ball hit up the middle. He also tried to lay down a sacrifice (!) before bunting the ball foul and eventually reaching on a fielder’s choice to first. The Cap’n fielded just two ground balls in his five innings at shortstop, making the play on one and booting the other for an error. I’m not exactly sure what the plan is going forward, but Jeter and his strained calf are expected to remain with the RailRiders for at least one more game on Friday.
The Yankees need all the wins they can get at this point. On Tuesday, they managed to grab two against the Blue Jays. Around the fifth or six inning of the second game in the doubleheader, Michael Kay sparked a discussion about who the Yankees missed most this season. The players to choose from were Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, or Kevin Youkilis. Now upon hearing this question, the answer seemed fairly obvious to me – that is to say, Derek Jeter. Of course, that didn’t stop Michael Kay from picking a different (and rather unexpected) option, Mark Teixeira, and sparking a conversation between me and several others on Twitter. So here we are; let’s dissect.
Jeter has been the Captain of this team for quite some time, and for a reason. He’s been a historically great player, and even in his sunset years still remains a legitimate upgrade over the other options accessible to the Yankees at this time. To put this in perspective, last season, Derek batted .316/.362/.429 (.347 wOBA, 117 wRC+) over 159 games. As a bonus, he provided the team with 15 homeruns and a 3.1 fWAR season. The Captain is known for putting the ball in play and has a reputation for timely hitting (though that concept is a discussion for another day). The fielding metrics are generally unkind to Jeter, and depending on which metric you prefer, they can be downright ugly. That’s not a surprise though. I think everyone views Jeter as a “bat first” type of shortstop. For what it’s worth, ZiPS had Jeter producing a .703 OPS (.311 wOBA, 1.7 fWAR) over 120 games played this season. Obviously, it’s a moot point now.
In any event, compare Jeter’s numbers from last season (if you’re feeling optimistic) or the ZiPS projection for this season (if you’re feeling more bearish) to the alternatives, Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix. Both Nunez and Nix have their moments (Nix as recently as Tuesday), but one would be hard pressed to make the case that either player should be a full time starter, let alone a sufficient replacement to Derek Jeter. Neither player is even in shouting distance of Jeter if he replicates his 2012 numbers. Nunez has the slight edge over Nix (+12 in wRC+), but is still about 45 points lower than what Jeter was last year. Jeter would still have to fall approximately 25 points in wOBA, if his 2013 ZiPS projection ended up being accurate, to match Nunez’s current contributions. Even in Jeter’s 2010 campaign, which was a terrible year by his standards, Nunez still falls short by about 20 points of wRC+. Now to be fair, one stat is not the end all of player analysis (nor should it be), but I think some of these metrics offer a convenient snap shot of the offensive gap between a fill-in shortstop against what we, as fans, have been used to seeing on a daily basis for the last decade or so.
So if the currently-injured Nix and Nunez can’t hit like Jeter, perhaps they make up the difference in runs defensively. Well, that’s the theory anyway. Unfortunately for Nunez, defensive metrics tend to rate him basically as gruesomely as they do the Captain. Nix on the other hand, is a bit more positive in this regard. Are the runs prevented by Nix enough to offset the difference in runs created by Jeter though? Not really.
If you don’t want to vote for Jeter, I see the logic in voting for Kevin Youkilis, at least from a more macro level. We’re all aware of how dismal the Yankees third baseman have been this season (and for a brief period, Youkilis contributed to those shortcomings). Despite A-Rod’s contributions over the past couple weeks, the team still ranks in the bottom six of all Major League Baseball (-0.5 fWAR collectively) in terms of production from this position. The group of fill-ins for A-Rod have shown very little patience at the plate (6.1 BB%) and have struck out often (24.9 K%). The Yankee third basemen have produced 8 (!) home runs all year. We’re talking .259 wOBA, 56 wRC+ bad.
Hypothetically, if we pretend Youkilis wasn’t injured all year (which in itself involves a stretch of the imagination) and performed similarly to last year (which I’m also dubious about given how fried he looked when he was playing early on this season), that would still represent a definitive upgrade over what the team has had. Over 509 plate appearances in 2012, Youk smashed 19 long balls, walked 10% of the time and struck out 21.2% of the time. More importantly though, his offensive contributions were basically league average overall (103 wRC+) despite his noticeable splits. League average isn’t necessarily a desirable or complimentary trait, but it sure as hell wins out over the abysmal production the Yankees have experienced — especially considering it was a last minute desperation move in the offseason.
This same logic applies to Alex Rodriguez as well, now that he has returned. Drama aside, he’s basically an average third baseman at this point (though he does account for 25% of the team’s home runs this season among third basemen after only 12 games played). No one expected a return of Alex’s MVP days, but even a replacement level third baseman marks a huge upgrade in terms of production over the course of a season compared to what the team has had. If the Yankees had had Jeter or A-Rod all year, the offensive boost would be fairly substantial considering they were going from basically nothing at all to something that is closer to resembling acceptable big league production. We’ve witnessed over the past few days how the lineup has basically felt completely different; it’s transformed into something much more formidable. It’s much deeper now than it has been all season and the results speak for themselves — a two run deficit is no longer instant loss.
Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I do believe Tex is a superior player to both Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds — both offensively and defensively — despite the fact that his stats have been on the decline for the past few seasons. That said, Overbay has been an adequate fill-in this season, generally speaking. Over 409 plate appearances, Overbay has hit 13 home runs and batted .254/.304/.421 (.317 wOBA, 96 wRC+ — good for a 0.5 fWAR). He’s had some timely hits and appears competent with the glove. With Reynolds complementing the first base platoon now, the offensive production from this spot in the lineup is that much more complete.
The 2012 season was probably Tex’s worst year professionally since his debut year with the Rangers, and most certainly was his worst season with the Yankees since he joined the team in 2009. Even still, he managed to hit 24 dingers, walked 10.3% of the time (patience that would be highly desirable in this year’s lineup) and produced a .345 wOBA (116 wRC+). Additionally, his glove is somewhere in the average to very good range depending on which metrics you trust. He’s better than what the Yankees have deployed these past several months undoubtedly. But the gap in total production just isn’t as severe. Going forward, perhaps it could become as severe as the gap between the shortstop and third base replacements compared with the respective starters if Overbay and Reynolds both slide in performance, but right now that seems to be the least of the priorities. Perhaps one underrated point for Teixeira is that he (sort of) theoretically eliminates the need for another platoon combination on the roster which enables other possibilities.
In any event, I think rather than asking, “Which player does the team miss the most?,” perhaps the question should be, “Which supstitute replacement player(s) marks the biggest drop off?” What do you think?
Which player have the Yankees missed the most this season?
Which player have the Yankees missed the most this season?
Derek Jeter will play five innings at shortstop for Triple-A Scranton tomorrow night, Joe Girardi confirmed. Donnie Collins hears the Cap’n may remain with the RailRiders on Friday as well. Jeter has been playing in simulated games in Tampa as he works his way back from a calf strain. Given how quickly he hurt himself the last two times he came off the DL, the Yankees will probably take it a little more slowly with Jeter this time around.
This has been nothing short of a nightmare season for Derek Jeter. After a brilliant 2012 campaign in which he led all of baseball with 740 plate appearances and 216 hits, the Cap’n has been limited to just five of the team’s first 125 games due to a string of leg injuries this year. First it was the broken ankle, next it was the strained quad, then it was the strained calf. One injury after another.
Jeter, who turned 39 two months ago, has been on the DL for 18 days with the calf problem now. After several days of taking batting practice and fielding ground balls down at the club’s complex in Tampa, he graduated to a simulated game on Monday and running the bases on Tuesday. Running sprints in the outfield is one thing, but running the bases — having to cut and change direction — is another. Running the bases is usually the final rehab step before a return to game action.
“There’s a plan in place. I’m not gonna reveal the plan until we get there … The fact that he’s running the bases is a positive sign for me,” said Joe Girardi to Dan Martin earlier this week while discussing Jeter’s progress and a possible return date. As for rejoining the club in Tampa for their upcoming weekend series against the Rays, Girardi offered a simple “I’m not sure.”
It goes without saying the shortstop position has been a black hole for the Yankees this season. Eduardo Nunez, who the team so desperately wants to show he’s a capable everyday player, has hit a meager .244/.301/.377 (71 wRC+) with shaky defense and plenty of injury problems of his own. Other fill-ins like Reid Brignac and Luis Cruz were sub-replacement level. WAR isn’t the holy grail of player valuations, but I don’t think too many people will argue with the AL-worst -0.9 fWAR the Yankees have gotten from the position this year. If anything, they might be getting off easy. The team’s shortstops have been awful.
Jeter, on the other hand, isn’t awful. At least I don’t think he is. He might be awful for a few weeks after coming off the DL, it happens, but that would be more of a surprise than anything. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Jeter to repeat last year’s .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) performance, not after missing all this time (rust!), but I think it’s completely reasonable to expect something better than the .221/.279/.293 (54 wRC+) line the Yankees have gotten from his replacements. That doesn’t mean they’ll actually get it, the Cap’n could always stink for no apparent reason, but I would expect it.
On the field, Jeter will be a huge upgrade over the team’s current shortstops. That’s not really much of a question at this point. And you know what else? Something about the Yankees just feels different when Jeter isn’t around. It’s hard to explain and yet I know you know exactly what I mean. The team give off a different vibe when he’s in the lineup — the offense feels more capable and I have a greater sense of confidence in the lineup overall. What know I mean? Does that feeling resonate with the players and have a tangible on-field impact? I have no idea. I just know the Yankees with Jeter are better than the Yankees without Jeter.
Thanks to yesterday’s doubleheader sweep over the Blue Jays, New York has won four straight games and eight of their last ten. They’ve shaved two games off their deficit in the second wildcard race during that time, passing the Royals in the process. Now there are only three teams ahead of them. That’s still a daunting task, no doubt about it, but things are heading the right direction. Getting Jeter back — hopefully this weekend or shortly thereafter — and adding him to a lineup made deeper by the recent Alfonso Soriano trade and activations of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson will be the final realistic upgrade the Yankees could make this year. Their postseason odds are small, but the Cap’n could be the final piece of the puzzle that helps them make a strong push down the stretch.
Via Ken Powtak: Derek Jeter is continuing to take batting practice and field ground balls down in Tampa, but he and his Grade I strained calf have yet to run the bases. “We’ll go day-by-day … He has not necessarily played in a simulated game or anything of that nature, so we’ll just have to see. For me it’s as soon as we can get him,” said Joe Girardi to Chad Jennings.
Jeter, 39, is eligible to come off the DL today, but obviously that won’t happen. He’s played in just five games this year (4-for-19, .211) thanks to a string of leg injuries. I have to think Jeter is still several days away from returning to the team if he has yet to even run the bases, so returning in time for Tuesday’s series opener — openers, really, they have a doubleheader — against the Blue Jays is unlikely. Rosters expand two weeks from today; I wonder if the Cap’n will be held out that long just to make sure he’s 100% healthy after getting hurt immediately after returning from the DL on two occasions this summer.
- Derek Jeter (calf) played catch over the weekend and will hit off a tee and soft toss today. The Cap’n is still a few days away from running, however. Joe Girardi said he expects Jeter to go down to Tampa to continue his rehab when the Yankees start their quick little three-game road trip on Friday.
- Kevin Youkilis (back) has “been rehabbing away, nothing fun, no baseball things yet.” He is roughly eight weeks out from surgery and was originally expected to start taking dry swings after 8-10 weeks. Youkilis remains unlikely to return this year.
- Travis Hafner (shoulder) is not yet ready to start baseball activities, according to Girardi. “He feels better,” said the skipper while also making it sound like the team’s rehab DH is unlikely to return this season.
- Vidal Nuno (groin) started a throwing program according to his Twitter feed. Brian Cashman recently said they don’t expect him back this year, but I wonder if he’ll progress enough to come back as a short reliever when rosters expand in September.
- Ty Hensley (hip) also started a throwing program according to his Twitter feed. He’s coming off hip surgery and is expected to miss the entire season. Obviously the Yankees will be very conservative with last year’s first round pick. Hensley is unlikely to see a real game until next season.
The Yankees made a series of roster moves this afternoon, so let’s recap:
- Derek Jeter has been placed on the 15-day DL with his Grade I calf strain. That makes three DL stints this year, or two fewer than the number of games he’s played. The Cap’n correctly said “whole season has been a nightmare” yesterday.
- Alex Rodriguez has been activated off the 60-day DL. Pretty amazing that he received the longest non-lifetime ban in MLB history this afternoon yet will make his season debut tonight. But I was told he would never play again.
- Brent Lillibridge has been designated for assignment to clear both a 25-man and 40-man roster spot for A-Rod. He somehow played eleven games and got 37 plate appearances (1 wRC+) in pinstripes. And yes, that’s a 1 wRC+.
- David Adams has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to help out the bench. He essentially replaces Jeter on the roster. Adams has yet to arrive and meet the team in Chicago, but I’m sure that will happen soon enough.
An MRI revealed a Grade I strain in Derek Jeter‘s right calf last night, Joe Girardi announced. “I’m not so sure what we’re going to do,” said the skipper when asked if the Cap’n would need to be placed on the DL. He indicated they may simply let Jeter play through it because it’s getting late in the season and each game is so important. Hard to see that ending well if that is indeed what happens.
Joe Girardi confirmed Derek Jeter will not play today or tomorrow due to lingering soreness in his quad as well as a calf issue that has bothered him recently. They expect to have him back on Monday for the series opener in Chicago and hope he will avoid the DL. You can’t do anything but laugh at this point. What a mess.
Five whole questions for you today. Use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week, mailbag questions or otherwise.
Nathan: Looking at their stats since the trade, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano aren’t too far apart. In retrospect, would you still have made that trade? A-Rod has the better stats but has been the bigger headache.
First, the side-by-side comparison (2004-present):
A-Rod was the far better player because he was a better hitter and a better defender at a tougher position. Does the headache, which really only became truly insufferable these last few weeks (at least to me), outweigh the production? I definitely don’t think so. The Rodriguez-Soriano trade worked out marvelously for the Yankees. It’s the new ten-year contract they gave Alex after 2007 that has been mostly a nightmare. The 2009 World Series does still counts for something.
Bruce asks: Why is Michael Pineda still only throwing four innings a start?
The Yankees say it’s “innings management,” and it makes sense they would try to limit his workload following shoulder surgery. He did throw six full innings in his third minor league rehab game (with Double-A Trenton), but since reaching Triple-A Scranton he has yet to throw more than five innings and 86 pitches. The last two starts have been limited to three innings (41 pitches) and four innings (58 pitches).
Pineda has thrown 39 innings in nine official minor league games this year. That doesn’t count all the simulated and Extended Spring Training games though, and there were a ton of those as you probably remember. I’m guessing they want to limit him to about 100 innings or so (hooray round numbers!) this season, and want to make sure there are some left for the big league team in September. Pineda’s has already been down long enough to delay his free agency a year, so that’s not a concern. I prefer flat out skipping starts to short starts to control innings, but the Yankees obviously feel differently. I’m sure Pineda will be allowed to start pitching deeper into the game in the coming weeks.
Sal asks: Based on the way Derek Jeter‘s Yankee Lifelong Legend Legacy is going, and with all kinds of earning potential out there for him even after he retires (corporate sponsorships and maybe even buying a stake in the Yankees), do you think he can end up with more lifetime earnings from the game of baseball than, uh, you know where I’m going with this … Alex?
According to Baseball-Reference, A-Rod is baseball’s all-time career earnings leader at $353.4M. Jeter is second at … $253.2M. That’s a nine-figure gap between first and second place. Geez. Keep in mind that Alex still has four years and $86M left on his contract after this season while the Cap’n just has a $9M player option for 2014. Given what feels like an inevitable Biogenesis-related suspension, A-Rod probably won’t see all of that $86M. He’ll probably still get a nice chunk of it though, so the career earnings gap will only widen.
I am completely out of my element when it comes to sponsorships and ownership stakes; I have no idea how lucrative that stuff can be outside of “very.” Forbes has Jeter at $9M in endorsements (Nike, Ford, Gillette, etc.) this year and A-Rod at just $0.5M. We’ve seen him in ads for Nike and Pepsi, among other stuff, in the past. I have to think Alex’s endorsements well will dry up following the Biogenesis stuff, but will that be enough to allow Jeter to pass him in career earnings over the time? It’s possible, especially if he does wind up purchasing a stake in the team, but he’s got a ton of ground to make up.
Mike asks: Does the Yankees being in 4th place make the waiver market at least slightly more favorite than in years past? Seems like there has been times where another team behind them was able to block a player from getting to them, now will they have easier access to players they want and can they now block players from getting to Boston, Tampa, or Baltimore?
Sure, being this low in the standings will definitely help the Yankees on the waiver trade market. Of course, I wish the team was higher in the standings and didn’t need the players, but that’s not the case. The Yankees have waiver priority over all of their wildcard competitors (Orioles, Indians, Rangers, Royals), meaning they’ll get first crack at whoever is on waivers. That means they can both block players and trade for them, if they want. It’s a nice consolation prize and could be helpful at some point.
Shaun asks: It may be to early to speculate, but do you see ownership’s trend of going above Brian Cashman being a problem with Cashman’s next contract? I know autonomy was a big deal to him during previous negotiations. If anything, ownership is making it more difficult to get under the $189 threshold.
Eh, I doubt it. Cashman knows how the Steinbrenner’s operate, and I believe even he said there is no such thing as true autonomy at the GM level. Besides, he signed his most recent contract after the Rafael Soriano signing. Hal is much less meddlesome than his father, though I suppose Cashman could be sick of it after 15 (!) years on the job. Ownership has gone over his head quite a bit these last few years, but it would surprise me if that was a big problem for him going forward.
That said, I do think this is Cashman’s last contract as Yankees GM. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before. His current deal expires after next season, at which point I think he will be promoted to some other position. The “President of Baseball Ops” position the Cubs made up for Theo Epstein sounds nice. The Nationals just promoted GM Mike Rizzo to that just yesterday, so it’s already a trend. Cashman will have been the GM for 16 years when his deal is up, and a promotion is the natural order of things at that point. It appears as though former pro scouting director and current assistant GM Billy Eppler is being groomed to take over sometime soon, or at least he’s the only obvious in-house successor. I would be surprised if the Yankees brought in a new GM from the outside and threw them to the wolves. Experience and familiarity with the New York market would be a prerequisite.