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Derek Jeter's defensive improvement is bad news for the Yankees? Really?

Feb 10, 2010, 8:28 AM EST

I wrote yesterday that tons of ink will be spilled over Derek Jeter’s extension despite the fact that it’s probably going to all go down rather quickly and painlessly after the season is over.  As if on cue, Joel Sherman of the Post chimes in, showing just how hard the tabloids are going to work in order to turn this into some big controversial issue.  After relating the story of how Jeter has worked hard over the past couple of years to improve his defense, Sherman says:

. . . the good news for the Yanks is that Jeter is a competent shortstop again; the bad news is he is a competent shortstop again . . . He is in the same training regimen for the third straight offseason
and if 2010 resembles 2009, the Yanks will be very pleased, well, until
negotiations begin.

This would have been a different
negotiation if Jeter was holding on as a left fielder or DH, being kept
around mostly for emeritus reasons. Now the Yanks almost certainly will
have to treat Jeter as the current and future shortstop of the team,
and not the kind of defensive liability that enabled them to play
hardball in pushing Williams and Damon off the roster.

Call me crazy, but despite what Sherman says I can’t help but think that the Yankees would much prefer to enter into negotiations with Derek Jeter: competent shortstop as opposed to Derek Jeter: DH. I mean, sure, the latter may have given them a modicum of additional leverage, but it also would have meant that they would be about to pay a way less useful player $60 million+. Unless of course you think the Yankees would push Jeter out the way they did Bernie and Damon.  Which is never, ever going to happen.

The only way Jeter’s contract extension is going to get complicated is if he puts up a truly wretched season at the plate. I’m talking, like, .269/.331/.380 + a ton of high profile errors or something, with no corresponding injury to use as an excuse. Yes, I suppose it could happen, but it’s not damn likely.  

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 10, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    Unless of course you think the Yankees would push Jeter out the way they did Bernie and Damon. Which is never, ever going to happen.

    The Yanks didn’t push out either player. Williams had six straight seasons of 138OPS+ then fell off a cliff (coinciding with shoulder and knee problems). What should they do, give a guy $10M/year after four years of average production (OPS+ 107/108/85/98), just because he’s bernie williams?
    Damon is a different story, but same result. Should the yanks overpay to keep someone around who’s production going forward most likely won’t match the AAV of his contract?

  2. MarkH - Feb 10, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    “the bad news is that he toppings contain potassium benzoate”
    Best tag ever.
    I love these little factoids from its Wiki article: “Potassium benzoate is also used as the whistle in many fireworks.” “One very common way to make potassium benzoate is by oxidizing toluene.”
    No wonder my food stays fresh!

  3. ditmars1929 - Feb 10, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Typical Sherman. If he doesn’t have anything real to write about, he goes into drama queen mode and manufactors a story. Up here in NYC, he’s generally regarded as an idiot. Although, he’s not even close to being our worst local sports writer. That would be Lupica, and when I refer to him as “local sports writer”, I use that term very loosely.
    Go into a bar and ask any Yankee fan if they have any worries or stress regarding an extension for Jeter, and you will either receive a funny look in response (like, what’s the matter with you?) or you will get laughed at.

  4. Jonny5 - Feb 10, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    That’s the most retarded article I think I’ve ever read. Jeter is far from a DH ,how many DH’s are out there who basically just get on base? A DH is usually the guy who drives in runs, not the guy with the best OBP on the team. they usually follow behind a guy like Jeter. And the Yankees love Jeter to do very well. Does anyone think they secretly wish he’d have a bad season just to shave a few million off salary??? that’s laughable. Does this Sherman character know how much money the Yankees make off Jeter in retail sales alone??? This guy is the Yankees you moron!! Craig thank you for pointing out the stupidity of some “reporters”. I used the quotes because this isn’t reporting, this is making up stupid horseshit to attempt to sell papers.

  5. Homer Simpson - Feb 10, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    …mmmmmm, potassium benzoate and toluene! mmmmm…

  6. BHM - Feb 10, 2010 at 9:30 AM


    That’s bad.

  7. Ben Robertson - Feb 10, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    but he comes with a free Minka Kelly.
    That’s GOOD!

  8. Mike Garner - Feb 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    I used to enjoy reading Joel’s articles. Now they just make my eyes bleed.

  9. ditmars1929 - Feb 10, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Agreed, Mike. He used to be so much better (and accurate, for that matter). I’m starting to worry about Vaccaro too. He’s really starting to fall off the rails lately.

  10. Jack - Feb 10, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Jeter is the most over rated SS of his time. He should be a DH because he is a defensive liability. His errors were down this year because of two reasons. The first being that he limits his errors because he has limited range and can get to balls and the second is because of Texeira bailing him out by catching his bad throws.
    He wins a GG because his name is DJ and he plays in NY not because he was the best at his position.

  11. YANKEES1996 - Feb 10, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    I really don’t see Jeters’ new contract being a big deal, the media however will do their best to turn it into storm. Comparing Jeter to Williams and Damon really does not work either, Bernie had injury problems and his offensive skills crashed hard which made Cashmans’ decision easy even if it was unpopular. Damon has gotten bad advice and has proven to not be smart enough to reach out to the Yankees on his own, so that is his problem.
    Derek is still a top notch SS and his production has never been in question, the Yankees will do the right thing here and Jeter will retire after this next contract and have the largest monument in monument park because he will reach the 4000 hit plateau.

  12. Ryan - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I used to enjoy reading all sorts of writers; then I came here. Now I just enjoy the gang making fun of all the writers. That’s right CTB writers, you are the gang. Congratuf-inlations.

  13. BaseballFan2 - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Sherman doesn’t know anything – he’s just trying to fill the vacuum. If you want to know what the Yankees are thinking, see Steinbrenner’s comments from a few days ago about Jeter’s upcoming negotiation. Jeter is not Bernie Williams and not Johnny Damon (please!) – he’s only the most important player in the last 25 years of this franchise. The fact that he only gets better with age is not surprising to anyone who has watched him over his entire career. The Yankees (and their fans) will be thrilled to sign him to a new deal so he can finish his career where he belongs.

  14. YANKEES1996 - Feb 10, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Jack, Excuse me for saying so but you are off your rocker! Jeters’ career fielding percentage is .972 that is damn respectable. He is probably one of the best shortstops to play the game. In the last couple of offseasons he has changed his workouts and his range has returned. Tex was a huge addition to our infield and has allowed the Cap’n and A-Rod and Robbie to record more outs because of his excellent fielding. But if you honestly believe that Jeter is not one of the best to ever play the position then you are a baseball know nothing!

  15. BaseballFan2 - Feb 10, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    I couldn’t agree with you more, ’96. Jack, consider that as much as Tex helps Jeter and the other infielders, Giambi hurt them in the past – for several years at that. And yet his career percentage is actually .976 during his career compared to the league average at his position, which is .972 during the same time frame. I’d say he’s pretty good.

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