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Should Derek Jeter think about retiring?

May 10, 2013, 8:25 PM EDT

New York Yankees infielder Jeter walks to the dugout after stretching during a workout at the team's MLB spring training complex at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Reuters

No, Derek Jeter should not think about retiring. Just so we’re clear on that.

Jason Keidel, though, argues that the Yankee shortstop is at the end of the line:

Father Time is finally throwing Jeter some serious chin music, snapping his ankle in October, and then taunting him back to practice before chipping it again. But Jeter is the Bernard Hopkins of baseball, swinging until he’s literally carted off. The Yankees surely hope he makes that decision before they have to.

Jeter turns 39 at the end of June, but 2012 was his best offensive showing since 2009. Let’s start with a couple traditional stats: he hit 15 home runs (most since 18 in ’09) and scored 99 runs (most since 111 in ’10). Going by Sabermetric stats, his .347 wOBA was his best since .385 in ’09 and his 3.1 FanGraphs WAR was the most since 6.8 in ’09.

Keidel challenges readers to find “one shortstop in the modern era who produced at 39.” It is kind of a loaded challenge, but let’s play nevertheless. According to Baseball Reference, there have been ten player-seasons since 1901 where a shortstop posted 2.0 (average) WAR or better at the age of 39 or older: four of them belong to Honus Wagner (1913-16), three to Luke Appling (1946-47, ’49), and one each to Luis Aparicio (1973), Ozzie Smith (1994), and Omar Vizquel (2.9). So, yeah, kind of rare.

But if you lower the age threshold to 38, an interesting name appears on the list: Derek Jeter. Had the injury occurred last year, I have a feeling Keidel would have asked the very same question, only about 38-year-old shortstops. Clearly, Jeter is not the dominant player of the early and mid-2000’s, but is still as good as or better than many of his contemporaries to whom he has seniority by as many as 15 years. Jeter is one of the last players I’d think about writing off.

  1. dondada10 - May 10, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Gotta figure his days at short are numbered, however.

    • pipkin42 - May 10, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      Then again, people have been saying that for 5 or even 10 years now.

    • flamethrower101 - May 10, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      I disagree, if for no other reason than…well, they have nowhere to put him. They still have Tex at first for 3 more years after 2013, A-Rod is gonna be here to stay until 2017 whether we like it or not, and putting him at 2nd would probably tell the fans “Cano’s not coming back.” They could try the outfield but I’m not confident that would work. Heck, I’d put Mo in there before Jeter.

      Basically he’s stuck at SS unless – heaven forbid – he declines 2014 option and signs with another team. But I’d drive my car into a lake before that ever happened.

      • dondada10 - May 10, 2013 at 9:17 PM


  2. djpostl - May 10, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    You hit the nail on the head. When you compare him to the other options or even the other SS’s in the league the gloom & doom people try to spew just seems downright laughable.

  3. duckthefodgers - May 10, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Wonder what the record is for oldest left side of infield is, Jeter and Arod got to be close.

    • pipkin42 - May 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      The 2001 Orioles had Cal Ripken (40) and Mike Bordick (35). That’s the first one that comes to mind.

      Also, holey moley the 2001 Orioles were terrible. Jason Johnson, with a 4.09 ERA in 196 innings, was their best pitcher. Jeff Conine, with a 123 OPS+ was their ONLY decent position player. He led the team in WAR, with 2.9

      The other starters were Jose Mercedes, Josh Towers, Sidney Ponson, and Calvin Maduro.

      Buddy freakin’ Groom was the closer.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 10, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    I was thinking about a Granderson (plus) for Andrus trade as something that would address needs for both teams. Should that (or something similar) happen, and should Jeter exercise his player option for 2014 both SS would need to be a bit flexible. But more DH days for Jeter can’t be a bad thing, and depending on what happens with Cano the Yankees might need another middle infielder for 2014 anyway.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Jeter, but nothing lasts forever. It wouldn’t harm the Yankees to start hedging their bets.

    • pipkin42 - May 10, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      Granderson is a 31-year-old good-but-not-great CFer with one year of team control. Andrus is a 24-year-old defensive whiz who is about to hit his batting peak (most likely). It’d have to be a LOT more.

      • paperlions - May 10, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        Yep, Granderson’s value isn’t really even on the same scale as Andrus….he’s be a throw in.

      • Kevin S. - May 10, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        If the (plus) is Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez, Texas might talk. Maybe.

      • duckthefodgers - May 10, 2013 at 11:35 PM

        I dont know, call me crazy but Id take the guy who can smack 40 homeruns.

      • duckthefodgers - May 10, 2013 at 11:54 PM

        One mans peak is another mans hill.

      • nbjays - May 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        “I dont know, call me crazy but Id take the guy who can smack 40 homeruns batting left-handed for half his games in Yankee stadium”

        Fixed that for you, duck.

      • Kevin S. - May 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        Last two seasons he’s hit 20 and 17 HR on the road – it’s not like the power is just a product of Yankee Stadium. The reason he’s nothing more than a throw-in on an Andrus deal is Texas only gets a couple months of him, and can’t even get a comp pick if he walks.

    • eightyraw - May 11, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      Someone is actually dumb enough to think it fair to trade Andrus, an excellent defender with league average offense playing a premium position who is under team control for at least 5+ yrs (his peak years) at a cost of approx. $70.5mm, in exchange for just a few months of Granderson, a 32yo CF at the cost of (pro-rated) $13mm? Even though Granderson is projected to produce less value than than his price tag in 2013? And ignoring the fact that the Rangers already have a centerfielder who is projected to out-produce Granderson? All because Granderson hit over 40HR once moving to new Yankee Stadium? You aren’t just crazy, duckthefodgers, but you are lacking any basic understanding of player value. Granderson has negative trade value to the Rangers.

      • genericcommenter - May 11, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Granderson didn’t hit 40 HR in Yankee stadium. He hit half at home and half on the road. Isn’t that a normal split? In Detroit he hit 20 in half his games, too.

      • eightyraw - May 11, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        I didn’t say he hit 40HR in Yankee Stadium. Rather, he achieved that milestone only after moving to the home park that ideally suits his swing (dead-pull to RF). This does not change the fact that Granderson has minimal trade value since he would simply be a rental. Andrus just signed a new deal with the Rangers that keeps him thru 2018 (possibly longer). Why would the Rangers trade 5+ years of player control at a fair price for a few months of a lesser player that doesn’t even improve the team?

        I don’t understand why Yankees fans would even think about trading Granderson anyway. Yankees would only look to sell him if they were out of the playoff picture by the trade deadline. And even then the suitors will be few and the return will be rather minimal. Maybe if the Dodgers are in the playoff hunt and lose Ethier or Kemp to injury or if the Royals finally decide to cut ties with Frenchy in RF …

    • genericcommenter - May 11, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      There’s no way to reply down that low, but as far as Granderson’s home/road split, he had hardly any split in 2011 – 21 HRs at home and 20 on the road. In 2012, he had more of a split- ONLY 17 HRs away. His power is hardly a function of Yankees Stadium.

      In 2009 with Detroit he hit 20 HRs away. So Maybe Detroit’s home field was holding him back, but he’s a consistent 17-20 HR on the road guy. His power plays everywhere.

      As far as the larger point- NO, Grandy Man isn’t anywhere near as valuable in a trade as Andrus. He is what he is, BUT he IS what he is.

      • eightyraw - May 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        In both 2011 and 2012, Granderson hit four home runs in Yankee Stadium that would not have been home runs in all 29 other parks according to Hittrackeronline. He has power, but Yankee Stadium is a fantastic fit for his swing.

  5. bigharold - May 10, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Unless Jeter’s ankle is an absolute mess he’ll be back next season. It’s his option to exercise. So, he’ll have about a season and a half to see what he’s got left. Whether he plays 2015 and beyond will be determined really next season. If he can still play he’ll be back 2015 too.

    As for replacing Jeter, if the right guy comes along I could see the Yankees trading Granderson but I can’t see Andrus working out. The Rangers will want much more than just Granderson for the reasons stated. Also, slotting him into the DH spot isn’t that easy. A-Rod is going to see a lot of DH days over the remainder of his contract.

    Yeah time catches up with everybody but I think Jeter still has some gas in the tank. And, if he doesn’t not only will Jeter realize it, he won’t hesitate to pull the plug.

  6. cackalackyank - May 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    I seem to be in the minority here, but I am betting that Derek Jeter has already thought about retiring. I think he is smart enough to know when to quit, especially since he really doesn’t have anything to prove. He has his 5 rings, he has his 3000+ hits. Cobb and Rose are not realistically reachable.He will never win an MVP because he does not hit enough home runs. He would be worth more than the 8 million on the table. I really do not think he would sign with another team even though he ABSOLUTELY would get offers. So I think that is pretty much an answer right there. I am sure he does not want the Bernie Williams or Jorge Posada treatment.

    • genericcommenter - May 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      As far as the Posada or Williams treatment goes, he wouldn’t have to worry about that until 2015 at the earliest. He has at least $8 million on the table for next year.

      Plus Posada and Williams were marginal players when they involuntarily retired. Williams had already been made a reserve OF but got more playing time than he was supposed to because of injuries. He had not been a quality starter for a few years. He was 38 and below replacement-level the previous 2 seasons. He wasn’t worth a roster spot to any team. Posada was a 40 year-old DH who didn’t hit much the previous 2 seasons. He only caught 1 game his last season. Compared to other DH-only players, there were several late 30s guys who didn’t get offers and put up similar numbers. There aren’t any back-up DH spots and very few PH spots in MLB.

      Jeter is a guy still putting up starter’s numbers at his position. Posada/Williams were on 4-5 year declines. And even though he isn’t a great fielder, his position does help. You can find below-avg hitting DHs and 4th OFers everywhere. Most SS options can’t hit or field, let alone do both.

      If Jeter is a below-replacement level player in 2014, I can’t see him trying to hang on like Williams.

  7. pisano - May 10, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    I don’t know about Jeter retiring, but I honestly think Arod should give it some serious thought.

    • duckthefodgers - May 10, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      I agree, cant be having a minotaur trying to take Bonds crown.

      • cackalackyank - May 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Is it Minotaur or Centaur?

  8. aceshigh11 - May 11, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    It’s preposterous to even talk about it at this stage. He’s one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

    Let his ankle heal up, let him come back, see how he performs, and THEN ponder the question.

    My guess is he’ll be more or less the same ol’ Jeter for another 2 seasons or so before age REALLY catches up with him.

  9. humanexcrement - May 11, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    The whole argument comes down to one inescapable fact: The Yankees don’t have anyone else who is capable of being a better shortstop than Jeter right now, and there isn’t likely to be anyone better available as a free agent anytime soon. If they had a young Troy Tulowitzki logjammed at AAA, we could have this conversation. But they don’t. They have nothing but a cast of glorified utility players among their bench and AAA infielders.

  10. badintent - May 11, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Take your time coming back Jeter. Overbay hits another homer again, 4 for 4, and yes your ex-Toronto Blue Jays are studs. Thanks Andres ! For all the haters,gloom and doomers, usual suspects(those that never played Little League), Suck on That.Yankee Nation takes rejects and sprinkles magic dust and Kasham ! Gotta be the Pinstrips. We get back 125 homers in the lineup in 1-2 months, then lights out on the East !!

  11. nepa151 - May 11, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Jeter is done – MLB started testing for HGH this year. I am convinced that Jeter was doing HGH to maintain his level of play into his late 30’s. I suspect that he wasn’t looking to get better from HGH, he just wanted to stay where he was and continue to produce numbers far past the time most shortstops are on the way out. I know that Jeter is considered somewhat of a Saint in NY and around baseball. Don’t get me wrong, they guy has done most everything right on and off the field. It is just very curious how now that MLB is testing for HGH, Jeter isn’t coming back like he did from past injuries. Something to consider . . . .

    • genericcommenter - May 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      He’s 38 and hasn’t had to deal with injuries like this before. It’s normal. Hell, I’m 33 and it takes me 10x as long to recover from eating a pizza as it did when I was 23.

      • jimeejohnson - May 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        When you’re 43 you might have to give it up completely!

  12. bigtrav425 - May 11, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    Your wrong….he should think about one outside of New York or Yankee fans want to see a old overrated SS

  13. buffalomafia - May 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    He should play one more year!

    First ballot HOF hands down!

  14. jimeejohnson - May 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    duckthefodgers: fodgers ducking themselves a lot, already.

  15. cali714 - May 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Ok after reading all the comments heres what I have collected to join in.

    Jeter is thee greatest SS to ever play the game of baseball, its been proven obviously with the numbers he has put up. As far as his age having to do with his play or coming back off injury. How many times can you recall Jeter REALLY hurting himself? Really hes only been hurt ONCE. And the injury that he had the first time wasnt as serious as his ankle now and thats why his return is gradually seeing daylight.

    @nepa151: jeter is not using Steroids or HGH or any performance enhancing drugs. Have you taken a look at Jeter? Does his body seem more full from previous seasons? Has his stature changed at all? Because it doesnt to me. If anything, he eats his Wheaties and takes his vitamins. Derek Jeter is as true to the game of baseball as it gets. The guy HARDLY EVER gets injured, he takes excellent care of his body and not to mention he plays for the damn YANKEES. Anything those players need they get.

    I would even go to say that Jeter has been the MVP of the majors for the last 20 years and for anyone thats says hes done YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISTAKEN. Yes he may be thinking about retiring BUT its not realistic atleast for another 2 years.

    As far as trades go…….why would you waste your time with Andrus when you can go after Jurickson Profar. Profar is not only 5 years younger but I think that Profar will definately surpass Andrus as far as stats and durability.

    Now heres how this would work, you trade Granderson and a top prospect from AAA for Profar. Everyone is looking at this right now and saying uhhhh NO! BUT if you think about it, the Rangers are gaining here when they get Granderson irregardless. The AAA prospect is just a bonus to make the trade look good. With Granderson in Texas, the Rangers dont have to move any positioned players because David Murphy is almost on the out so you keep Gentry in CF, move Martín to RF, Granderson to LF and take Nelson Cruz and DH mostly when Berkman is gone next season.

    With the Yankees Profar can play this season when Jeter is hurt and then when Jeter is back he can mentor Profar and finish out the the last couple years of his career. After Jeter is done its time for Profar. As far as the outfield goes you still have Wells who is crushing the ball and Gardner when he gets healthy again and Ichiro still has a couple more in him after Jeter. If the Yanks need anyone they have money to spend.

    All in all, this would be good for both sides.

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