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What are the Yankees going to do about Derek Jeter?

Sep 6, 2013, 2:25 PM EDT

Derek Jeter, Mike Napoli AP

It was easy to watch Thursday night’s Red Sox-Yankees tilt and come to the conclusion that Derek Jeter is done. Hobbling around on one leg at shortstop, he nearly got himself seriously injured again, courtesy of a cheap takeout slide from Mike Napoli. Any other major league shortstop would have been there and gone already by the time Napoli got to second base. Jeter, unable to make his body work like it used to, ended up head over heels on the play.

Besides the extreme lack of range at shortstop, Jeter also isn’t really hitting. He’s at .200/.297/.273 through 15 games this year. That’s the lesser concern, though.

Personally, I don’t see Jeter as done as much as he’s simply hurt. In trying to come back from the broken ankle he suffered in the postseason last year, he sustained quad and calf injuries. It seems obvious that he’s not going to be 100 percent at any point during this year. And while the Yankees are likely already wondering whether they’ll be able to eke out another year with him at shortstop in 2014, it’s this season that they need to worry about now.

I don’t think there’s any question that Jeter is a liability with the way he’s playing right now, but so is the alternative on the Yankees’ roster; Eduardo Nunez can run circles around Jeter, but he’s terribly mistake prone at short and doesn’t make up for it with a lot of offense. If Jayson Nix were healthy, he’d be the team’s best option at short right now. Alas, he’s out for the season. The Yankees do have a defense-first shortstop in Alberto Gonzalez in Triple-A, but he hit .183/.240/.220 in 191 at-bats for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It’d be worth calling him up anyway. As loathe as they may be to take Jeter out for a defensive replacement when they have the lead, it’s something they absolutely need to do.

For now, though, they might as well keep Jeter at short, if only for four or five games per week. At least he can still handle the balls hit right to him. They should probably move him down to the seventh or eighth spot in the order, but it seems doubtful they’ll go there unless he volunteers. We all know Joe Girardi doesn’t want to embarrass the future Hall of Famer and Yankees legend, but the situation does call for some managing. Taking Jeter out late in games is pretty close to a must right now.

  1. losangelesfan - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Stick a fork in him. He’s done.

  2. nbjays - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I’m not going to say it… I’m going to leave it for Historiophiliac.

    Over to you, m’dear…

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      I suspect that she has not yet read this thread. It might eventually be DOOM for the Yankees, but there is still life in the carcass of most of the old farts.

      • bigharold - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        Old farts?? Where’s Harry when you need him?

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:56 PM

        Hi Harold. Harry will show up sometime. I am sure that you will soon smell the odor.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 6, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      Doom!

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Wouldn’t mind seeing ARod bat in the #2 hole. While he strikes out a fair share, he still has good on-base skills and sees a bunch of pitches. I bet he could benefit from a little more lineup protection. He is absolutely a guess hitter, and forcing the pitcher to throw him more fastballs in the zone will only help his power numbers.

  4. eatitfanboy - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    He still has barely even reached the amount of at bats he would have gotten in Spring Training after rehabbing from a serious injury. He is trying to round into regular season form against players that have been there for months.

    I’m not even saying you’re wrong, I’m just not ready to go there yet.

    • bolweevils2 - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Yeah, you can’t really draw any conclusions on his hitting based on this small sample size. I’m not sure if you can draw conclusions on his fielding. If he’s hurt and will get better, he might be a better defender next year. But if this is some chronic thing that will never totally get better…

      • bigharold - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        As was pointed out several times, being injured all off season Jeter was incapable of working out the off season. It’s not merely a question of getting into baseball shape he missed all his off season conditioning that will affect everything.

        Like A-Rod, I expect him to get better s things go on but he will not be 100% this year. The question is does what he offers this season amount to enough to keep him in the line up and playing SS considering the alternatives. And, frankly right now it does.

        And, for the record Napoli’s slide wasn’t a “.. cheap takeout slide”. It was good hard clean baseball. In that case he suppose to try to break up the DP.

    • indaburg - Sep 6, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      As Matthew pointed out, the issue is not so much with Jeter’s hitting (“it is the lesser concern”). It is that he is defensive liability.

      On the surface, Jeter’s offensive numbers look dismal indeed based on traditional numbers–batting average of .200. Even looking at his .OPS–.570, you still have to wonder, what is wrong with Jeter? Like you pointed out, the sample size is small. Furthermore, his BABIP is a dismal .217. He is getting terribly unlucky. If you look at his contact rate, it’s 85%–fantastic. His K rate is only 12.5%–also excellent. His BB/K ratio is only 0.88 which means his plate discipline is also on point. I don’t think anyone (with half a brain) is sounding the alarm regarding his batting. His defense, never great when he was healthy, is the problem. He just doesn’t have the mobility to make the plays an adequate shortstop needs to make.

      • jwbiii - Sep 6, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        His LD% is at his career average, so it’s not he’s rolling over and dribbling the ball to 2B every AB.

  5. steve7921 - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    as a Rays fan, I hope Girardi plays Jeter and A-Rod for every game the rest of the season!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Arod – 129 wRC+

      2nd on the Yanks after Cano (144). So yes, he should play almost every day.

      • steve7921 - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        Where are your stats that show how many runs he costs because of his defense or lack thereof? Granted you need offense to win but i would say his defense is costing the Yankees more than his offense his helping them…and thats without all your mumbo jumbo stats.

      • ditto65 - Sep 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        Yeah, mumbo jumbo stats that use objective statistical measures. Stupid facts…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        and thats without all your mumbo jumbo stats.

        Arod – .372 OBP – 2nd to Cano’s .384
        Arod – .455 SLG – 2nd to Cano’s .514

        Where are your stats that show how many runs he costs because of his defense or lack thereof?</blockquote.

        dWAR (bref) -0.1
        fWAR (UZR) 1.3
        DRS -1

        So he's basically neutral this year for defense. Although it's hilarious you think wRC+ is a "mumbo jumbo" stat and you want me to bring out how he rates on defense. Unless you wanted # of errors, in which case I'm going to back away quietly because this is getting funny.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        sigh formatting fail, let’s try this again:

        and thats without all your mumbo jumbo stats.

        Arod – .372 OBP – 2nd to Cano’s .384
        Arod – .455 SLG – 2nd to Cano’s .514

        Where are your stats that show how many runs he costs because of his defense or lack thereof?

        dWAR (bref) -0.1
        fWAR (UZR) 1.3
        DRS -1

        So he’s basically neutral this year for defense. Although it’s hilarious you think wRC+ is a “mumbo jumbo” stat and you want me to bring out how he rates on defense. Unless you wanted # of errors, in which case I’m going to back away quietly because this is getting funny.

      • jwbiii - Sep 6, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        Eleven orders of mumbo jumbo coming right up.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=9&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=23,d

        Of course, if the best answer is “Mark Reynolds,” the question has probably been phrased incorrectly. The people who came up with this suggest you look at about 3,000 innings before you make a decision, rather than 200 or 29. But Rodriguez isn’t embarrassing himself or hurting the Yankees.

    • indaburg - Sep 6, 2013 at 7:49 PM

      As a fellow Rays fan, I respectful disagree with steve. Girardi, please play Jeter all you want–he is a great defensive liability–but you can bench A-rod, thank you very much. (I can do math.)

    • indaburg - Sep 6, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      As a fellow Rays fan, I respectfully disagree with steve. Girardi, please play Jeter all you want–he is a great defensive liability–but you can bench A-rod, thank you very much. (I can do math.)

      • indaburg - Sep 6, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        (Please forgive the double post–I attempted to correct a grammatical error and…. fail.)

    • skipper1992 - Sep 7, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      You may be a Rays fan, but you are no fan of the game if your “wish” is sincere. I was born in Boston and remain a devoted citizen of the Nation even after having left New England 20 years ago … but for all my hatred of the Yankees, I am absolutely 100% a fan of Jeter, and he deserves better than to end his career this way, and for the sight of him hobbling around the infield to be the memory he leaves people with.

  6. thesanchizekid - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Is this a serious article ? That play was my an easy play by any stretch. An second basemen would have been lucky to get one out key alone two outs. There was no chance for a at at first. Comon man.

    • dondada10 - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      You spell like how Mark Sanchez plays football.

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        *chuckles*

        That was uncalled for.

      • indaburg - Sep 6, 2013 at 7:59 PM

        Oh, snap!

  7. threefingerclown - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    “Cheap takeout slide,” really? Napoli and Jeter arrived almost simultaneously at 2nd, and even in your attached photo Napoli is what, 4 inches off the bag? I’ve seen thousands of takeout slides with runners 5 feet off the bag with their legs sticking out trying like hell to trip the 2B/SS. Napoli’s attempt was tame by comparison.

    • Brian Donohue - Sep 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      Agree — Napoli’s slide was both legal and only aggressive enough to break up the play. He shouldn’t be faulted for playing the game right. As for the defense, they had a decent defensive SS in Cruz and Reynolds might be worth a shot there too.

    • deweyks - Sep 6, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      Like this one?

      http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/3146997/dirty.png

      Oh, wow…isn’t that Napoli, trying to take out Jose Iglesias?

      • bigharold - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        Now that is a ” .. cheap takeout slide ..”

      • Glenn - Sep 6, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        Say what you want, but it is completely legal, so how is it cheap?

    • rje49 - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      About Napoli’s slide- you’d have to see the play to understand what was happening. Jeter was going toward second base when the ball was hit to him. Nobody was at second to take a throw, so he had to run the short distance to the bag, with the ball. Napoli’s path took him between the base and Jeter. Jeter awkwardly jumped to the bag for the forceout. He had to run in front of Napoli to get to the bag.

  8. chew1985 - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Time to DH. Hank Aaron did it with dignity. Jeter certainly can also.

    • Jason Lukehart - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      …Except that he’s no longer nearly good enough a hitter for that.

      • indaburg - Sep 6, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Except… if you analyze the numbers, you realize that it is far too soon to say that. (I say this as an avowed Yankee hater and someone who has always disliked the idolization of the “great” Jeter.)

        BABIP .217
        Contact Rate 85%
        BB/K Rate 0.88
        BB Rate 10.9%
        K Rate 12.5%

        He is getting tremendously unlucky at bat. He shows the same plate discipline the bastard (I say that with love) has always shown. He is merely a defensive liability, same as he ever was..

  9. dan46778 - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    What about putting him at first when the Yankees facing left hand pitchers

  10. jolt12 - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    This piece lost any hope of being taken seriously by the hysterical hand-wringing of “cheap take out slide”. Nonsense. A totally legit baseball play and I can’t imagine Jeter sees it differently. He looks like he can’t push off strongly enough to change directions—hence the awkward footwork.
    I do worry about about Derek’s present and future and I truly hope that A) he does no further damage to himself this year and B) that he does have more recuperation in him, off-season, to extend his brilliant career. The day will come to hang ‘em up. Hope it’s later, not sooner.

  11. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:17 PM

  12. lazlosother - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    The slide wasn’t cheap, he did what he was supposed to do and was well within reach of the bag. Jeter’s immobility was the problem, not Napoli’s slide. I haven’t heard of even the worst Yankee homers (I’m looking at you Mathews and Marchand) complaining about that play.

    As for what to do with Jeter, there isn’t a better option so they play him and hope he rounds into form. I’m not so worried about his spot in the order – he isn’t doing well at all, but they are scoring runs. The bigger worry at this point seems to be pitching. Sabathia, Hughes, and now Kuroda are throwing batting practice out there. Pettite is older than Moses and pitcing to an ERA over 4. The pen has been good so far but I think they are being taxed, too many early nights for the SPs.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      But you have to understand Lazlo…the dipwad thinks any type of bodily contact is cheap and totally uncalled for. I truly believe he sometimes thinks they should put it on a T for them. Short of throwing underhanded of course. And if you do throw it underhanded…he still doesn’t want you pitching inside.

  13. aceshigh11 - Sep 6, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    You act like Napoli is the second coming of Ty Cobb, sharpened spikes and all.

  14. drewzducks - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Really Matthew, cheap takeout slide ? Sounds like your on field baseball experience peaked and ended at tee ball.

  15. smoochytherhino - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Um, Jeter led the league in hits in 2012 and finished 7th in MVP voting. He missed all of this year with injuries and is 11 for 55 over 15 games since he returned a couple of weeks ago. You say in the article you think he’s just hurt and say he’s done all in the same breath. I’ll believe when it manifests itself over the long haul. Making a determination on Jeter’s long term viability right now is quite pointless.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      finished 7th in MVP voting.

      24 people received MVP votes last year per b-ref. Jeter finished 23rd in rWAR, just ahead of Ibanez.

  16. Old Gator - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Soylent Jeter.

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Is Jeter the Edward G. Robinson character?

    • Glenn - Sep 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      No one will claim that Jeter tastes like free “range” chicken.

  17. chadjones27 - Sep 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Bring Gonzalez up and have the pitchers hit for him.

  18. pisano - Sep 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    They obviously need to be looking for a SS in the off seasom, last night not only showed his lack of range, which was no secret, but also he seems to have lost arm strength, his throws were awful, no zip and he seemed to be straining to throw the ball. It’s the same old culprit, Father time, he catches up with us all. Jeter has had a wonderful career, but there comes a time to walk away, and it may be here for Jeter.

  19. thebigtim2012 - Sep 6, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Jeepers you stay boys get all defensive when someone makes fun of the insane amount of stats that are now kept. war, and gwar oh wait that’s a great rock band. In my view stats can be used and twisted to prove almost any point just adjust sample size. I know the saber metric people get their panties all in a bunch over that stuff but I always thought the moral of the moneyball story is that the a’s didn’t win it all that year and still haven’t. Team chemistry (and team chemists if your the Yankees) and good old fashioned stats along with a good chunk of gut instinct go alot farther in producing titles than all these new stats. I could be wrong and I’m sure there’s a stat for that too but exhibit a in the book to prove my point would be the 04 Red Sox. Your gonna tell me Kevin Millar had great “Mumbo jumbo” stats? No, but his attitude, and leadership probably helped to score alot of runs by keeping the guys loose. Plus they had that great band in the bullpen.

    • Glenn - Sep 6, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      You know what else is good for predicting? Tea leaves. Horoscopes. Divining rods. Chemistry is a great descriptor after the fact. Make your World Series predictions now based on chemistry and see how you do.

  20. lawrinson20 - Sep 6, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    “Cheap takeout slide?” Matthew, you lost all credibility in Sentence Two. I actually don’t even know what the rest of the ‘article’ says. Who are you, anyway? Some kid in Connecticut, pecking away on his mom’s Dell?

  21. thebigtim2012 - Sep 6, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Fine my prediction for the ws the Red Sox. Last to first I believe largely due to the revamped chemistry of the team.

  22. thebigtim2012 - Sep 6, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    It would be truly awesome if the official name became Mumbo jumbo stats as opposed to saber metrics. It just sounds cooler and both sides could twist its meaning and claim victory. The believers could say it sarcastically and the detractors could say it literally everyone wins!

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