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The Yankees need to get a shortstop this winter

Sep 16, 2013, 9:26 AM EST

Derek Jeter Getty Images

It’s not often that I agree with John Harper of the Daily News, but I think his latest column is pretty much on point. The point: the Yankees can’t take a wait-and-see approach with Derek Jeter‘s health and effectiveness. They need to get an everyday shortstop this winter, making it official that Jeter will be a DH or, possibly, a third baseman next year. And, more importantly, they need to tell him this soon and get him on board with it.

The idea is every bit as political as it is baseball-related. If Jeter is quoted widely this offseason as saying he’s ready to return to short, the Yankees’ efforts to get an insurance policy shortstop — which they’d certainly need — will be seen as undermining Jeter or trying to push him out. If they sit down with him, however, and tell him that he is not the starting shortstop, that drama evaporates and, instead of people saying that Jeter is toast, he’ll get a lot of favorable Cal Ripken and/or Paul Molitor comparisons. Which, frankly, he should have gotten years ago when he should have moved to third base while Alex Rodriguez took over short, but that’s ancient history.

Harper reports many scouts and sources telling him that Stephen Drew is a Yankees target. Could be. Doesn’t matter. The idea is that it’s highly unlikely that Jeter will be an effective and/or healthy shortstop next year, the Yankees don’t need another season with a black hole at shortstop and they certainly don’t need an offseason in which they are portrayed as pushing Jeter aside.  And frankly, Jeter doesn’t need that either.

  1. jarathen - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Hint hint, Jerry DiPoto.

  2. cubfan531 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I don’t recall which game it was (possibly MVP Baseball 04), but I do recall a video game having Jeter listed as a third baseman and Rodriguez the shortstop after the trade went through.

    Jeter would still be a fine third baseman if healthy, though he hasn’t been a good SS in a very long time.

    • jwbiii - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      I don’t think Jeter would be good at 3B. The skills that are most needed at 3B, reaction and an explosive first step, are exactly his weaknesses at SS. His strong and accurate throwing arm and his sure handedness translate to anywhere on the field but the value of his speed would minimized, except for the occasional gee whiz! play like we saw from Andrew Romine yesterday.

      • 18thstreet - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        I thought Jeter should have moved to center when Bernie Williams left. But also think he would make a lousy third baseman. His biggest weakness as a fielder is his first step, right?

      • cubfan531 - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        It’s unfair to compare any third baseman’s play to Romine’s yesterday.

        Beyond that, totally agree. Jeter would be at least average, if not a bit above average, on defense at third. At the least, he should still be able to perform on-par with the best free agent option at third, Juan Uribe.

        For a while, Jeter was a very solid shortstop. What he lacked in range, he made up for in consistency and leadership. There’s no shame in moving to third base at 40 years old.

  3. pastabelly - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Listening to last night’s announcers, the Yankees should sign Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jacoby Ellsbury. (Of course, one of them also believes that John Farrell should not win manager of the year and that Girardi should). I’d hate to see Drew wind up in NY, but Boras stands to clean up on that one and it’s pretty logical. The Sox should make every effort to do a long term deal with Salty.

  4. danindelray - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Stephen Drew would be a tremendous pick-up for the Yankees, if they get Jeter on board with this. At most the Red Sox might offer Drew another one-year deal as an insurance policy on Boegarts but a lefty SS with some pop hitting in Yankee Stadium, and a consistently solid if not flashy glove would be a huge help for NY in 2014.

    • petey1999 - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      It’s hard to believe that Drew would want to be Jeter’s back-up. He’s already making 10 million plus, so is 15 million enough for him to sit around waiting for the Jeter love-fest to end?

  5. raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    We will see if the Sox let the Yanks outbid them for Drew–I doubt it. With that, I agree with the need but don’t see a lot of great solutions, plus they won’t know for a while yet if they will have there regular 3B around either.

    • pastabelly - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      When was the last time the Sox won a one on one bidding war with the Yankees? Drew was a one year bridge to Bogearts. What’s changed? The Sox will need that money to go elsewhere if you want to keep Salty and Napoli.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        “You?” What makes you think someone with the handle “Raysfan1″ is a Red Sox fan?

        As for my own statement, I expect the Red Sox to make Drew a highly competitive offer if for no other reason than to make it more expensive for the Yankees, who have other infield roster issues also with which to deal. I don’t claim any special knowledge, just my opinion that the Sox will make the strategic decision to try to keep Drew away from the Yankees.

  6. psousa1 - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Coming in I always heard what a good fielder he was. He is a tremendous SS. Makes every single play possible. Just doesn’t have the flair of some guys.

    • nbjays - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      “I always heard what a good fielder he was. He is a tremendous SS. Makes every single play possible.”

      Are we talking about the same Derek Jeter?

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Well, that depends — did you get a gift basket?

    • zzalapski - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      You need to hear more people.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Although Derek Jeter transcends a lot of conventional baseball wisdom because his post season exploits have made him a legend in the Bronx, let’s not forget that he was not the first Yankees shortstop that Yankees mangement had to come back down to reality for and realize they were no longer an MLB quality baseball player. Back in the day, some Yankees manager had to sit down with both Alvaro Espinoza and Wayne Tolleson and tell them they were no longer MLB quality players…I have to imagine it was shortly after they both came up to the big leagues, but still…

    • zzalapski - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Neither Tolleson nor Espinoza started their MLB tenure with the Yankees, so I’m not sure where you’re going with your snark.

      • deathmonkey41 - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        Someone put their big boy serious pants on today!

  8. American of African Descent - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Stephen Drew? Seriously? The guy will be on the wrong side of 30, is not much better than a replacement level shortstop, and not worth the $9.5 million the Red Sox have paid him this year! His defensive stats, as reported at baseball reference leave a lot to be desired.

    • danindelray - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      That’s an exceptionally ignorant statement, ‘not much better than replacement level ss’.

      Is replacement level equal to top five SS in OPS????

      • Reflex - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        Drew has a 2.2 WAR this year, replacement level is 2.0 I believe. So that is barely above replacement as stated above. This year was the first year since 2010 that he has been above a 2 WAR. Also, like every season, he has spent significant time on the DL. His defense has been average to well below average in all but one season in his 8 year careers.

        Sorry, but I have to concur, Drew is going to be on the wrong side of 30, has had a steep career decline for the past four seasons, can’t stay healthy and is not a good defender.

      • umrguy42 - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        I don’t dig into the stats, but wouldn’t replacement level be 0? It’s “Wins Above Replacement”, after all… (but hey, I could be foolishly wrong. if so, feel free to expound on this for me.)

      • Jeremy T - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Replacement level is 0. An “average” player is usually said to be around 2 WAR. Also, the usual $/WAR market value is around $5 million, which would make $9.5 million for 2.2 WAR a pretty good deal. Now, he might not be a good deal for next year, but if you’re using WAR to measure him this year, he certainly hasn’t been terrible.

      • Reflex - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        I meant ‘average’ rather than replacement, sorry. And the original poster was basically saying that he’s no better than a regular SS, arguably worse when you consider defense. And that argument is accurate. Plus he gets hurt a lot, something the Yanks do not need.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Drew’s dWAR is .4 per BRef. Jose Iglesias’ is .6 since joining the Tigers.

  9. binarymath - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Freddy Galvis is a good choice. He is blocked by the Rollins and Utley contracts in Philly, as well as the emergence of Asche and Ruf. Outstanding fielder. Price will be reasonable. And it allows Yanks and Jeter to finesse the whole “pushed aside” discussion.

    Cashman can say “between the A-Rod situation and the concern over Jeter’s ankle, this move allows us to get younger and add a ‘plus’ fielder to the equation on the left side of the infield.” Nobody would question the logic. And Galvis could emerge as a legit major league hitter.

    • greymares - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      The Phillies will be trying to trade Rollins this off season in order to open the SS. job for Galvis.

      • deepstblu - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Rollins has 10-and-5 rights and says he doesn’t want to leave.

  10. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Isn’t it a foregone conclusion that the Sox will slap Drew with a QO? If so, the Yanks should stay as far away as possible. Keep Ryan around and do everything possible to re-sign Cano. If you get 160 games of Cano, 150 games of Teixeira and 120ish games of Arod, you can live with an all glove, no bat SS.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Ugh let’s revise that to 100 games of Arod. He’s getting the suspension, but no where near as long as people think.

  11. yankeesfanlen - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    No doubt Beep-beep will make a farewell tour in 2014 as something for the Universe.
    Bigger problem will be haw many stadiums can accommodate his head into the player’s entrance.

    • Reflex - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      Whoa, I haven’t seen you post in ages. Nice to see your still around Len!

  12. flamethrower101 - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    But all of this is assuming Jeter is willing to give up his post as everyday SS and just move to 3B or DH. I highly doubt he would. Not that he doesn’t care about the team, but Jeter has so much pride in himself that I bet he’ll work this offseason to be ready for everyday SS duty in 2014. Now can he be healthy and effective…yes on health, but effectiveness is where I waver.

  13. denverwally - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    If you are counting on ANY games from Arod next year, you are draming.He is toast, MLB looks at him as public enemy #1. Better find yourself a completely new infield as well as a center fielder, catcher, and half a dozen pitchers. If you have to sign one of them, it has to be Cano. He’s the only one under age 30. Tex is showing a complete inability to stay healthy. Jeter is 40… 40!!! Arod is a major juicer. Stewart may be the worst defensive catcher in the league. Honestly, this team is a mess, in total melt down.
    I would consider the Yankes in the worst posiiton that they have been in since the mid-80’s.They are old and broken down EVERYWHERE. Oh wait, Bret Gardiner is young. But not healthy either.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      If you are counting on ANY games from Arod next year, you are draming.He is toast, MLB looks at him as public enemy #1

      Per the JDA, Arod can only be suspended for 50 games for his PED use. That means that MLB has to try and argue thru the CBA for any additional punishment. Braun agreed to 10 additional games. What proof, key word PROOF, does MLB have that Arod should be suspended for 112 games beyond the 50? Or even more than that?

  14. mattseas - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    SS requires a player athletic enough to cover more ground than 3rd base. ARod’s absence will coincide with Jeter’s decline in field play. The logical step would be to move Jeter to 3rd where his decreased range is less of a factor. But this is the Yankees, and ultimately I think they’ll go way over the cap trying to bring some more players in. Jeter could be looking at DH and backup SS his final year.

    • Reflex - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      What free agent shortstop do you think the Yankees can go sign? All the money in the world does not solve a supply problem…

  15. hammerhunker - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    I could see Troy Tulowitski in pinstripes. The Rockies have him locked up, but with the right prospect package, I could see him moved. That’s the Rockie way.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Yes, because the best way to help a team that’s had the injury bug the last few years, is to go out and trade for a player that can’t stay healthy.

    • American of African Descent - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      And what prospects would you see the Rockies accepting from the Yankees for Mr. Tulowitski?

  16. Walk - Sep 16, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    I am not a Yankees fan or a boston fan either no matter how much fox and espn seems to think I am. Thanks to fox and espn though I have watched a lot of Yankees games and I was always impressed with jeters positioning at bat to at bat he was always that extra half step towards where he needed to be. Good coaching and good scouting I thought to myself, maybe he is a little slower but that matters little to a player who was in the right place as he always seemed to be.

  17. denny65 - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Well, he can’t hit, but one of the slickest fielding shortstops in the game is currently wearing pinstripes.

    Maybe the Yankees could find a hitting coach for Ryan in the off-season.

  18. phan216 - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    the Indians will probably be looking to move Asdrubal Cabrera with Francisco Lindor on the verge of big league promotion

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