Via Bob Klapisch:
At this time next winter, Derek Jeter will be approaching the end of his 10-year, $189 million contract, which has already left the Yankees vexed as to how to proceed. The debate centers on the question team officials have been putting off forever: Is there life after Jeter?
It might seem premature to wonder out loud, but with Mark Teixeira now in pinstripes, the Jeter era may well begin dwindling. Of course, the captain still is enormously popular with the fan base, and he’ll always be the link to the early days of the dynasty. But Teixeira is about to become the most valuable star in the Yankee family.
He is, after all, younger and more productive than Jeter; the numbers aren’t even close. Teixeira is more stable — both on and off the field — than Alex Rodriguez. And the first baseman already has a built-in reservoir of good will in greater New York after having blown off the Red Sox in the 11th hour of his negotiations.
And it won’t hurt that he’s a near-lock to hit 30-plus home runs while driving in 100 or more runs.
Unless Teixeira breaks down from a massive case of big-market jitters, and there’s nothing to suggest he will, he’s about to become the centerpiece of what’s become the best Yankee team (on paper) in a decade.
Of course, that transfer of power was supposed to happen in 2004 when A-Rod became a Yankee. He wasn’t just going to bring the Bombers back to their glory days of the late ’90s, he was supposed to whisk Jeter off the stage. That scenario quickly turned to vapor, as Rodriguez has staggered through a series of postseason failures, and the Yankees have yet to win a championship, or even get out of the first round, on his watch.
But at age 34, Jeter’s footprint in the offense has never been smaller.
You know…of all the players to have 1,800+ career hits with the Yankees (and there have been 11 such players to date), the only men to ever play for a major league team other than the Yankees at the end of their career have been Yogi Berra (with the Mets) and Babe Ruth (with the Braves) – and both of those situations were somewhat ‘joke’ cases. Would the Yankees, ever, dare allow Derek Jeter to finish his career with a team other than them?
How strange would it be to see Derek Jeter playing for the Detroit Tigers in 2011? Nah, it could never happen…could it?