• Derek Jeter The Next Craig Biggio?

    Posted by on August 17th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Wally Mathews tugs on Superman’s cape, spits into the wind, pulls the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and talks about Derek Jeter’s lousy 2010 season:

    But the hard truth is Derek Jeter is no longer the player he once was, which is perfectly understandable at 36. And sometimes, Derek Jeter actually hurts the Yankees — something that a year ago would have seemed perfectly unthinkable.

    Derek Jeter was not the only reason the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers on Monday night — a 3-1 defeat that came within two outs of being the second night in a row they were shut out by an inferior team — he was only the most obvious, being responsible as he was for those final two outs nipping a burgeoning rally right in the bud.

    And he did it on a play that threatens to become one of his trademarks — as much as the jump throw, the shovel pass or the face-plant into the front row seats.

    He did it with a double play — an ignominious accomplishment that is rapidly becoming his alone, the way Reggie Jackson owns the strikeout and Vinny Testaverde the pick.

    Monday night, he rapped into two of them, including the one that ended the game.

    And just like that, a night that looked as though it might have climaxed with a pie in some Yankees’ face instead ended with egg all over Jeter’s.

    Anyone can hit into a double play at any time, but few hit into as many as Jeter does. In fact, only two players currently active in the American League — Pudge Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez — have hit into more of them in their careers than Jeter.

    And with two on Monday night, Jeter has pulled within two of Ordonez, who has 232 for his career. (He still trails Pudge by a healthy 45, but Pudge is in his 20th season).

    And it’s not just double play balls that are killing Jeter and the Yankees, it is ground balls. Jeter hits more of them, far more, than any hitter in baseball. Two-thirds of his contacts this season have been on the ground. His next nearest competitor, Juan Pierre, hits more than half his balls on the ground.

    Jeter is certainly not trying to, but he hits the ball to the shortstop so often you sometimes think his jersey number should be 63.

    In some ways, Jeter’s 2010 is starting to look like Steve Garvey’s 1985 or Cal Ripken’s 1998 or Craig Biggio’s 2002. And, that’s not good news for him or the Yankees.

    Comments on Derek Jeter The Next Craig Biggio?

    1. Raf
      August 17th, 2010 | 10:08 am

      It will be interesting to see how this will be addressed. I don’t know why Jeter’s plate discipline has disappeared.

    2. Jake1
      August 17th, 2010 | 10:26 am

      They cannot possibly have Jeter play SS next year. Yet where would he play? LF? DH?

    3. Raf
      August 17th, 2010 | 10:42 am

      Jake1 wrote:

      They cannot possibly have Jeter play SS next year. Yet where would he play? LF? DH?

      Jeter’s having a normal defensive year @ SS, but his value is tied to his bat. Even with his offensive struggles he’s still a positive compared to his peers.

    4. Scout
      August 17th, 2010 | 12:29 pm

      “In some ways, Jeter’s 2010 is starting to look like Steve Garvey’s 1985 or Cal Ripken’s 1998 or Craig Biggio’s 2002. And, that’s not good news for him or the Yankees.” I disagree — better that the Yankees see what Jeter will look like as age catches up to him now, rather than that they sign him off of last year. That season appears more of a fluke; 2010 is more consistent with a player at his age.

      Looking ahead, the Jeter of 2011 promises to be a shortstop of diminished range but very steady hands, declining speed on the bases but good running instincts, and reduced offensive ability better suited to batting 8th or 9th than leading off. Such a player is much more replaceable than the Jeter of five years ago, and that is how the Yankees should approach negotiating with him.

      Of course, if he has a big postseason (certainly possible), we’d be back in the Matsui/Damon situation. Only here the pressure to pay Jeter for what he has done in the past would become almost irresistable. That is the true nightmare scenario, with demands from fans and sports commentators to give Jeter what A-Rod got.

      Jeter today is probably a two-year/$18 million player at best. But I just don’t think the Yankees have the guts to hold the line at that. If I were Cashman, I would think seriously about replacing Jeter atop the line-up with Crawford and signing or trading for a younger shortstop with better range.

    5. Jim TreshFan
      August 17th, 2010 | 4:13 pm

      My humble submission for next season is to place Jeter at 3B and DH A-Rod. Yes, I know Pena couldn’t hit a Big Bird pinata if you took the blindfold off him, but just as Jeter’s offensive skills are eroding now whatever defensive skills he possesses are sure to follow.

    6. PocketAces
      August 17th, 2010 | 4:26 pm

      In the real world my next comment would be insane, but the New York Yankees are not apart of the economic real world…..

      It doesn’t matter what they pay Jeter, it will not affect what they do in the off season. No matter what the front office says.

      $30+ Million for A-Rod/$20M for Jeter/$?? for Posada (I didn’t look it up I am in a hurry)…..But the Yankees go and get free agents.

      Let them pay whatever for however many years……if they happen to be stuck with a bad contract…it certainly won’t be the first or last time

    7. Raf
      August 17th, 2010 | 5:54 pm

      PocketAces wrote:

      $30+ Million for A-Rod/$20M for Jeter/$?? for Posada (I didn’t look it up I am in a hurry)…..But the Yankees go and get free agents.

      Yankees are clearing quite a bit in salary as well.

      10: Jeter ($21M), Rivera (15), Berkman, Vazquez (11.5), Pettitte (11.75), Wood, Mitre, Johnson (5.5 doubt his option is picked up), Thames, Kearns, Gaudin and Miranda.

      The door is open for Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte to return (Girardi too?). The rest of the guys, not so much. I would be surprised if Jeter comes back at more than $21M

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