Sunday, January 12, 2014

Let us now speak blaspheme: Derek Jeter should move to third base.

You know that old joke about the camel being “a horse designed by a committee?” Well, meet the current 2014 Yankees.

Yesterday, the public tarring and banning of Alex Rodriguez formally began. It will peak this evening on 60 Minutes, when Anthony Bosch tells the free world about injecting A-Rod with steroids. This will be even uglier than the Golden Globes. Meanwhile, the Yankees just banked $25 million - actually more, without A-Rod's bonuses. Meanwhile, though, the 2014 team looks like a muddled mess of a meltdown.

The outfield bulges at the seams with old and/or fragile players. The pitching staff is a roll of the dice. (Seriously, are we supposed to think that Sabathia and Kuroda, both a year older, are still aces? Are we supposed to expect Nova to become a star? Be real) And the infield – well – the infield is Milwaukee on the Hudson.

At 1B, Teixeira will always be a wrist tweak away from Lyle Overbay returning to New York. At second, Brian Roberts is the Yankees version of the Make a Wish Foundation. At third, dear God, it’s anybody’s guess. (Remind me again why we released David Adams?) At shortstop, God bless him, is the Captain, battling the ravages of age and injury.

Between now and April Fool's Day, there will be trades. Fear them, the way rabbits fear wolves. Our situation nearly demands that Brett Gardner must go, and last year, after Robbie, he was our best position player. Not only that, but Gardner is a gamer. When you find one, you want to keep them.  Finally, no GM ever trades with the Yankees unless it’s highway robbery: Their fan bases hate the Yankees too much. Yes, Cashman wrangled Nick Swisher a few years ago – but for every gain (never forget that Wilson Betemit, whom we traded for Swish, had a fine career), there is an Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy out there, jabbing the needle into our sides. 

A salary dump deal? Sure! We can always get another Vernon Wells. Why not just keep the one we had?

Right now, there is a possible solution to the infield mess, and it’s time has come. Derek Jeter should move to 3B, where the stress on his ankle will be far less. His range at SS has diminished, with an infamous numbers-cruncher study a few years ago claiming he covered the least ground of any SS in baseball. We have a good field-no hit SS in Brendan Ryan. But we have nobody to play 3B. It makes sense. The only thing standing in the way of it is Jeter.

Playing 3B extended Cal Ripken Jr.’s career by several years. It could do the same for Jeter. In the past, to even suggesting such a move has been greeting as blaspheme by the blogger trolls of the Yankiverse. But if this team looks like it was built by committee, it has been: Hal and Hank, Cashman and Fred Horowitz. We might as well add Jeter to the panel.

Everything could change. Maybe we'll sign Tanaka (though I'd watch Boston very carefully.) Right now, though, 2014 looks like a disaster. When you don’t have a farm system, there really isn’t much you can do.


KD said...

excuse my ignorance but isn't Jeets an employee? I don't get it. If your boss tells you to do something, you do it or you find another job. If Jeter finds himself on the lineup card playing 3B, he plays 3B. He's our Captain. A team leader should also be a team player. Just pencil him in at third. If he refuses to paly and pulls a "Posada", so be it. How he handles the transition will tell us something about the man.

Mustang said...

I don't think Derek's an employee the way the clubhouse toilet-cleaner is. I think he's more of a contractor. Plus, one word from him and Yankee fans would descend on the Yankee Stadium office suites and rip the limbs off everything in a suit. I know I would. So the brass have to be careful.

Anonymous said...

el duque--I will see you and raise you. If Jeter really cared more about helping the team than feeding his already-bloated ego, he would retire.

The so-called Captain could take a cue from a Yankee with true class and dignity, Joe DiMaggio, by simply adapting the Jolter's own retirement speech:

"I told you fellows last spring I thought this would be my last year. I only wish I could have had a better year. But even if I hit .350, this would have been the last year for me. I feel I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce for my ball club, my manager, my teammates, and my fans the sort of baseball their loyalty to me deserves. I've played my last game of ball."

Anonymous said...

Another reason for Jeter to retire: for all his faults, Eduardo Nunez would be a more productive third baseman, offensively and defensively, than the decrepit Jeter, and not by a small margin.

Jeter's swollen ego--abetted by the Yankees brass's night sweats about his "intangible" commercial value--has become a millstone on this already-creaky franchise.

John M said...

My God, while I don't wholeheartedly agree with Anonymous, I think he has a point. It takes courage and grace to know when you're done, and Jeter might well be done.

Now watch, he'll come back this year, in the Golden Glove, and hit .310.

John M said...

win the Golden Glove, that is

Anonymous said...

OK Eduardo. We get it, you want to play.

Anonymous said...

Eduardo Nuñez is one I of the worst players the yankees have pampered he just plain out suck I've seen many through out the years and he is top 5 worst. stop waiting on this guy if he were any good teams would be all after the yanks not even mention one trade assets are available

joe de pastry said...

Wilson Betemit had a fine career? That's a joke, right?