Saturday, November 23, 2013

The elephant in the room, or at least, the infield

At this point, I guess the metaphor should not be an elephant, but a dead horse... as in, why beat one?

Altogether now: "A horse is a horse, a corpse, of course, and we shouldn't beat on its corpse, of course, that is of course, unless the corpse is the famous Mr. Jeet." (Yeah, it's Saturday morning.)

We keep hearing how the Yankees need to find a thirdbaseman to fill the void known as A-Rod, which will exist for most, if not all, of 2014. Last year, we tried Kevin Youkilis - whose name is now whispered with the same cringe-worthy effect of Lord Voldemort. The Russians didn't delete references to Joseph Stalin faster than the Yankees erased Youk.

So now, we ponder trading for a 3B - deals that would drain our farm system from its current "EMPTY" to a blinking red light on the dash. We could not afford David Freese. We cannot afford Chase Headley. Dammit, we cannot afford anybody worth affording. We have no extra trade chips, and if we bundle prospects, we could get fleeced in the magnitude of Doug Drabek, Willie McGee, Fred McGriff, Jay Buhner - those Yankee icons of the 1980s. We need somebody to step forward and fill in the holes, and we have one of the greatest team leaders in history, who is attempting to play a position that will almost surely destroy his 39-year-old legs.

I'm talking about Jeter at SS. It amazes me that we discuss signing Johnny Peralta and moving him to 3B. Why? Are we're frightened of offending Jeter? It amazes me that, while we cut the payroll, ownership dropped an extra $2 million on Jeter, like tipping a pretty waitress in a diner. Why? Were we are frightened of Jeter? Good grief, he's one of the great Yankees of all time: He has to see the needs of this team. Somebody has to sit down with him and say what's obvious: It's time to move to 3B. Cal Ripken did it. Barry Larkin did it. Practically every great shortstop, at the end of his career, moved to a less stressful position - not to be shirkers, but for the good of their teams.

Yet that's off the table in New York, isn't it? Yep. Nobody will think about it, much less mention it. Instead, we will trade whatever we have in our system for some overpriced 3B, who might be a redundancy when A-Rod returns - and it's all because we have one iron rule going into 2014 - Derek Jeter is the Yankees SS until his ankles break or his quads snap like Hershey bars. Then Brendan Ryan will field the position and bat .175.

It's hardly a perfect scenario, but if A-Rod gets 100 games or more, what if we tried this:  Jeter moves to 3B in spring training. We find a shortstop, Jason Nix, or maybe that Japanese infielder we accidentally won in posting last winter, but were too cheap to negotiate with. Or we stick with Ryan. We let Jeter play 3B, figuring the reduced stress on his body will allow him to play 80 to 100 games in the field. (Do we really think he can handle that load at SS? Because last year, we stupidly went into April, believing he would magically heal and be the Jeter of old.)

Yeah, there are a lot of plates spinning on a lot of sticks these days. Whenever a free agent's name pops up, the Yankees express interest - even when it makes no sense. (Kendry Morales? Gimmie a break.) We are willing to discuss anything. Why is moving Jeter to third so far far far off the table?


KD said...

Real supermodels only love shortstops.

Anonymous said...

El Duque, you have a lot of wisdom, but you need to be cautious when you broadcast your ideas to the sports world.

Every year, a thousand guys come to New York with a dollar and a dream. They all want to be the next big sports agent in the sports capitol of America. And they all read the blogs, looking for ideas.

When you mention Cal Ripken at third, they all run down to Maryland and tell Cal that he has a great opportunity, and he can't be stopped by minor details like age and retirement.

Then they all tell your friend Mr. Steinbrenner that normally Cal would want at least ten million a year, but as a special favor he is willing to sign a contract for only eight million, with a base salary of only six million and the rest in incentives.

So then Cal gets added to the roster and ESPN wants to interview you for the inside story. You tell ESPN "I really didn't expect Cal Ripken to come out of retirement. I thought the probability of him playing again was about equal to the probability of Babe Ruth playing again."

And then a week later the New York Times has a long article about your friend Mr. Steinbrenner, and they quote him as saying "I wonder if we could get this player named Ruth to play more games for us. I understand he was a pretty good player."

You need to be cautious when you broadcast your ideas to the sports world; that's all I'm saying.

Anonymous2 said...

I can see, Hart, why you continue to kiss Anonymous' ass. He so eloquently makes the case against free speech and creative speculation.

el duque said...

I kiss Anonymous' ass because I know what that hacker organization did to those poor high school football players in Ohio, simply because they gang-raped a girl or three. I don't want his/her/their thugs getting into my iTunes account and screwing up my Styx collection.