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One way or another, a fascinating final year for Jeter

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 13, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees Jeter Retirement Baseball

I packed my things on Tuesday, and I even remembered my passport so that I can head to Canada before finally returning home in early April. I flew south yesterday, changing my flight three times to avoid various snow storms. I woke this morning in Tampa and made my way to the minor league complex.

Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow.

We’ve made it through the winter. The winter weather might be sticking around, but spring training is so close we already have what might be our story of the spring: the announcement that Derek Jeter will retire at the end of the season. I enjoyed covering the Mariano Rivera farewell, and I’m legitimately looking forward to the Jeter retirement tour. One way or another, it’s going to be fascinating.

I’ve written before that I think Jeter is mislabeled as a bland superstar. I don’t think of him as being overly private, I just think he’s as honest as he’s comfortable being. He makes little attempt to build some false public persona. We might not know the details of Jeter’s day-to-day, but I think we have a true sense of his bigger picture. I believe we have a pretty accurate idea of who Jeter is. It might not be headline material — in the way some celebrities and athletes create headlines — but at least it’s honest. I appreciate that about him, and I wonder if the final season might bring down a few more walls and let a little more honesty spill out.

Earlier in the week, I spoke to a journalism class at Iona College in New Rochelle. At some point, I tried to explain that I don’t really cheer for any baseball team any more. Last year, I tried to get excited about my childhood team playing in the World Series, but I just couldn’t do it. I enjoyed watching the series, but whether the Cardinals won or lost had no real impact on me. Talking to my friends about it was fun, but when Kolten Wong was picked off first base, I remember thinking only that it was a fascinating way for a game to end.

One of the students in that Iona classroom asked me if I still liked baseball itself. And, you know what, I really do.

I watch it much differently than I did as a teenager, but the game itself still manages to amaze me. I love the history; I love the in-game strategy of a manager with a thin bench and a depleted bullpen; I love the one-on-one matchup of pitcher vs. hitter; I continue to be fascinated by the rocky path of player development; and I’ve never once felt as if I have a perfect handle on what exactly the players are thinking and doing between the lines. The combination of ability and know-how required to play at the big league level – heck, even to play at the Triple-A level – is stunning, and I really do feel like I can learn something new every day if I ask the right question.

And I appreciate that the pace of the game lends itself well to my profession.

I feel fortunate to have covered the final five years of Jeter’s career. Will I be rooting for him this year? Not really. Not in the true sense of cheering for a guy to do well, but I do love baseball, and Jeter’s a lot of fun to watch on a regular basis. He’s been good to me since I was covering the minor leagues, and I’m excited to see his career play out in this final season.

Changing gears ever so slightly, let me take this moment to say a quick thank you to everyone who participated in the Pinch Hitters series, which was once again a terrific success in bringing new voices and opinions to the blog. I didn’t agree with all of you, but I appreciate each of you putting yourself out there in a way that can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Thank you all for participating. And to the rest of you who’ve stopped by the blog, thank you for reading through a long winter. And to Bill, thank you for bringing the Pinch Hitters series home with such a perfect spring-is-coming essay.

Pitchers and catchers report in the morning.

Associated Press photo

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65 Responses to “One way or another, a fascinating final year for Jeter”

  1. Revenge of Stoneburner February 13th, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Dieter Kurtenbach ?@dkurtenbach 6h
    Desmond Howard on if he likes the Heisman or SB MVP more: “I wouldn’t give either back, even if I was Reggie Bush.”

    I like his style

    Fast & Furious 7: New Blog Threads at Lohud Today

  2. Revenge of Stoneburner February 13th, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Ben Badler ?@BenBadler 38m
    Scouting reports on four top Cuban players that grabbed the attention of scouts last week: http://bit.ly/1gyUknp

  3. Revenge of Stoneburner February 13th, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Retweeted by Ben Badler
    Mike DiGiovanna ?@MikeDiGiovanna 7h
    Pujols on Jeter: “On and off field, he’s the way you want your kids to grow up, Only Jesus is perfect, but he’s pretty close to that guy.”

    Great, now Pujols is on the Montero bandwagon again

  4. Revenge of Stoneburner February 13th, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Ben Badler ?@BenBadler Feb 12
    Completely different players. Diaz was his backup on the national team RT @RJBrasilcdn how would you compare Arrubarruena to Aledmys Diaz?

  5. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Derek Jeter is a perfect example as to why statistics are ultimately not the best judge of a player’s true worth. They can never adequately measure the human intangibles; one’s character, honesty, demeanor, work ethic and leadership skills. Derek Jeter is right up there with the all-time greats.

  6. pat February 13th, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Possibility of Thundersnow tonight!

  7. bbb51 February 13th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Bret The Hitman February 13th, 2014 at 4:46 pm
    Ichiro stays.

    Jeter needs to DH.

    Soriano gets pushed to LF.

    Time is running out.

    Yes, time is running out on the annoying Gardner haters, soon it will be obvious he isn’t being traded and they can all shut up.

  8. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I’m not a Gardner hater. I just think an outfield of Soriano, Ellsbury and Beltran with Ichiro as a backup is a very good one and that Gardner might bring a good return to fill a need in a trade. We waited to long on Hughes and Joba and got nothing in return.

  9. UpState February 13th, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 8:18 pm
    I’m not a Gardner hater. I just think an outfield of Soriano, Ellsbury and Beltran with Ichiro as a backup is a very good one and that Gardner might bring a good return to fill a need in a trade. We waited to long on Hughes and Joba and got nothing in return.
    ==========================================================

    We hang on to tons of prospects that just evaporate, get hurt, or implode.
    Hug waaaaaay too much.
    Trade for pieces that are usable…trade them if they’re not honestly in the plan.
    Trade them while they’re ‘hot’ and NOT on the true NYY radar screen.

    (see: Montero……done correctly)

  10. Bret The Hitman February 13th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I’m not a Gardner hater. I just think an outfield of Soriano, Ellsbury and Beltran with Ichiro as a backup is a very good one and that Gardner might bring a good return to fill a need in a trade. We waited to long on Hughes and Joba and got nothing in return.

    ____________

    Painfully obvious! Excellent points!

  11. Bret The Hitman February 13th, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Sign Jimenez, trade Nova + Murphy + Montgomery

    FOR

    Chase Headley and Huston Street

  12. rynamay February 13th, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you, Chad. I have enjoyed th PH posts.

    I am rooting for Jeter to finish strong. It’s been a pleasure to watch him for the last 20 years. I live near Baltimore and often go to games at Camden Yards. Even though the O’s fans boo him, I can’t tell you how many times they also say what a classy guy Jeter is and how much they respect him. I imagine that is how all fans see him.

  13. dan l February 13th, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    You guys are clueless at times…Gardner is not going to get traded as the Yankees value his defense so much…last year the Yankees tremendous outfield defense is what helped them over achieve allowing the team to win 85 games.

    As for prospect not panning out first you have to find roles for them on the team. I like that both Roberts and Johnson may have platoon mates this season.

    Ichiro just plain sucks…he will not make the team…

  14. J. Alfred Prufrock February 13th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Be One thing to include BG for a prime-time
    MIF, but none of these ideas are smart & the people advocating fOr them do not seem to understand that Gardner spent last seasOn hammering double and triples all over
    The Place. Again, do you just
    NOt watch the games?? The guy is amd

  15. J. Alfred Prufrock February 13th, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    The guy is a different hitter. He’s doing the stuff some Us have been screwing for him to do for amfew years like using his lower half and swinging through the ball and not scooping it. The zeal to get rid of him is like some kind Of
    Boring joke among two who just keeP showing they didn’t register the fairly dramatic improvement.

  16. pete2 February 13th, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Teams are not going to give up much for 1 year of Gardner. Maybe a decent bullpen arm.

    Do the Yankees really want to start the season with a 37 and 48 yo at the corner IF positions, with a 40 yo SS, and a 40 yo primary backup for all 3 OF positions, including CF with a relatively young but injury prone CF’er? They don’t enough MLB ready OF depth in the minors to consider trading him.

    Gardner is going nowhere unless the Yankees get killed with injuries again in the first half and wave the white flag.

  17. J. Alfred Prufrock February 13th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Pete2, which! Couldvery well happen with Ellsbury.
    Battery low and pat
    We
    Are
    Getting thunder snOw nOw

  18. Pat M. February 13th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I think Ichiro still play with the Rawlings as good if not better than Gardner, and then there’s the arm factor. Shot 8 over today

  19. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    J. Alfred Prufrock February 13th, 2014 at 8:49 pm
    Be One thing to include BG for a prime-time MIF, but none of these ideas are smart & the people advocating fOr them do not seem to understand that Gardner spent last seasOn hammering double and triples all over The Place. Again, do you just NOt watch the games?? The guy is amd
    ____________________
    I didn’t realize “hammering doubles all over the place” was defined by ranking 25th in the AL. Do you just not watch the games?

  20. Revenge of Stoneburner February 13th, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Gardner for Devon Travis – see if the Tigers bite

  21. chicken_stanley February 13th, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I don’t want to see GGBG traded either. Is it because of any baseball related or objective reason? … Nope. He’s simply one of my favorite players. Why? Who knows… There seems to be very little rhyme or reason when it comes to players I pull for. I would love to see Gardner continue to progress as a player for the Yankees. But, if he is traded or leaves via free agency, I’ll just have to move on to another favorite player (maybe Pat Venditte will eventually make the long climb to the Bronx :) )

  22. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Again, if you are heavy at one position and you have needs at another, it makes sense to deal someone with value to get something of value. If it can be done and those trades are not easy to pull off.

    I like Gardner, great defensive ballplayer with speed. But, we have a good outfield and Gardner is expendable. Ellsbury more than makes up for Gardner’s triples, he only had 2 less in 2013 and he led the AL with 53 stolen bases to Gardner’s 24.

  23. Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I think Girardi and Cashman love the dynamic having Gardner and Ellsbury in the same outfield and running on the base paths.

    There’s no way he’s getting traded now. The time for that has long passed.

  24. Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Gardner isn’t exactly expendable when he’s your starting left fielder.

    Ichiro is the expendable one in that outfield mix.

  25. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I agree Giuseppe Franco. I don’t think they will deal him, I was just making a case as to why I think it would make sense. Just one man’s opinion. We don’t have a great many trade chips of value and if we want to bolster our infield, dealing Gardner made some sense to me. I like having him on the team, I think he may even knock a few more out to right this year.

  26. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:14 pm
    Gardner isn’t exactly expendable when he’s your starting left fielder. Ichiro is the expendable one in that outfield mix.
    ____________

    If one doesn’t like a Soriano, Ellsbury, Beltran outfield with Ichiro as a backup in case of injury and as a late inning defensive replacement. Ichiro is still a very good defensive ballplayer.

    You won’t get anything for Ichiro and you would for Gardner . . . that’s the difference.

  27. Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I’d be fine with trading Gardner in a deal that’s both realistic and makes sense for the Yanks.

    None of the trade suggestions meet that criteria.

  28. Revenge of Stoneburner February 13th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Yanks would be very fortunate to obtain Devon Travis in a trade

    http://www.baseball-reference......avis000dev

  29. bbb51 February 13th, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 8:18 pm
    I’m not a Gardner hater. I just think an outfield of Soriano, Ellsbury and Beltran with Ichiro as a backup is a very good one and that Gardner might bring a good return to fill a need in a trade. We waited to long on Hughes and Joba and got nothing in return.

    Sure, but then you lose defense and who is your DH?

  30. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    I’d be fine with trading Gardner in a deal that’s both realistic and makes sense for the Yanks. None of the trade suggestions meet that criteria.
    _____________________

    No argument there. Gardner definitely has value and I would never give him away. He’s a free agent in 2015. Wonder how that will go if they keep him.

  31. Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:14 pm
    Gardner isn’t exactly expendable when he’s your starting left fielder. Ichiro is the expendable one in that outfield mix.
    ____________

    If one doesn’t like a Soriano, Ellsbury, Beltran outfield with Ichiro as a backup in case of injury and as a late inning defensive replacement. Ichiro is still a very good defensive ballplayer.

    You won’t get anything for Ichiro and you would for Gardner . . . that’s the difference

    —-

    I think some people tend to downplay if not outright ignore the age and injury history of their current outfield.

    Beltran and Soriano are both 38 yrs old and Ellsbury has a history of injuries. Girardi isn’t going to run those guys into the ground and play them everyday so their “4th outfielder” is going to get a lot of playing time this season.

    I’d rather not see Ichiro getting very much playing time. He’s just not very good anymore.

  32. UpState February 13th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I don’t think anyone wants to trade Gardner just to trade him…

    …what’s the return package ???

    That’s the question.

    Return : Montero = NO

    Return : Bailey = I think so

    Return : Cingrani = absolutely !

    …..what can he get us on the current market ?

  33. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    bbb51 February 13th, 2014 at 9:24 pm
    Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 8:18 pm
    I’m not a Gardner hater. I just think an outfield of Soriano, Ellsbury and Beltran with Ichiro as a backup is a very good one and that Gardner might bring a good return to fill a need in a trade. We waited to long on Hughes and Joba and got nothing in return.

    Sure, but then you lose defense and who is your DH?
    ______________

    I think a primary DH doesn’t make sense for this team. There’s going to be lots of mixing and matching depending upon injuries and Girardi wanting to rest players. But I understand your point, Gardner makes sense with Soriano at DH. Like I said, I don’t think the Yankees will deal Gardner unless someone comes along with an offer they can’t refuse. WE just don’t have many trade chips of value.

  34. Blojaldo February 13th, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Just a gut feeling, but I think Ichiro has a great deal of pride and may just have a better year than some may expect. I wouldn’t stick the zero label on him just yet.

  35. bbb51 February 13th, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I see Beltran and Soriano sharing a lot of the time at DH, that keeps them both from playing the field too much.

    Gardner played in 150, 159 and 145 games 3 of the 4 past years (2012 injured), I don’t see him missing many games if he is healthy.

  36. Pat M. February 13th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Senior Franco, it’s always great when you visit the LoHud and I trust your health is still excellent ???? As for the Gardner debate, I agree with Blajado as The Yanks have very few assets beyond Brett and Ivan …Now they do have a vault of Yankee dollars that are a monsterous asset which is what they need to use. . They desperately need to get young up the middle ( shortstop ) and they can move the few chips to accomplish this and spend to replace then on the open market. I still think they crave a Castro or Lawrey. At this point Jimenez or even Santana might be had on a short 2 year deal. Pitching is still a concern for me as the 2014 season beckons

  37. pete2 February 13th, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Giuseppe Franco February 13th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I’d rather not see Ichiro getting very much playing time. He’s just not very good anymore.
    ===========================================

    Ichiro was awful in the 2nd half He was ok in the 1st half. Hopefully he had some sort of injury that resolves. I do agree that it will not be a good idea give Ichiro many starts even if he is healthy, but he pulls in quite a few Japanese tourists when he does, so I guess he gets some starts at home.

    If used wisely, primarily as a pinch runner or defensive replacement, Ichiro has some value.

  38. UpState February 13th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    ThunderSnow / ThunderSleeet.

  39. UpState February 13th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NEXT…

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    a 70 lb. dog sitting in my lap let me know there was a good chance it was coming

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    Are there ANY writers that actually like the team the write for ? Is it unprofessional , biased, to root for a team you write for ? I never understood that , you don’t want a jaundiced opinion I guess , I for one think you can be an objective fan. I like to think my team journalist is similar to my physician and they like their patients..

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