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Jeter: “Now I’m old again”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 05, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Derek Jeter

Rewind seven games.

On April 25, the Yankees opened a home series against the Angels, and Derek Jeter had a single and a walk that night. His season slash line improved to .294/.385/.338. Obviously no real power, and right-handed pitchers were giving him some trouble, but the overall production had been pretty good. Nowhere near his prime, of course, and ideally there would be at least a little bit of power in the No. 2 spot, but Jeter had been a perfectly capable table setter.

Jeter’s played six games since then, and in those six games he’s reached base three times. All singles. He hasn’t scored a run, hasn’t driven in a run and hasn’t drawn a walk. His new slash line is .240/.311/.271, and as my friend Jeff Passan wrote this weekend, Jeter hasn’t looked good in the process of seeing those numbers slip.

“When I was in spring training, I got a lot of ‘You’re old’ questions because I didn’t have a lot of hits,” Jeter said. “Two or three weeks into the season, everyone said, ‘You look young now; you’re swinging the bat well.’ Now I’m old again, so I guess I fluctuate.”

Derek JeterAll baseball players fluctuate, and it seems that opinions on Jeter’s offensive decline depend entirely on whether you believe this particularly fluctuation is an inevitable in-season slump or the inevitable impact of age and injury. Jeter’s 39 years old, he missed nearly all of last year with a series of lower-body injuries, and now his numbers are ugly a little more than a month into the season. Is this a permanent situation, or simply a bump in the road?

“It’s what hitters go through,” Joe Girardi said. “When you’re older, that question is always gong to come up, but the question wasn’t asked two weeks ago when he was swinging the bat well. We have a few guys struggling right now. We didn’t score a ton of runs on the home stand, so we’ve got to get some guys going, get some more production. … What year was it when people thought it was over before (Jeter) got his 3,000th hit? Then he put up another 200-hit season after that. I understand people’s concerns. It’s a couple years later, I understand that. But for the most part we’ve left him alone and he’s figured it out. We need him to do that.”

If you fully believe that Jeter is finished as an offensive player, then of course it makes sense to get him out of the No. 2 spot in the order. It even makes sense to think about alternatives at shortstop. If you believe there’s still a chance that Jeter is going to get this turned around again, it seems to make some sense to show that confidence and leave him where he’s always been through his career.

For now, it seems Girardi is going with the latter approach, which shouldn’t come as much of a shock given his history of showing faith in his players. Girardi said he would not consider it difficult to talk to Jeter about a lineup change if that seemed necessary, but Girardi said he doesn’t think it’s necessary just yet.

“Derek is pretty easy to talk to,” Girardi said. “I’ve shared ideas with him before about things that I possibly might do and it’s never been a problem. Derek is about winning. Derek is probably going to tell you, ‘If you think that’s the best thing to do, then do it.’”

Is it the right thing to do? Maybe. Jeter still has a .388 on-base percentage against lefties this season — and the Yankees face lefties the next two nights, so I wouldn’t expect a change during this series any way — but right-handers have been a real problem for him. Maybe he’ll eventually move down in the order against righties, but that day is not today. It’s also worth acknowledging that the Yankees don’t exactly have a can’t-miss shortstop knocking on the door. Yangervis Solarte has been terrific, but he doesn’t have much shortstop experience. Brendan Ryan is a great defender, but he’s never been much of a hitter. Doesn’t seem likely that Stephen Drew is going to show up any time soon.

“I always look at the big picture,” Jeter said. “This is not the first time I’ve struggled over four or five games, and I will do it again at some point this year. That’s just how it goes. For me, it’s a feel thing. I want to feel good. If I feel good, the results will be there. Sometimes you feel terrible and you have results, but I’d rather feel good. When I feel good, I trust the results will come.”

Associated Press photos

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28 Responses to “Jeter: “Now I’m old again””

  1. SweetSpot May 5th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Chad, the master of timely, insightful posts. :)

  2. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Very thoughtful post Chad…..

  3. bbb51 May 5th, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Girardi said he would not consider it difficult to talk to Jeter about a lineup change if that seemed necessary, but Girardi said he doesn’t think it’s necessary just yet.

    LOL

    This is all bs. It was a year and a half that Jeter didn’t hit rhp last time. Joe did nothing.

    Jeter. SS. #2 hitter. Period. That’s what he should say, because that’s what it is.

  4. Poetkiosk May 5th, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    A balanced take Chad. I think we all expect Girardi to give Jeter every benefit of the doubt, which is part of the frustration.

  5. bbb51 May 5th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    There shouldn’t be a problem with moving a slumping player until he comes out of the slump…

  6. Poetkiosk May 5th, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Well some things are more important than winning :)

  7. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    SS,

    We are in first place because the division has a bunch of mediocre teams..Using the cliche of “the toughest division” doesn’t make it anymore truthful or accurate…And yes, those injuries are catastrophic because if the team is based on pitching primarily, losing 2/5 of your rotation is a very hard blow, so catastrophic is a very apt word to describe it..Especially when 2/3 of the rest of the rotation is struggling…And yes, it is the result of poor roster architecture (TY for the orthographic correction)..Because the team lacks balance and as I said whether you like it or not is filled with age, declining skills and injury risks..But more importantly, with very little depth in very important areas ( the infield mostly)..Plus the offense hasn’t been all that good either

    Was it the result of this OS alone?..No, it has taken the better part of the last 4 to 5 years to make it so..

  8. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Another thing…We actually overcrowded positions we had plenty of depth ( the OF for example ) and neglected other of need ( The Infield )..How can this not be poor roster construction?

  9. bigdan22 May 5th, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    From Chad above:

    “It’s also worth acknowledging that the Yankees don’t exactly have a can’t-miss shortstop knocking on the door.”

    ——

    You think that’s not by design? Why do you think the Yanks have said no to Drew about a million times. Even publically. If Drew were on the team the pressure to put him at SS would be intense. Ryan is the perfect caddy for Jeter in his final season. Not a threat at all.

  10. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    bigdan22 May 5th, 2014 at 9:33 pm
    From Chad above:

    “It’s also worth acknowledging that the Yankees don’t exactly have a can’t-miss shortstop knocking on the door.”

    ——

    You think that’s not by design? Why do you think the Yanks have said no to Drew about a million times. Even publically. If Drew were on the team the pressure to put him at SS would be intense. Ryan is the perfect caddy for Jeter in his final season. Not a threat at all.

    =================

    They could have reinforce the infield in other positions

  11. SweetSpot May 5th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I would hardly call Tampa, Baltimore, the Red Sox and Yankees mediocre teams and injuries to a couple of starting pitchers cannot be described as being due to poor roster architecture; that happens to almost every team at one time or another. Nova is young by the way as you know. As a matter of fact, I could make the case that the Yankees are pretty well equipped to deal with Nova’s surgery with Phelps and possibly Warren available and now Aceves. I’d call having those pitchers on the 40-man, pretty good roster architecture. As far as the position players are concerned, my bet is on McCann adapting to a new team, new league and coming on strong and I see nothing that would lead me to believe that Soriano’s bat speed has diminished or that Beltrans is not capable of raking anymore. Sometimes, slumps are just that . . . slumps. The age comment is a fair one though.

  12. bigdan22 May 5th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Two more hits for Zolio. He’s now 3 for 30 batting right-handed. He was 0 for 24 so he’s on a hot streak now lol!

    BTW, a lot of hitters on that Scranton team. Not many prospects, but real hitters. At least for AAA. Musty over .300 now. Even Romine had a dinger today.

  13. bigdan22 May 5th, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    “They could have reinforce the infield in other positions”

    —-

    Sure Luis, and perhaps they should have and maybe even tried. But the bottom line is, they are getting way above average production from 3b and 1b so far and average from 2b so it’s not like those positions have been the problem.

  14. SweetSpot May 5th, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    “We actually overcrowded positions we had plenty of depth ( the OF for example )”
    ___________

    How is that the case. You have five ballplayers (Soriano, Beltrans, Ellsbury, Gardber and Ichiro)
    to fill three outfield spots, one DH spot (most of the time) and one late inning defensive replacement/spot starter.

    One injury and then what?

  15. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    If you think Phelps, Nuno, Warren or Aceves can actually replace Nova, you are dreaming..The pitching depth is very good..But neglecting the others is what’s bad..Not to mention that we no longer have a homegrown core…Which is the fundamental stone to build a consistent winner..

    About the rest of the division..They are mostly flawed teams that range between 80-85 wins..That’s mediocre IMO…Nowhere near the competition we had a few years ago

  16. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    One injury and then what?

    ==================

    We have no core..And the closest players we have are OFers…You have Zoilo and Flores which both are ready for the show as they showed it in ST..Extending Gardner, signing Beltran after signing Ellsbury has blocked them for the near future..

  17. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    bigdan22 May 5th, 2014 at 9:41 pm
    “They could have reinforce the infield in other positions”

    —-

    Sure Luis, and perhaps they should have and maybe even tried. But the bottom line is, they are getting way above average production from 3b and 1b so far and average from 2b so it’s not like those positions have been the problem.

    ================

    Well, it is IMO..Since they built a team around pitching..Defense has to be a must… But the main problem are the injuries to Nova and Pineda and the struggles of CC and Kuroda

  18. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Also, as good as Ichiro is playing..He shouldn’t be on the roster..Not if you are trying to plan for the future

  19. SweetSpot May 5th, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Nova was not the next coming of Sandy Koufax. He was good at times but frustratingly inconsistent.

  20. SweetSpot May 5th, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Why? Which Mike Trout like player is Ichiro preventing from having a roster spot>

  21. luis May 5th, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    By the way..It seems to be working the Xbox one thing

  22. luis May 5th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    They don’t have to be Mike Trout..But filling the roster with age, who no longer have starting abilities is a waste of a roster spot, no matter how you want to look at it..They just have to show starting ability..Those two players have it.

    Gardner was a nice player to have as long as he was cheap..This is no longer the case…I would have traded him after signing Ellsbury..Maybe they will though

    As for Nova…If not for the injury, he probably would have been at the top of the rotation along with Tanaka by the end of the season..None of those pitchers have that ceiling…Only Betances does

  23. pete22 May 5th, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Looking at it from another side, the team is 16-14 despite poor performances by Jeter, Soriano, CC, Kuroda, McCann and more recently, Beltran. With Pineda due back in a month to bolster the rotation, and improved play by some of the above players, the team will look much better. How much better I can’t say, but I don’t think this is as bad a team as it has looked over the homestand. It also was not as good as its record of 15-10 to start the season suggested.

  24. Triple Short of a Cycle May 5th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    As far as the position players are concerned, my bet is on McCann adapting to a new team, new league and coming on strong

    ———————————–

    Salty seemed to have no problems adjusting to a new team but keep on making excuses for this dreadful signing

  25. trisha - true pinstriped blue May 5th, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    “Why do you think the Yanks have said no to Drew about a million times.”

    According to reports, the Yankees offered Drew a multi-year contract early in the off season but took it off the table when he didn’t accept it and others were made offers.

  26. luis May 5th, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    pete22,

    No team is as bad as it looks when it’s losing. And no team is a good as it looks when it’s winning…This is a better team than last season..But it is hardly a true contender either

  27. EliasInNH May 6th, 2014 at 12:58 am

    Oh Laz Diaz. What a jackass.

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