It’s impossible to feel bad for the New York Yankees, who find themselves down 0-2 in the ALCS and headed to Detroit without Derek Jeter, who will remain behind to receive treatment on his broken ankle. They are, after all, the Yankees. And while nobody loves to enjoy the Yankees suffering more than me, there’s no joy in watching one of the top half dozen shortstops in baseball history helped off the field in obvious agony. I don’t feel good about this either, but I’ve grudgingly matured enough to come to grips with the fact that, while Jeter may be overrated in some circles, he’s still fantastic. And it’s always much more fun when he’s on the field for the Bombers.
Now, the loss of Jeter is probably not going to hurt the Yankees much this postseason. With the rest of the club’s offense, with the exception of Raul Ibanez, deciding to take October off, Jeter would have often been a one-man show. Moreover, the chances of Jayson Nix having a hot couple weeks and performing better than Jeter would have is not insignificant, especially since The Captain was playing through a bum ankle before it broke. And in the playoffs, where a couple of hits can be incredibly important, Nix’s timing could end up being better than Jeter’s. As for defense, I’m not sure any of us really know if Nix is going to be a better defender than Jeter, who was back to being pretty subpar defensively this year, but he probably won’t be that much worse.
It would be difficult to imagine Derek Jeter in any uniform other than that of the New York Yankees, but complicated negotiations during the 2010 off-season led many to accept the idea that the shortstop might not be a member of the Yankees forever. Of course, worries at the time might have been a bit exaggerated, as Jeter eventually agreed to a three-year deal worth $51 million, including a $3 million buyout if he opts out of an $8 million salary for the 2014 season.
Given his success this season, it seems entirely possible that Jeter could opt out of his contract at the end of 2013 and truly test free agent waters for the first time in his career. According to ESPN, Jeter was asked about such possibilities last night.
Peyton Manning changed teams this season after 14 seasons with one team. Could you see yourself doing that?
To which Jeter replied
Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes. It’s a business. People forget that.
The final Getting Blanked of the week! Today’s episode features the kind of raw, unfettered realness you’ve come to expect from the GB crew: mea culpas and breathless fanboyism – the total package.
We talk about the Wild Card races, a Jeter injury and the unstoppable A’s. Then Parkes falls on his sword for last week’s Prop Hate before we fire up an all-new edition of Prop Hate. Also: I talk to Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. Seriously.
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The Yankees are in trouble. Sort of. Back on August 1, they were 6.5 games ahead of both Tampa Bay and Baltimore, and seemingly cruising to another American League East title. Things have not gone well with respect to the standings for the Yankees — while they played just over .500 ball in August, both the Orioles and Rays got very hot. After last night’s loss at Camden Yards, New York is tied with Baltimore for first and only two games up on Tampa Bay. Fans and Yankees-aligned bloggers understandably are getting antsy.
According to Cool Standings, things aren’t that much different today than they were at the beginning of August. On August 1, Cool Standings gave the Yankees about a 92 percent chance of making the playoffs. Today, Cool Standings puts the Yankees chances of making the playoffs at “only” 79 percent. This is not to dismiss the incentive to win the division rather than get stuck in the new one-game wild card playoff – it’s to point out that the Yankees are quite unlikely to miss the playoffs.
This has not dissuaded some from taking the Yankees’ faltering hold on the division as an opportunity to severely criticize the teams’ moves of recent years, and see this as the bill coming due for expensive contracts for aging players. However, how much criticism is warranted of a team that is simply paying for services rendered?
Is it weird that Derek Jeter is so polarizing? Probably not. I mean, he is the most recognizable face on possibly the most loved/hated/loved-to-hated sports franchises in the world (no one loves to hate the Red Sox, right? They have their fans, and everyone else despises them. Despises Red Sox fans, I mean.), so I guess it isn’t surprising. (No, I’m not talking about that “other stuff” that recently came up. Dustin covered that other stuff earlier, which is great, because that means I do not have to mention it.).
Still, while everyone agrees that overall he’s been a great player, we can’t seem to figure out how great. On one hand, there is the issue of fielding. It took a long, long time, but pretty much everyone now agrees that Jeter has generally been, at best, a below-average fielder. Exactly just how far below average depends on whom you ask and which fielding metric you prefer. That generates a lot of the debate: is he one of the best shortstops of all time with a bat that made up for a subpar glove, or has his fielding been so bad that despite his bat he’s a borderline Hall of Famer who gets a boost from all the postseason memories?