What Does the Future Hold for Derek Jeter?

July 24, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

At the end of last season baseball critics were doing nothing short of calling for Derek Jeter’s head. They said his defense hurt the team and his range had completely deteriorated. They mocked him at the plate accusing him of becoming strictly a ground ball hitter. Age had caught up with the once invincible Yankee captain.

However, people forget that his defense struggled last season at the same time he was dealing with a quad injury. His bat had slowed after getting nailed in the wrist by a fastball…and he still ended up finishing the season at .300.

This year, Jeter has answered all the detractors with his play on the field. He is having a bounce-back defensive year as his range has improved considerably, especially when going to his left.

The consistency at the plate has returned as Jeter is hitting .316 with 10 home runs, 18 stolen bases and is doing exactly what a leadoff hitter needs to do by accumulating a .393 OBP.

But we can’t forget that the man is 35-years old. Age catches up with everyone sooner or later, even Yankee captains. Other shortstops, such as Cal Ripken Jr., have had to move positions in the latter years of their careers due to their decreasing ability. So will be the case with Derek Jeter.

The question is, where can the Yanks put him?

First base is out of the question with Mark Teixeira signing that eight-year deal before the season started. A-rod is signed on until 2017 so third base is full. Maybe the outfield?

With Melky Cabrera and Bret Gardner both having solid seasons and top prospect Austin Jackson bound to end up with the club sometime next season, it seems a little crowded outside the infield as well. You can just about forget about DH too, Jeter doesn’t have the pop to be a typical designated hitter.

With Jeter’s contract expiring in 2011, New York’s front office and management is going to have a few uncertainties. Short of an apocalyptic event straight out of a Stephen King novel, Derek Jeter will be re-signed to a long and rich contract. But it is possible that that contract could hurt the team.

Their is a good chance Jeter will still be able to hit effectively after the 2011 season, but play shortstop at age 38…no chance. And what will the team do then? Where can they stick Jeter on the field to get him at-bats without benching possibly a more capable player at that time?

Both the captain and the team will have some serious decisions ahead of them. Until then let’s just be thankful the old Derek Jeter is back.

Interesting side note: Jeter in French means to throw

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