Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where is Derek Jeter hiding?

The inevitable has happened.  I'm writing a post bashing or rather questioning what Derek Jeter may or may not have left in his tank.

I had originally planned on writing this shortly after the All-Star break when it first became apparent that Jeter's slump  was sticking around.  But just as I sat down at my computer to write this post  Jeter pulled out of his slump.

And then a dismal August and the beginning of September forced me to criticize my favorite player.

And here it goes.

It's not even so much the statistics that is so bothersome, it's just how quickly he has seemed to drop off so much from one year ago.

Originally I tried to play it off like he had an injury that he was not disclosing to the media.  But manager Joe Girardi never disclosed any information on an injury and Jeter was never placed on the disabled list.

Even though he was never placed on the disabled list, Jeter has still suffered through pain.  His suffering is from the lack of offensive production he is not having.

Let's look at the numbers - although normally this is arguably one of the poorest ways to judge Jeter -  it's the best way to exemplify what I'm talking about.

Jeter's career batting average is .314.  Last season, he batted .328 while finishing third in MVP voting behind winner Joe Mauer and teammate Mark Teixeira.

This season however, Jeter is batting a dismal .266.  Well below the average fans and Jeter himself are used to.

So, what's the problem?

I wish I knew.  He wishes he knew.  Hitting coach Kevin Long wishes he could figure out how to fix the problem.

Over the past few seasons Jeter has grounded into more double plays then anyone else in the league.  In an attempt to fix this problem Girardi moved Jeter into the lead off spot to avoid this situation. However, much like Jeter's offensive production this season, the plan has failed miserably.

Luckily this season Jeter has been able to hide a little bit under the radar, or as much as he can in New York.  Fortunately the Yankees still have the best record in baseball even with Jeter struggling.

There are two pressing questions that remain regarding Jeter that will have to be addressed in the near-immediate future.

The first question, how will Jeter perform in the postseason?

Many believe that Jeter will be able to flip a switch and step up his game in the games that truly count to him and the team.  However, I'm still not convinced.  If that was the case, why wouldn't Jeter have made these changes already?

Believe me, this is not the way that Jeter would like to play in his last year of his contract.

Which brings me to the last point.

How will the General Manager Brian Cashman handle Jeter's contract situation this offseason?

It is widely speculated that the Yankees will reward Jeter for the greatness he has brought the organization over the past 16 years, including 5 world series championships and numerous All Star appearances, not too mention that Jeter is THE Captain.

I agree that the Jeter's contract should not be based on this season alone.  But I'm not sure how I feel about rewarding him for his service to the organization.

I honestly can't even guess what management will offer him.  But they will more then likely over-pay to keep Jeter in the organization.

Here is what Fox's Ken Rosenthal believes will happen

"if Jeter took say, a three-year, $36 million deal, the Yankees could make it up to him by giving him a massive bonus for 3,000 hits and a lucrative post-career personal-services contract. Would $10 million a year for 30 years be excessive for this generation’s Joe DiMaggio? Perhaps, but by that point, Jeter would not count against the team’s luxury tax. In essence, he would be deferring money so that the Yankees could better compete while he was still active."

The only thing I know that will happen is Jeter will be in pinstripes next season.  Can you imagine the PR disaster that would occur if that were not to happen?

Here's to hoping that Jeter will improve by season's end and that he will forgive me for criticizing him.  I truly mean no disrespect!

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