Nearly all of the great SS’s, particularly the bigger ones, eventually moved from SS to yield to a younger, more athletic body. Ripken, Yount, Ernie Banks to name just three. Yount moved from SS at age 29, when he was still young enough to make the all star team as a CF. Ripken waited until age 36. Banks moved to 1B at age 31. Hell, ARod moved from SS to 3B, yielding to Jeter, in 2004 at age 28.One thing Jeter has always done well is play the political/PR game in New York. My guess is that he doesn't allow it to get to a situation in which he appears to be the old man whom the team is trying to work around, and even if moving off short isn't his preference or idea, he'll find a way to play it as though it was, and people will write story after story about his selflessness.
Despite his declining ability to get down on a ball to his left, I do believe Jeter is still a tremendously gifted athlete who could probably adapt to another position rather quickly. He has the natural instinct to play the game and it would not surprise me at all to see him make a Yount-like jump to the OF and do well out there. He can still run with those long legs. And his arm strength has never been an issue. Could he also move to 2B? Sure, I guess, but then where does Cano go?
I can see Jeter recognizing, after 2010, that it’s time for someone younger, more skilled to take over the SS position. I think he will not have to be forced to another position; I think he will sooner come to management with the suggestion than they will bring it to him. Frankly, I am guessing management is scared as hell to do anything that might rub the Cap’n the wrong way.
Friday, November 14, 2008
What Happens to Jeter?
Jason has a good post this morning using the Varitek situation as a springboard for contemplation about what happens to Jeter when his contract is up after 2010: