Derek Jeter is and will always be a Yankee

jeter_300_030409.jpgBy Joe Auriemma
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 – Dylan Thomas

Yes, that actually is a famous poem and not just something that was made up for Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Back to School. However, this literature does apply to the topic that has our message boards lighting up like a Christmas tree and our own Steven Goldman under attack by Yankee fans.

At the end of the 2011 season, Derek Jeter’s 10-year contract expires and the Captain becomes a free agent. The Yankees need to start thinking about a plan for Jeter, who will be 37 by the time the contract expires.

Now Jeter’s defensive skills at shortstop have diminished over the last couple of years and maybe he is declining a little bit offensively. He still did hit .300 with 11 home runs and 69 RBIs last season, mind you. However, you can’t simply take a player’s numbers and apply them to the worth of the player. He has been a valuable member of the New York Yankees organization since 1995 and brings that certain intangible that doesn’t show up in a box score, heart and leadership.

If Jeter wants to remain a Yankee after his contract expires, the Yankees should try to work with him on remaining in pinstripes. However, that means making a couple of concessions on Jeter’s part. He has to understand that he’s probably not going to get any more mega deal contract offers. At 37 years old, depending on his production at that point and if he chooses to come back, the Yankees should let him know that they truly want him back, but it has to be on short-term deals for the rest of his career.

Jeter will probably also have to move positions at that point. The Yankees need to have a plan in place to make sure they can properly replace him at the shortstop with a younger player who has more range. This is a point that is probably going to be tough for Jeter to concede, but it’s something that many of the other great Yankees have done during the waning days of their career.
Left field might be the perfect spot for at that point. If Yogi Berra on two bad knees at the end of his career could play there, so can Derek Jeter. Think about the left fielders the Yankees had during the Dynasty run: Gerald Williams, Tim Raines, Chad Curtis, Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer, just to name a few.

It would have to be a complete and utter meltdown of Jeter’s all-around game over the next two seasons for the Yankees to even consider just letting this gem of a player and public relations savior simply walk away. I don’t think those concessions are too much to ask a player who has given all he has to one organization since he was just a young man. And if you are Derek Jeter, it is probably something that he will want to go along with as long as he knows the Yankees truly want him to return.



    If Derek Jeter wants to be a Yankee after his contract is up, he absolutely be given the opportunity to. Its more than numbers….a lot of these number crunchers stat geeks don’t understand that.

  2. tempny

    I agree. Will Jeter even want to continue? My thought is that he is. I just think as long as he wants to continue to play, the Yankees should find a way to continue to keep him in Pinstripes. He still has a lot to offer the game.

  3. letsgoyankees

    THANK YOU, Auriemma. I have been the standard-bearer for the keep-the Jeter-after-2010’s in the debate. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  4. bsure5

    It’s always amusing when the media brings up Jeter’s age . . . “HE’S GETTING UP THERE” . . . “HOW MUCH TIME DOES HE HAVE LEFT.” While never mentioning A-Rod’s age. A-Rod is just ONE YEAR YOUNGER than Jeter. Apparently a “formerly juiced” home run hitter has staying power. How old will A-Rod be at the end of his blockbuster contract. Certainly the man who is the face of the Yankees (Jeter) deserves as much if not more than a self absorbed (carpetbagger?)

  5. tempny

    bsure…it’s really two fold with the a-rod-jeter comment you made. A-Rod opted out of his mega contract when he was 32 years old and still in the prime of his career. The bottom line is that by the time Jeter’s mega contract is up he will be 37 years old and he has already shown some signs of deteriorating play. There is a big difference between a 32 year old and a 37 year old in baseball years.

    I personally didn’t think then and definitely don’t think now that they shouldn’t have given A-Rod a 10-year deal and probably could have gotten him back for 7.

    Even with all of that said, I still think the Yankees need to bring Jeter back when his contract has expired after the next 324 Regular season games and however many postseason games.

  6. tempny

    Hey letsgoyankees,

    Joe Auriemma here. I agree. I wrote this blog before the bombshell news hit. I really get this bad feeling that they are going to try and rehab the A-Rod injury and on April 15th they are gonna to say that he needs surgery. I hope that’s not the case. At that point, if it is true he will miss 4 months, then the situation goes from Defcon 3 to 5 in a hurry in Yankeeland.

    Your quote is definitely called for thought…Bigger fish to fry at this point.

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