Tag:Derek Jeter
Posted on: May 25, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 12:09 pm

What happens when A-Rod passes Jeter in hits?

Rodriguez, Jeter

By Evan Brunell

In Filip Bondy's New York Daily News piece about the need for manager Joe Girardi to coordinate Derek Jeter's playing time so that he can reach 3,000 hits on or before June 16 comes an interesting note about Alex Rodriguez nearing his own significant milestones.

Jeter is currently pacing to reach 3,000 hits during the week of June 15-21, and the Yankees finish their homestand on the 16th before embarking on road trips to the Cubs and Reds. Obviously, New York would prefer Jeter to get the milestone in front of his fans, but that can't happen unless Jeter stays in the lineup every day and continues his 1.1 hits-per-game pace. In an attempt to keep him in the lineup, the Yankees used Jeter as the DH on Tuesday, but he didn't register a hit.

But A-Rod is closing in on 3,000 himself, notching his 2,720th hit during Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays. His .302 career average gives him 188 hits a season, a pace that would earn him 3,000 hits by the end of the 2012 season. However, given that he's only averaged 134 hits the last two seasons and is on a similar pace this year, he'll likely earn the milestone in the first half of 2013, right around the time he bangs home run No. 700.

Bondy then asks the question, fraught with peril: Who will finish with more hits in his career? Jeter or Rodriguez?

Despite being 256 hits behind, it's likely Rodriguez will easily pass Jeter, given that he's one year younger than Jeter and his contract has three additional years on it than Jeter's. Rodriguez already has far more home runs than Jeter, but no one cares about that -- home runs were never part of Jeter's game, and Rodriguez came to town with the edge there anyway.

No, 3,000 hits is a far bigger deal in New York -- and what with performance-enhancing drugs having dulled the luster of home runs, 3,000 hits may be the more significant milestone. Even the possibility that Rodriguez will surpass Barry Bonds for the all-time home-run lead (not as sure a thing to happen as it appeared a few years ago) will be tempered by A-Rod's own admission of steroid use.

Will Yankee fans embrace Rodriguez's pursuit of 3,000 as much as Jeter's? Doubtful. Jeter's own milestone will still be fresh in the minds of many, and they'll be reminded of it when Rodriguez gets his own 3,000th hit as Jeter will still be under contract to New York. Doesn't mean he'll be at shortstop or even in the lineup the day it happens, but Jeter will be there to remind people just how good he was and how much more memorable the payoff of 3,000 hits was, especially given that Jeter's 3,000 will have all come in a Yankees uniform. That underscores the longevity argument: This is a man who is in his 17th season with New York -- 19 in 2013. Rodriguez can't compete with that, even if he'll have been with the Yankees for a decade in 2013.

A-Rod can't compete with longevity, he can't compete with Yankee rings (just one compared to Jeter's five), and he definitely can't compete in cachet, as many Yankee fans regard Rodriguez as a necessary evil. While Yankee fans will celebrate Rodriguez's 3,000 hit mark, it won't have the same impact. He'll join Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs and Paul Waner as Yankees who have over 3,000 hits in a career who played for the Yankees, but he will not be on the Jeter pantheon, even if he'll become just the second Yankee behind Jeter to get 3,000 in pinstripes.

But what if -- more like when -- Rodriguez passes Jeter's career hits mark? Can the Yankees and fans avoid a celebration of that? Let's say Jeter retires after the 2013 season with 3,300 hits, a reasonable number. (This would require Jeter not picking up his $8 million player option.) A-Rod would pass that by the time his own contract expires after the 2017 season. Is that celebrated? It has to be acknowledged, right?

Jeter's legacy will still be fresh in the minds of many, and the vast majority of fans -- front-office included -- won't be keen on celebrating Rodriguez's passing of Jeter. They can probably get around it by noting that it's not a record for hits in a Yankees uniform. Jeter will keep that mark to himself for a very long time. But will it be appropriate for New York to ignore A-Rod's passing of the mark, no matter how many hits he collected in pinstripes?

Sure, the Yankees could always trade Alex Rodriguez by then and avoid the headache. But A-Rod has a contract that makes him virtually untradeable, so that's not happening. In the years to come, New York's going to see significant records set by Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Rodriguez himself. With respect to A-Rod, it's doubtful that even the Yankees know what they'll do when his day comes.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 12:11 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 1:35 am

Umpire too quick to eject Gonzalez

Chris Dickerson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

This is not to diminish what happened to Chris Dickerson -- it was scary and I surely hope Dickerson is OK -- but the story to me is how home plate umpire Dan Bellino overreacted and tossed pitcher Mike Gonzalez.

Gonzalez had just given up the lead on a two-run double by Robinson Cano and then a 93 mph fastball got away from Gonzalez and hit Dickerson in what appeared to be the helmet. The ball reportedly cracked the helmet and was taken to a Baltimore hospital to be examined.

Dickerson had a welt on his left temple and was replaced by pinch runner A.J. Burnett, but the Orioles had to get another pitcher up and use Jeremy Guthrie -- Thursday's scheduled starter -- to clean up the mess. He allowed a sacrifice fly and then got two more outs to end the inning with the Yankees leading 4-1 in the 15th inning.

There was no reason to toss Gonzalez. The former Pirates closer was held out of the game until the 15th inning for a reason -- he's been horrible this season, allowing 19 hits in 12 2/3 innings and has an ERA of 8.53. Gonzalez later told reporters he'd tried to throw the ball low and away and it got away from him. With a runner on third in an extra-inning game and no outs, there was no reason for him to try to throw at Dickerson, who just came up from the minor leagues on Tuesday. Bellino just saw a batter on the ground and perhaps a scary injury and tossed the pitcher without giving proper thought.

"It was kind of shocking," Gonzalez told the New York Times. "I hit him, and obviously I get thrown out. I was more worried about how he was doing down there. You see a player go down like that, obviously in the head area, I really wasn't sure if he threw me out. First of all, I didn't understand why, and second of all, Dickerson's down there on the ground. That's the last thing you want to see."

Gonzalez said he didn't argue because he didn't think that would be right with Dickerson on the ground -- a classy move on his part.

Bellino wouldn't talk to the Times reporter, but crew chief Brian Gorman said Bellino tossed Gonzalez because he thought it was intentional -- a conclussion with no supporting evidence other than the body. 

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was not happy, according to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko: "First of all, you take a deep breath. Regardless of what decision that umpire makes, a young umpire just starting out in the major leagues, you've got a guy laying on the ground and you don't know how seriously he's hurt, and I have a lot of concerns for that. I'm not going to go out there and vehemently argue while a guy's laying on the ground, potentially a real tough situation physically."

In the interesting subplot that seems to come up in these extra-long games, the Yankees were forced to shuffle their lineup more to make up for the loss of Dickerson. Eduardo Nunez moved from shortstop to right field and Derek Jeter to abandoned the designated hitter to play shortstop. 

Meanwhile, Showalter said he may start Brad Bergesen to start Thursday night against the Yankees. Baltimore was rained out on Tuesday, giving Showalter some flexibility with his rotation.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:59 pm

Jeter did not have whole Posada story

By Evan Brunell

Girardi, Posada, JeterTime for one last volley in the Jorge Posada fiasco he found himself embroiled in with manager Joe Girardi.

Derek Jeter inserted himself into the controversy by defending Posada and saying he thought the longtime backstop, in his first year as a full-time DH, did not need to apologize to the team and that Posada should be allowed to take a day to gather himself.

Except he didn't have the full story, so Jeter's comments only served to inflame Yankees brass, who held a conference call with Jeter recently to clear the air.

Jeter told his bosses, according to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, that Posada had only told Jeter that he asked for a break -- not that he had refused to play. There's a difference between asking for a break and refusing to play, and Posada crossed that line. After being apprised of the real situation, Jeter was then absolved of any wrongdoing by the brass.

Heyman added that the "underlying issue" is that Posada does not like nor trust Girardi, stemming from when they were teammates. Girardi played for the Yankees from 1996-99, and in that time period was constantly jockeying for playing time with Posada, who was an up-and-coming catcher that eventually received the majority of playing time before Girardi departed. It's easy to see how there could be friction between two former teammates competing for the same job, and there is likely many behind-the-scenes stories we will never hear.

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 4:51 pm

Yankees furious at Jeter's comments on Posada

By Evan Brunell

JeterDerek Jeter's comments about Jorge Posada have reportedly upset his bosses, as ESPN's Buster Olney reports.

This is difficult to fathom, as Jeter's comments were rather bland, as he told reporters Sunday that he felt Posada did not need to apologize to the team.

"From my understanding," Jeter said, "he talked to [Yankees manager Joe Girardi], told him he needed a day. If that's the case, then there's nothing wrong. It's not the first time someone has come out of the lineup, whether it's something physical or some other reasons."

"One thing I told him is if he needed a day to clear his mind, there's no need to apologize [to the team]," Jeter added. "Because I think everybody understands that. Everybody here understands that sometimes this game can be tough on you mentally. Everybody's struggled. And if that's the reason why he came out, then he doesn't need to apologize. If it's something else, then yeah, but not for that."

However, the Yankees seem to be furious with Posada, and Jeter may bear some of the fallout after already clashing with management during the free-agent process that finally saw Jeter return to New York. The Yankees had reportedly considered immediately releasing Posada, a rather large and irrational step, especially if all Posada asked for was a day off to get himself together. That's not uncommon in baseball. It does seem like there's more to the story that is being public, but this is all we have to go on for now.

The Yankees are reportedly upset that Jeter essentially exonerated Posada of any wrongdoing, especially as Jeter is team captain. Posada had already admitted he was wrong in his actions and apologized to Girardi.

UPDATE: Hank Steinbrenner has now said he has no problem with Jeter's comments, just that he's angry the Yankees have lost five games in a row. Also, the Yankees had a conference call Monday morning with Jeter, team president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner. After the call, Jeter said everyone is "on the same page."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:20 am

Pepper: Peavy's encouraging return, young guns

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: See the video above for my takes on Justin Masterson, Zach Britton, Daniel Hudson, the Angels without Kendrys Morales and Jake Peavy's encouraging first start of 2011.

OVERTHINK MUCH? Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a theory as to why Derek Jeter was struggling earlier in the season. It's that Jeter was pressing due to feeling the pressure of the upcoming 3,000-hit milestone. "I'm not concerned about Derek," Steinbrenner told the New York Post. "Milestones can be difficult. They can be a big weight on a guy." Oh, yeah, and then this: "He's obviously broken through that and is hitting well now." As if right on cue, Jeter went out and had an 0-6 day Wednesday night. So is he feeling the pressure again? Let's all take a deep breath and realize guys are going to have ups and downs over the course of 162 games. You too, Hal.

FIRST OF MANY: Royals prospect-turned-first baseman Eric Hosmer went yard in Yankee Stadium Wednesday night for the first home run of his very young career. To top things off, he came through with the go-ahead RBI on a sacrifice fly in extra innings. He's sure to see some hills and valleys throughout his rookie season, but thus far he's been really solid. Cling to that .250 batting average if you must, as Hosmer's sporting a .409 on-base percentage and a .909 OPS, which is outstanding.

BACK ON TRACK: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro started the season absolutely on fire, but then drastically cooled. In fact, he recently had a 12-game stretch where he hit .137 with an abysmal .311 OPS. The Cubs' rivals came to town, Mike Quade dropped Castro in the order and things seem to be back where Starlin likes them. In the past two games, he's 6-8 with a triple, four RBI, three runs and a walk.

MORE HUG-GATE: Wednesday in Pepper we discussed the completely meaningless yet somehow blown out of proportion hug between Albert Pujols and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Hendry laughed about the talk that fateful embrace sparked. Pujols offered up his thoughts on the situation Wednesday afternoon. "I figured that would happen, that they would play with it," Pujols said. "At the end, it's not what you do on the field. It's what kind of person you are off the field. That's the kind of relationship you want to build with somebody you respect. He's on the other side. I'm on our side. I just think it's kind of ridiculous. Three writers came and talked to me about that and the contract. "Are you serious? C'mon." (StLtoday.com) Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times says Cubs fans should forget about Pujols for two reasons: 1. He's not signing with the Cubs; 2. They'll be better off in the long-haul for it.

TORRE SETTLING IN: Joe Torre is ready to attend the first owner's meetings in his new role of executive vice president of baseball operations. The first meeting's agenda doesn't appear to have any impact in terms of on-field play, but there is one interesting nugget in this article: Torre's reason to retire from managing was that he couldn't take losing anymore. "It wasn't balanced out by the winning anymore. I hated it," Torre said. "I was more ready not to do what I've been doing for years. When the Commissioner made this job offer to me, I asked him a few times if he thought I could do it. It was the insecurity of not knowing what the job entailed, even though it's baseball-related. But it has been fun and very energizing for me." Good for him. Honestly, he's 70, who needs that kind of day-in, day-out stress at that age anyway? (MLB.com)

I MIGHT BE A SADIST, BUT ... : Grant Brisbee over at SB Nation asked how much money it would take to step into the batter's box and face Aroldis Chapman right now -- keeping in mind that he can hit 105 on the radar gun and has walked nine of the last 14 batters he's faced. The stipulation is that you could wear a helmet but no "Barry Bonds armor." Honestly, I'd give it a go for free just to see what it looked like from there. My biggest issue isn't so much the fear of getting drilled, but the fact that he's left-handed (I'm a lefty and they always had me mentally whipped when I played). Then again, I haven't been hit with a pitch in probably 11 years and never took one more than 90 mph. Maybe I'll take some cash for the fictional at-bat afterall.

CREDIT WHERE DUE: Tigers manager Jim Leyland was going to give slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera the day off Wednesday to give him a few days off (the Tigers have an off-day Thursday) before a weekend series to rest his sore back. Instead, Cabrera waved him off and insisted on playing. (MLB.com) Keep this in mind whenever you hear people complaining about how the guys only play for the money and don't really care about the results. Sitting down would have had no effect on Cabrera's earnings. Since the complainers like to use real-world examples, compare this to having your boss tell you to take the day off and you insisting on staying at work (yeah, sure you would). Oh, and he had a two-RBI double in the fifth to give the Tigers the lead. They would win 9-7.

IN THE CINCY AREA AND LIKE SMOKED MEATS? The Reds have put in a new restaurant called Mr. Red's Smokehouse, and it will open Friday for the first game of the Reds' series against the Cardinals. On the menu, you'll find smoked ribs, turkey legs, pulled pork and chicken wings -- in addition to rotating specialty items. This weekend's item is "smoked Cardinal" (it's actually quail). Click here for a video tour of the new smokehouse.

HAIL DELAY: Via Big League Stew, here's a video of the hailstorm that caused an hour-plus delay to Tuesday night's Twins-Tigers game in Minnesota. Yes, that is golf-ball sized hail and a good amount of it.

IF YOU CARE ABOUT DYKSTRA: I'm pretty well over him at this point, and have been for years. If you are interested in what's become of Lenny Dykstra's life, according to this interview, by all means click through and read it. Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com got an exclusive interview with Dykstra's limo driver.

HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN: Roger McDowell's suspension is almost over, as he'll rejoin the Braves Friday and resume his duties as their pitching coach. (MLB.com) I'd encourage fans across America to heckle him and test if those sensitivity classes paid off.

CANADIAN DOLLARS: An interesting discussion here, in that -- as long as the Canadian dollar is valued higher than the American dollar -- players for the Blue Jays are actually earning more money than their contracts dictate, assuming they cash checks in Canada. It's the exact opposite of how it used to be, when players used to get traded to either the Expos or Blue Jays and take a hit. (Slam Sports)

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 1:03 am

Vintage Jeter returns on Mother's Day

By Matt Snyder

One of the most exhaustively covered storylines of the 2011 season to this point is how Derek Jeter is not a good player anymore. He's too old, his bat is too slow, he can't play defense, he's not even fast anymore, etc. We get it.

Sunday, all the naysayers had to sit back and keep quiet -- if only for a day.

Early in the game, Jeter collected his first stolen base of the season. In the fifth inning, he connected on a home run -- his first in 259 at-bats. Since that seemed like far too long a drought, he went ahead and hit another bomb his next plate appearance. He finished the day 4-6 with two runs and three RBI. Throw in the steal and pair of homers and there wasn't much more he could have done to help the Yankees win -- which they did, 12-5.

Like I said, it was vintage Jeter.

He's actually been providing decent production the past few weeks, not that any of his detractors would admit it. Entering Sunday -- which we'll exclude because the numbers would be greatly skewed by the huge game -- Jeter was hitting .302 with a .356 on-base percentage in his past 13 games. Those are hardly the numbers of a worthless player.

Look, I understand why there's been so much Internet ink used on Jeter this season. He's polarizing. The stats-only crew thinks he's abominably overrated while the gut-feeling crew think he does things you can't measure in stats -- so now that he's starting his decline, the stats-only crew feels the need to constantly tell you why he's not very good. It's like they're finally getting through to the masses, so it's an overreaction.

Additionally, Jeter plays for the most polarizing team. He's still paid like a superstar, and he's getting closer to the hallowed 3,000-hit mark. So it makes sense that his demise has been greatly covered.

It's also very true that one game doesn't change the fact that he's definitely on the downturn of his career. I won't dispute he is entering his twilight years, because he is. He turns 37 this year, so it's only natural he's in decline.

It's just that he doesn't suck, either. A bad few weeks to start the season doesn't prove he's cooked any more than a four-hit, two home run game proves he's back to his old self. As with most arguments in life, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

On Sunday, though, Jeter partied like it was 1999.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 4, 2011 5:03 pm

Derek Jeter heading in right direction

By Evan Brunell

JeterDerek Jeter's struggles at the plate have been well-documented, but Jeter himself feels as if he's not struggling and should be back to being an elite hitter before long.

He does have reason to believe that, as he is hitting .300 over his last 10 games. He's still hitting way too many groundballs on the ground and not hitting for enough power, but still, .300 is .300.

"When I come to the stadium, I don’t try to think about what’s already happened," Jeter told page/NYY">Yankees+Blog%29&utm_con">The Journal News. "How I feel now, I feel good. I can’t change anything that happened in the first month of the season. Yeah, I didn’t swing the bat well. I probably was swinging a lot mainly just on my arms, and I wasn’t using my legs. I think as of late, I’ve been using my legs a lot better."

Hitting coach Kevin Long agrees, saying that driving the ball comes from using the lower half of the body -- but even as they continue to work getting Jeter to drive the ball, the grounders are here to stay.

"He’s obviously a guy who lets the ball travel," Long said. "And when you let the ball travel, the ball’s going to be on the ground. That’s the mechanics of the swing."

Speaking of swing mechanics, Jeter admitted he's largely scrapped much of the changes he underwent in the offseason to his swing.

"I sort of went back to some old ways,” Jeter said. "It’s a matter of getting the timing. I adjusted to having more time, and then I had to go back to adjust to how I used to be. It’s taken a while, but right now I feel good."

Hitting .300 in the last 10 games is a positive, but there's no indication yet if it's a trend in the right direction or an outlier. That .300 batting average is on the strength of 12 hits in his last 40 at-bats, but removing just one hit plummets that average to .275. And who's to say that extra hit didn't come on a botched defensive play or a dribbler hit in the right direction? 

No, don't proclaim Jeter "back" just yet, but don't worry: everyone and their mother is keeping an eye on the situation.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 3, 2011 3:02 pm

Concern over Derek Jeter increasing


By Evan Brunell

Derek Jeter's start to the season is painful, there's no question about it.

The Yankee captain is a shell of his former self, hitting just .250/.313/.270 with no pop in his bat. He's hitting over 72 percent of his batted balls for groundballs, which is no way to perform unless you're Ichiro Suzuki.

As the days wind on, fans are becoming more and more concerned with Jeter's play, and the "lunatic fringe," as the New York Daily News' Bob Raissman puts it, contending that it's time to trade Jeter. (And who in their right mind would want to acquire Jeter?). Even the media is getting in on the concerns -- well, unless you're Michael Kay or Susyn Waldman, but speaking of lunatic the fringe...

A former Yankee who knows a little bit about growing old in pinstripes tried to explain what's wrong with Jeter.

"It does become frustrating for a player when every day you hear about your age and that you're slowing down," O'Neill said Saturday. "You start getting it in the back of your mind and you're trying to prove people wrong instead of just going out and playing."

Media and fan pressure doesn't help, but is it truly completely responsible for Jeter's struggles. Not so much. What they can do is compound struggles and be used as a source of blame. For example, say Jeter continues struggling and is dropped to No. 8 in the lineup (why has this not happened yet?), he could easily choose to take out his frustrations on the media and refuse to speak to reporters for debating Jeter's offense. It doesn't mean it will happen, but it's easily envisioned.

Is it hard to imagine Jeter bursting out in a fit of negativity and blaming the media? Yes, it is, but it was just as hard to imagine that two years ago with David Ortiz, who shrunk from all the pressure and cracked several times, turning from the happy-go-lucky slugger he once was to a moody DH avoiding reporters. Even now, he's not the same.

If Jeter continues to struggle, the media limelight will ratchet up to levels he's never experienced before, and it will all be negative. This is a man who is nearing 3,000 hits and has a three-year, $51 million deal in his pocket, but all that means nothing if he's not producing on the field. Add in fan and media pressure and it's a lot to work through. For now, Jeter is staying resolute as he told YES' Jack Curry Sunday that he does not believe he is struggling.

Despite Jeter's poor start off a concerning 2010, it's not time to write him off. The previously mentioned Ortiz is proof of that, but unless things click soon, he may not be able to avoid the fact he's struggling. No one else is.

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Category: MLB
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