I do assume that this isn’t the only thing he doesn’t want us to talk about though. I mean, he probably doesn’t want us talking about all the double plays he grounds into or all those pitches out of the strike zone he flailed at last year or the fact that he came up short in high leverage (read, clutch) situations last year either. So somebody from Derek’s camp should probably fax over a list of things on the field I’m not allowed to talk about relating to Derek Jeter before Opening Day, or this season could get messy.
Do I even have to say it at this point? We’re three paragraphs into this thing and we’re already waffling seamlessly between the premise that Derek Jeter is the uniquely special, selfless, Captain of the Yankees and the premise that he’s a uniquely insecure, immature, prima donna whose feelings have to be paid special attention to (not that they ever put it that way, of course. Jeter is just different, you see). I swear I don’t know how New York City hasn’t been pulled into some stage of cosmic limbo as a result of the staggering amount of cognitive dissonance Derek Jeter has produced in such a small area.
Um, so what? Derek Jeter is the shortstop and nominal lead off hitter for the Yankees. Brian Cashman is the general manager and head of baseball operations. Is Jeter the consummate professional who puts his team above himself at all times or is he an egomaniac who thinks what he wants is more important than what the head of baseball operations thinks is best for the team? Please, just make up your mind(s) already!
What the bloody blue ^&%$ &^$* heck does that have to do with anything? I mean seriously, the logic here is impeccable isn’t it? Following this, because your wife would be mad at you and probably leave you if you were unfaithful, it follows that they very well might leave you if they get mad about you leaving the toilet seat up or forgetting to take out the trash. They’re basically the same exact thing, right?
Seriously though, one is nothing like the other. In 2010, ownership decided to overpay for an elite free agent relief pitcher in such a way that it will probably not have much of an impact on the overall budget of the team. Cashman still didn’t think it was a good move, he said so, but they did it anyway. Cashman may be annoyed by it, but it’s nowhere near the level of the mistakes that were made in 2007-08, when the Steinbrenners were novices and folded completely at the first sign of negotiating pressure and overpaid spectacularly to re-sign Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. If I had reason to think that was going to become the standard operating procedure, I’d consider leaving that job too. Hal & Hank learned their lesson though, and things have been fine since.
I’m pretty sure I’m not required to believe anything, but be that as it may, I very much doubt this. For one thing, let’s remember what Cashman said exactly. He said he would be “surprised” if Jeter remained at shortstop through the entire contract. And, well, we all would! Or should be at least. You can pretty much count the number of guys who have been able to play shortstop everyday in the majors at 38-40 years old on your fingers, so by definition it would be a surprise if Jeter could buck the historical trend that Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken Jr., and all of Jeter’s contemporary peers (unless you count Omar Vizquel as Jeter’s peer) couldn’t escape. So no, I don’t think ownership has a problem with Cashman making such innocuous statements, or I don’t think they’d allow him to do these sorts of events.
That’s…terrible? Horrible? No good? Very bad? Really, what is Harper driving at here? I mean, I like A-Rod a lot and love watching him play, but if he’s washed up at the end of his contract but wants to play another year anyway, well, that’s nice, but I’m not going to want him brought back, as much as I may like him. Enjoy Florida, buddy.
Again, I mostly just don’t get why any of this matters. The Yankees committed themselves to paying Jeter much more than he’s worth, but not giving him literally whatever he wanted. And that’s what they did. Similarly, Jorge Posada is getting pretty old for a baseball player, the past 2 seasons have demonstrated that his body simply can’t handle the wear and tear of catching, but the Yankees are paying him a lot of money, and his bat is still pretty darn good, so the team has made the decision that he’ll be the regular DH so that he can, hopefully, get a full season’s worth of plate appearances and best help the team. It’s nice that Jorge wants to catch, and I can respect it, but that’s just not in the cards. This is why there’s management to make these decisions, isn’t it?
And honestly, what is up with everyone invoking Bernie Williams these days? Let’s be clear about this; Bernie’s playing days were over full stop! Especially considering the amount of money he wanted to come back. Did anyone else offer Bernie a contract for 2007? Did he even take a minor league deal to try to make a team? I rest my case.
Now this. While it’s silly to pretend the Yankees shouldn’t be planning for a potential Jeter move, considering that the shortstop will be 37 in June and his range is already an issue, Cashman could have easily sidestepped the question, as he has in media settings.
However, fans were paying to hear him speak at a WFAN-sponsored breakfast, and when one of them asked about Jeter, Cashman felt compelled to give an honest answer, saying he saw the shortstop moving to center field, not third base, when the time came, because he wants power at his corner infield spots.
It’s the right answer, although left field seems to be a more likely landing spot than center, considering that Jeter will be pushing 40 by the time he is forced to move.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see the point in ignoring a potential issue like this altogether. Everyone knew it was a potential problem when Jeter signed the deal (and well before that) so what is gained by pretending it won’t be an issue? Especially if Jeter is so opposed to it, having everyone else ignore it until their hand is forced strikes me as simply adding to the problem later, but again, maybe that’s just me. As a rule, I like to have a good feel for potential problems and what will, or may, have to be done to address them well in advance whenever possible.
Still, Cashman’s comments predictably started a media frenzy, largely because no one connected with the Yankees has ever addressed such a scenario. Yet the GM insisted by phone Tuesday afternoon that he didn’t understand why it was the talk of New York.
I love this trick and hope one day to master it. Take something that Person X says out of context, magnify it, otherwise distort it, and then go embarrassingly insane over it, after which you blame it on Person X for making you do it. It’s a thing of beauty, really.
“This is not a news event,” he said. “I was having a baseball chat with fans. It was not a declaration of what we intend to do with Derek. It was hypothetical. It’s no different than talking about Randy Johnson, when he was a Yankee, and saying that if he got to the point where he wasn’t starting anymore, he could be a great short reliever.”
Of course it’s different with Jeter, because of his Yankee legend status and his desire to keep such matters behind closed doors.
Yes, it’s different with Jeter. It’s always different with Jeter. Because he’s the uber-selfless captain who would never set himself above the team or demand special treatment because he’s Derek Jeter.
Does anyone else’s head hurt yet?
Yet the GM seemed unconcerned about bruised feelings.
And here’s where I lose my mind because, well, because I don’t really give a flying you-know-what about Derek Jeter‘s feelings. Derek Jeter, to me, is just about the most unsympathetic figure in the entire sports world. Aside from the fact that he’s rich and successful and marrying Minka Kelly, he’s been the epitome of a media darling in New York City, supposedly home to the meanest, toughest set of writers in the world. So yeah, color me unimpressed.
Let’s be clear, I don’t know Jeter, I’ve never talked to Jeter, I have no idea what Jeter thinks about pretty much anything, so I’m basically going off of what these writers think about him. And the picture that’s emerging gets more annoying to me everytime someone writes a new column. Jeter’s unhappy about his contract? Cry me a river. He feels disrespected? He got paid $18 million a year and given a player option for his age 40 season when no one else in the industry had any interest whatsoever in acquiring him at anywhere near that price. Please, by all means, someone disrespect me like that.
At some point, someone is going to have to hurt Jeter’s feelings like this, because no one has ever done it before. Jeter’s always been overrated, the media has generally implied that he’s underpaid, and nothing he does ever gets the sort of scrutiny any other athlete or celebrity in New York gets. The guy has lived about as sheltered a life as you possibly could in his circumstances, but now reality and age are catching up to him, and to hear basically every sports writer in New York tell it, Jeter isn’t adjusting too well to it. Continuing to shelter him and worry about stoking his feelings as he approaches 40 years old isn’t in the best interests of anyone. Derek Jeter might not want to think about having to change positions, and he might not want anyone else to talk about it. But we will, because age catches up to everyone sooner or later, and not talking about it doesn’t change that.
And if you think this is bad, what happens when Jeter can neither play shortstop nor produce offensively in 2013, then picks up his player option for 2014? And God forbid he wants to play in 2015.
At least I’ll have plenty to write about.
“My job isn’t to make friends,” he said. “My job is to do what’s right for the organization. I’ll do what I’m paid to do at all costs.”
Talking about a move that is years away wasn’t necessarily the best way to heal Jeter’s hard feelings about the contract negotiations. But should that matter? It’s clear how Cashman feels, and clear he’s doing things his way. At least until told otherwise.
To which I say: long live Brian Cashman!