Changes are only as hard as you make them

Of course, we’re not talking about the functional aspects of the decision, we’re talking about the political ramifications. To that end, I see two obvious sourcs of a potential problem; the local media and Jeter himself.

So far as the media goes, that really should never be a consideration at all, especially in New York. The tabloids are going to squawk no matter what you do. If Jeter gets moved to the bottom of the lineup, Girardi is an idiot and Brian Cashman is the big meanie upstairs who doesn’t get it and doesn’t respect the legendary status of Derek Jeter. If Jeter stays in the leadoff spot, then everyone’s afraid to stand up to The Captain. There’s no winning with the Post and Daily News, ever. If the Yankees win the World Series the next year, someone in those papers will have a column about C.C. Sabathia‘s opt-out clause the day after.

Jeter’s own reaction to it, however, could be the difficult part. After all, no one likes getting demoted, and it is likely to wound Jeter’s pride. But this goes back to what I said the other day about overcoming status quo bias; the best way to implement a difficult decision is to simply do it and plow ahead. If the Yankees decide Jeter is being moved down the lineup, move him down and move on. Hear out his complaints in the short run, and if they persist too long just make it clear that it’s not his decision and that what’s done is done and as a player his job is to get in line. That sounds harsh, but let’s be honest, if we were talking about Curtis Granderson and not Derek Jeter this wouldn’t be nearly so controversial.

The thing is, once you’ve made the decision and stuck with it, everyone will eventually adjust to the new norm. Instead of being Derek Jeter: Yankee Legend, Hall-of-Famer, starting shortstop, and leadoff hitter he’ll just be Derek Jeter: Yankee Legend, Hall-of-Famer, and starting shortstop and everyone will more or less forget the great lineup controversy.

None of this should be taken as another argument for moving Jeter to the bottom of the lineup per se, but rather a general critique of the way organizations make and implement decisions. The bottom line is; simple changes like re-working the batting order or deploying a new bullpen strategy are only difficult if you make them difficult.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

11 thoughts on “Changes are only as hard as you make them

  1. Here here.

    The execution of this decision is how you described it. The non-baseball consequences of this decision really need to be ignored. Great article.

  2. I'm sorry. Who would bat leadoff in place of Jeter then? I don't see any suggestions. Girardi tried batting Gardner at the top and the results were decidedly mixed, at best. Clearly none of the following should bat clean-up because of their RBI potential: Granderson, Tex, A-Rod, Posada, Cano. So who then? Swisher? Martin? Martin is a below-average runner and is almost as inconsistent at the plate as Jeter. And Swisher, well, 'nuff said. So if your post is really an argument for batting Gardner leadoff then you need to argue that point–not just shoot arrows at Jeter's place up there.

    • "So if your post is really an argument for batting Gardner leadoff then you need to argue that point–not just shoot arrows at Jeter's place up there."


      "None of this should be taken as another argument for moving Jeter to the bottom of the lineup per se, but rather a general critique on the way organizations make decisions."

  3. The "right" answer for the lineup seems to be that Jeter leads off against lefties and Gardner against righties. Every article that tries to capture Jeter's real production reaches the same conclusion. Unfortunately for the Yankees, no one else grabbed the opportunity to force the change in terms of a better shortstop and/or better lead off hitter. Gardner has come around but really struggled mightily early in the year. Nunez fielding has been downright scary this year.

  4. Swisher's on-base percentage is 11 points higher than Jeter's, weirdly. The best option at lead-off is clearly Gardner. I think that slump at the beginning of the season was just that; a slow start to the season. There's no real reason why someone would bat much worse at 1st than 9th and the last few weeks have shown us what a talent he is. With his ability to get into scoring position with those RBI guys behind him, Gardner makes the most sense to lead off, his splits (albeit with a small sample size) are very favourable, his average and OBP are actually higher against lefties than righties.

  5. Take away Jeter’s first PA of the game stats and he’s a .224 hitter. He stinks and the sooner the bum knows it the better. Only play him against lefties an in day games while sitting him the rest of the time!

  6. I think the Yankees are waiting for Jeter to get his 3000th before they move him down. They don't want it to seem they are embarrassing him in the midst of "the chase." He will get that hit soon enough, and then a couple of weeks later, they will move him down.

  7. A) I didn't tie it to Jeter, the BBD writer did. I found the analogy interesting from an organizational standpoint.

    B) Hey, inferences from past writings are fair, and sure, I think Jeter should be moved down in the lineup. You'll find supporting evidence for that position in those posts.