Monday, March 23, 2009

This might get my fan card revoked

This might get my Yanks fan card revoked: I agree with Jim Caple. There, I said it. (Two WBC posts in one day? Deal with it, please.)

Errors certainly are part of the game. These things happen. But the question is why was Jeter playing shortstop ahead of Jimmy Rollins in the first place?

Yes, I know. Jeter is a true Yankee, a future Hall of Famer, one of the game's most respected players and a proven winner who won a World Series as recently as the dawn of the century. And if your goal is to not hurt anyone's feelings, then you start him at short. But if your real goal is to reach the championship -- and isn't that supposed to be the point of playing in the WBC? -- then your starting shortstop is Rollins, the much superior fielder. You start Rollins at short and have Jeter DH, not the other way around.

I mean, that's what you do if you really care about winning.
It's not like the Yanks have a player of Rollins' caliber waiting to get some PT; they don't. But in this instance, with a superior defensive player in Rollins waiting to grab his glove, there's no reason that Jeter should be on the field at this point in the game/series. Jeter should have been DH-ing the whole game, or if you wanted to try something, put Jeter at 1B instead of DeRosa.

I loathe Caple as a "typical Yanks basher" who will write anything so long as it's anti-Yanks. Sure, ESPN has a huge audience who likes that sorta thing, but I find it lazy and hackneyed. But in this case, he's spot on.

Ken Rosenthal notes today that there are two prospects emerging in the Yanks farm system that could eventually take over when Jeter abdicates his spot, no matter how ugly that's gonna be.
Just as the emergence of shortstop Elvis Andrus persuaded the Rangers to move Michael Young to third base, the rapid development of two young shortstops eventually might compel the Yankees to approach Derek Jeter about a change.

The issue could not be more sensitive — Jeter, who turns 35 on June 26, wants to continue playing short, and he will be a free agent at the end of the 2010 season.

Scouts, however, have been buzzing all spring about Ramiro Pena, 23, and Eduardo Nunez, 21, both of whom have received increased exposure with Jeter participating in the World Baseball Classic.
[...]

"They're two of the better young kids I've seen ... two legitimate core players for the future," one scout says. "They're not that far from being major-league ready — they have some tools and they know how to play."

Will they hit?

"Their offense will not keep them from playing — they have at least survivor skills with the bat," the scout says. "I enjoy watching them. They're exciting players. They bring a lot of energy."
"Survivor skills"? Nice backhanded compliment!

7 comments:

Alex K said...

Why not have Jeter ride the pine? Dunn should DH and Victorino should have played RF. If Jeter must play then I think 1B was the best spot for him.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

That, too. Dunn is a freakin' butcher out there. You were watching more closely than I was!

tHeMARksMiTh said...

You also have to think about the Yankees here. By that, I mean Jeter needs to play the field on occasion in order to be ready to play the regular season for the Yankees. Yes, Rollins is the better fielder, but Johnson has to worry about the teams as well. Maybe Jeter shouldn't have been playing out there last night, but Johnson really can't have Jeter DH the entire time. Practice only gets you so far. They play so few games relative to ST that he's bound to be in games he "shouldn't" be in.

Ron Rollins said...

Didn't Rollins have some kind of injury? They had this same argument after the Puerto Rico game?

And since it's no longer a dirty little secret about Jeter's fielding, and the entire world knows it, when does he become a LF'er?

Alex K said...

I think Rollins was sick during the PR game.

BillP said...

tHeMARksMiTh brings up a important point. Morgan or Phillips (don't remember which; call me prejudiced, but morons all sound the same to me) made one of their rare good points yesterday that the way to do it would be to carry one star per position, and have the rest of the position-playing roster filled by competent MLB backups who don't expect to see a lot of time anyway.

So you start Rollins every game, and his backup is, well, Eric Bruntlett. Or Augie Ojeda. He gets his work in if the game is out of hand late, but he's not expecting to play his 7-9 innings every day the way a Jeter would.

Then if Rollins gets hurt, as the Longoria-for-Chipper swap showed, you can just go out and get yourself a Stephen Drew or JJ Hardy (or a Jeter, if you must) to start the next game anyway. There's just no need to carry more than one of that calibre of player at the same position--if the manager is going to feel pressure to play those guys when he has them (and I'm not convinced that it's as big of a deal as TMS says, but Davey Johnson apparently is, which of course is what really matters), then those extra guys are just plain hurting the team.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Bill,

The only thing is that rosters can't be changed during the round.