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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Harper: Hold the tears, Derek Jeter still must steer Yankees ship

Hey…“Tommy helms while Jeter steers” was a line from my Tribute to Patrick ####### Sky song!

A season of pomp and press conferences officially begins here on Wednesday for Derek Jeter, but as curious as I am to hear more about what motivated him to announce his impending retirement, I’m more curious to find out if he can still play shortstop.

At a high level, that is.

...Still, the everyday lineup could be among the best in baseball, thanks to the big-ticket free agents the Yankees added to the outfield and behind the plate. It’s just that you can see the pieces falling into place a little more smoothly if Jeter can hit, say, .290 and, range issues aside, make all the plays he’s supposed to make while playing 120 or so games at short.

That would give Joe Girardi the latitude he’ll need at DH for Alfonso Soriano and/or Carlos Beltran, freeing him to play Brett Gardner in the outfield regularly and improve the defense dramatically. Even then the manager would need some DH days for catcher Brian McCann and perhaps Teixeira, so you can see what an issue it would be if Jeter can’t play short regularly due to any lingering effect from the broken ankle.

In addition, as good as backup shortstop Brendan Ryan is with the glove, the Yankees would pay a significant price offensively if he has to play several times a week.

...In other words, Jeter would have to struggle mightily before anyone connected to the Yankees is likely to intervene. And in that case, they’d surely hope Jeter would have too much pride to play at a substandard level.

For the moment, however, there’s no reason to believe Jeter won’t at least hit as he has in the past, slashing the ball through the right side. But there’s no avoiding the lingering question about whether he can play shortstop with a creaky ankle at age 40.

And that’s not one he can answer Wednesday at his press conference.

Repoz Posted: February 19, 2014 at 03:29 PM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 19, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4659221)
For the moment, however, there’s no reason to believe Jeter won’t at least hit as he has in the past, slashing the ball through the right side.

Age catches up with everyone.
   2. madvillain Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4659222)
.Still, the everyday lineup could be among the best in baseball, thanks to the big-ticket free agents the Yankees added to the outfield and behind the plate.


Um, no, check their ZIPS.

If everything goes right, they will score a slightly better than average amount of runs and give up a slight better than average amount. They will win around 85 games and perhaps get a 2nd wild card.

   3. SoCalDemon Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4659232)
I would bet the over on that batting line. However, I am not convinced that Jeter can come anywhere near even Jeterian levels of defense at SS with that ankle.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4659236)
If everything goes right, they will score a slightly better than average amount of runs and give up a slight better than average amount. They will win around 85 games and perhaps get a 2nd wild card.

No, that's the expectation. The most likely outcome.

If everything goes right they'll win 95+ games. If everything goes wrong, they'll win 75.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4659240)
I was going to post basically what #4 did.

FWIW, the fangraphs projections have them at 83-79.
   6. JE (Jason) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4659249)
And in that case, they’d surely hope Jeter would have too much pride to play at a substandard level.

Classiest Yankee evah!
   7. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4659251)
And in that case, they’d surely hope Jeter would have too much pride to play at a substandard level.


I expect that if Jeter struggles badly the result will just be a long DL stint rather than voluntary retirement or Griffey Jr. retirement (please retire so we don't have to release you).
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4659256)
Still, the everyday lineup could be among the best in baseball

Sure, if they can rent a time machine set to about 2009.

For the moment, however, there’s no reason to believe Jeter won’t at least hit as he has in the past, slashing the ball through the right side. But there’s no avoiding the lingering question about whether he can play shortstop with a creaky ankle at age 40.

Yeah, it's so easy to pivot on a pitch with a creaky ankle at the age of 40. Piece of cake.
   9. madvillain Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4659267)
If everything goes right they'll win 95+ games. If everything goes wrong, they'll win 75.


I don't think their middle case is 85. I think their middle case is 80 wins and I don't see much upside in their lineup, hence "everything going right" is pretty much no injuries and 85 or so wins. Even with perfecdt health, I don't see Roberts, Jeter, Tex, Wells, Ichiro and company being any good. In facdt I'd put the over under at WAR out of that group at a combined 2.

I think the're gonna suck in other words.
   10. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4659271)
[9] Wells is no longer on the Yankees.
   11. RJ in TO Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4659273)
Even with perfecdt health, I don't see Roberts, Jeter, Tex, Wells, Ichiro and company being any good. In facdt I'd put the over under at WAR out of that group at a combined 2.


If they get perfect health, Ichiro won't play much at all. And Wells has already been released.
   12. dlf Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4659279)
I expect that if Jeter struggles badly the result will just be a long DL stint rather than voluntary retirement or Griffey Jr. retirement (please retire so we don't have to release you).


While I don't expect it, I could see a Mike Schmidt exit. A team that had previously been doing well throughout the player's career having reached a significant dip. A player who only a short time ago was one of the best in the game and one of the best to ever play his position. Advancing years. A slow start for both player and team. No major milestones approaching. A sudden retirement early in the season that from all outsiders' perspective came without any push from management.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4659283)

Jeter autographed baseball: $674.98

http://www.steinersports.com/imperfect-derek-jeter-autographed-mlb-baseball.html


Lou Gehrig “Luckiest Man” speech 8x10 plaque: $24.98

http://www.steinersports.com/lou-gehrig-luckiest-man-farewell-speech-8x10-plaque.html

   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4659285)
Let's remember that in his last healthy season, Jeter hit .316 & had the most hits in MLB. He's repeatedly outperformed BBTF expectations, so if he can stay healthy, he might well be a plus player, and far better than any other 2014 Yankee options at SS.
   15. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4659290)
In Barry Larkin's age 40 season (his final season), he hit .289/.352/.419 (OPS+ 101) in 111 games.

If the Yankees can get that out of Jeter, they should be absolutely thrilled.
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4659302)
Let's remember that in his last healthy season, Jeter hit .316 & had the most hits in MLB. He's repeatedly outperformed BBTF expectations, so if he can stay healthy, he might well be a plus player, and far better than any other 2014 Yankee options at SS.

No question about that, and all patriotic Americans will be rooting for him. But don't forget the only important words you wrote in that last sentence.
   17. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4659308)
Even with perfecdt health, I don't see Roberts, Jeter, Tex, Wells, Ichiro and company being any good.


Wells and Ichiro have already been covered. The 2013 Yankees had three regular infielders who combined for -0.4 WAR, so if Jeter, Roberts, and Teixeira have any health, they will be a huge upgrade.

Cano can't be replaced of course, but swapping McCann for Stewart, Ellsbury for Wells, and Beltran for Ichiro will help quite a bit. Not because McCann, Ellsbury, and Beltran are going to be MVP candidates, but because Stewart and Wells were below replacement level and Ichiro was pretty bad too. Even a full season of Soriano is a major improvement over having the moldering remains of Travis Hafner DHing half of your games.

People seem to have already forgotten just how terrible the Yankees were last year, especially at hitting.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4659321)
Last year was fun for me mocking a few people here who were acting like the 85-win Yankees were a 70-win team. But it would be even more fun if somehow this year's Yankees are a 70-win team but a few people come out of the woodwork and act like they are a 85-win team.

Sadly, I don't think the Yankees are going to comply and win that few games.
   19. Publius Publicola Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4659325)
People seem to have already forgotten just how terrible the Yankees were last year, especially at hitting.


People have also apparently forgotten that Rivera and Pettitte have retired.
   20. Moeball Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4659329)
I’m more curious to find out if he can still play shortstop.

At a high level, that is.


Why should he start now?
   21. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4659332)
Rivera is also irreplaceable, of course, but the nature of the closer role does constrain how much that loss can hurt.

Pettitte's loss is offset by the loss of Hughes. You may not think that Tanaka or Pineda can do what Pettitte did last season, and you may be right, but all they really have to do is be better than what Pettitte and Hughes combined to do -- which is 330 innings of 95 ERA+. That's not nothing, but it's not Cy freaking Young either. Besides, if Pettitte hadn't retired you'd be laughing at Yankee fanboys for counting on a 42-year-old starting pitcher to contribute anything at all.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4659334)
I'm not a grammar maven but ... I am fine with Yankees' ship or Yankee ship but Yankees ship just seems awkward.

FWIW, the fangraphs projections have them at 83-79.

Which is also the same projection as for the A's, Angels and Rays and tied for the 4th best projection in the AL. The two top AL teams -- Tigers and Red Sox -- are projected to 87 wins. Those projections basically say the Yanks' chances in the AL are somewhere between the Braves' and the Pirates' in the NL.

Anybody know if those projections include Tanaka? And if they're over the threshold (which it seems they are) I don't know why they haven't signed Drew already.

   23. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4659337)
Fangraphs Tanaka projection:

W L ERA GS G SV IP H ER HR SO BB WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
14 8 3.54 31 31 0 197.0 186 77 21 171 52 1.21 7.81 2.38 3.57 3.8

EDIT: Sorry, but I don't do formatting.
   24. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4659342)
People have also apparently forgotten that Rivera and Pettitte have retired.

Mariano Rivera retired? How did I miss that?
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: February 19, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4659343)
I think the projection includes Tanaka
   26. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4659361)
Let's remember that in his last healthy season, Jeter hit .316 & had the most hits in MLB.

Let's also remember the preceding years so that we don't pretend a dead-cat bounce based on bloops and bleeders happening to find holes was a performance level he was able to consistently maintain.
   27. ptodd Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4659374)
madvillain Posted: February 19, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4659222)

.Still, the everyday lineup could be among the best in baseball, thanks to the big-ticket free agents the Yankees added to the outfield and behind the plate.



Um, no, check their ZIPS.


The zips projections for the 2014 Yankees offense look remarkably like the Red Sox 2013 projections (heck, even the 2014 offensive projections).
   28. ptodd Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4659377)
14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4659285)
Let's remember that in his last healthy season, Jeter hit .316 & had the most hits in MLB. He's repeatedly outperformed BBTF expectations, so if he can stay healthy, he might well be a plus player, and far better than any other 2014 Yankee options at SS.


That was 2 years ago on a healthy ankle. 2 years is a long time at that age. About 40 of his hits were to the IF per B-ref. Might not get as many IF hits now.

I think if Jeter was feeling healthy and confident about 2014 he does not retire. The odds are much better than Jeter has a collapse rather than returning to 2012 levels
   29. ptodd Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4659379)
cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4659308)

People seem to have already forgotten just how terrible the Yankees were last year, especially at hitting.


Nobody's forgotten, but the odds of them having perfect health is so low nobody really expects it. Roberts is 36, Soriano is 38, Beltran 37, Jeter 40. Tex is off an injury that usually takes over a year to recover from. Roberts, McCann, Jeter, Tex, Ellsbury and Beltran have all had injury issues in recent years. Johnson has not played much 3B. The Yankees have precious little depth at middle IF positions, 1B and CF/RF unless you include the hitless Ryan, the gloveless Nunez and a 40 yo Ichiro in serious decline.

Last years lineup also had an anchor at the middle of the order in Cano. This years lineup lacks a hitter of that caliber. Some good hitters but nobody that pitchers will really fear.
   30. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 19, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4659390)
He's repeatedly outperformed BBTF expectations,


Well we are like economists. We will be right....eventually!

Mariano Rivera retired? How did I miss that?


Ask Ray about it. He knows a bit about it.

As for NY, they are like most teams. If their pitching is good, they'll be competitive. Though it'll be interesting to see how the pen goes without Rivera.
   31. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4659409)
I think if Jeter was feeling healthy and confident about 2014 he does not retire.


This is what I keep thinking.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4659414)

"Though it'll be interesting to see how the pen goes without Rivera."

How did it go in 2012 without Rivera?

   33. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4659433)
Last years lineup also had an anchor at the middle of the order in Cano. This years lineup lacks a hitter of that caliber. Some good hitters but nobody that pitchers will really fear.

I dunno, I'm pretty sure that even with all those Medicare cards in the lineup, they'll present fewer serious gaps in the lineup than they did last year, when Cano was pretty much all they had from start to finish. The real questions are even more in the rotation and the bullpen than they are in the starting nine.

The other problem is that even if the Yanks are improved over last year, which on paper they've got a fair chance to be, they still might have a tough time beating 2013's 85 wins, considering that their Pythag was only 79-83.
   34. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:31 PM (#4659439)
Mariano Rivera retired? How did I miss that?

Well thank god we'll have Derek Jeter around for several more years.
   35. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4659452)
Pettitte's loss is offset by the loss of Hughes. You may not think that Tanaka or Pineda can do what Pettitte did last season, and you may be right, but all they really have to do is be better than what Pettitte and Hughes combined to do -- which is 330 innings of 95 ERA+. That's not nothing, but it's not Cy freaking Young either.


Well, in all likelihood the Yankees will give a lot of starts to this year's Phil Hughes, we just don't know who he is at the moment.

And it's not limited to the Yankees. Every year fans look at some crappy pitcher who got way too many starts the previous year and think that just replacing him will help immensely. But unless you're the 2013 Pirates, teams end up giving way too many starts to someone* who actively and thoroughly sucks.

* Or, more likely, multiple someones.
   36. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4659503)
Well, in all likelihood the Yankees will give a lot of starts to this year's Phil Hughes, we just don't know who he is at the moment.
...
* Or, more likely, multiple someones.


Not counting Hughes, the 2013 Yankees gave 14 starts to multiple someones who sucked. And Sabathia gave them 211 innings of 85 ERA+.

If CC is bad again, they've got a serious problem. If another Phil Hughes emerges to take a regular turn, they've got a serious problem. But they also have a real chance to be better in the SP department, even with the loss of Pettitte and even assuming "way too many starts" going to AAAA cannon fodder. I'm not predicting greatness; I'm merely suggesting the possibility that 2014 Sabathia, Tanaka, and Pineda could combine to contribute more than 2013 Sabathia, Pettitte, and Hughes. If that happens, and Kuroda and Nova don't regress too much, they just might wind up with a stable and decent rotation.

The other problem is that even if the Yanks are improved over last year, which on paper they've got a fair chance to be, they still might have a tough time beating 2013's 85 wins, considering that their Pythag was only 79-83.


I think an 85 win team that is also an 85 pythag win team isn't a particularly bad guess.
   37. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4659504)
Well, in all likelihood the Yankees will give a lot of starts to this year's Phil Hughes, we just don't know who he is at the moment.
...
* Or, more likely, multiple someones.


Not counting Hughes, the 2013 Yankees gave 14 starts to multiple someones who sucked. And Sabathia gave them 211 innings of 85 ERA+.

If CC is bad again, they've got a serious problem. If another Phil Hughes emerges to take a regular turn, they've got a serious problem. But they also have a real chance to be better in the SP department, even with the loss of Pettitte and even assuming "way too many starts" going to AAAA cannon fodder. I'm not predicting greatness; I'm merely suggesting the possibility that 2014 Sabathia, Tanaka, and Pineda could combine to contribute more than 2013 Sabathia, Pettitte, and Hughes. If that happens, and Kuroda and Nova don't regress too much, they just might wind up with a stable and decent rotation.

The other problem is that even if the Yanks are improved over last year, which on paper they've got a fair chance to be, they still might have a tough time beating 2013's 85 wins, considering that their Pythag was only 79-83.


I think an 85 win team that is also an 85 pythag win team isn't a particularly bad guess.

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