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Friday, April 20, 2007

N.Y. Sun: Goldman: New Position for Jeter May Be Inevitable

Wha?...the rank of The Face of Baseball isn’t high enough.

When the day comes for Jeter to move, there will inevitably be wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments. An era will be ending, and the captain will be insulted, but the Yankees are in the business of winning pennants, not protecting the feelings of any one ballplayer. The moment Jeter can be of greater benefit to the Yankees by not playing shortstop is the moment he should move, and no later.

This is not a simple matter. Whatever Jeter’s defensive flaws, up to and including this point in his career, his bat has mitigated. Any grounder that bled through on Jeter, that another shortstop might have fielded, went for a single and had perhaps a one-in-three chance of becoming a run. This was insignificant compared with the runs he produced with his bat. Almost any shortstop the Yankees acquire would be certain to reverse this equation, saving a few more singles than Jeter did while putting far fewer runs on the scoreboard. Similarly, Jeter’s bat, impressive at shortstop, would be less an advantage at a position like third base, where greater hitting prowess is easier to find.

Repoz Posted: April 20, 2007 at 11:26 AM | 91 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 12:14 PM (#2340200)
the Yankees are in the business of winning pennants, not protecting the feelings of any one ballplayer

You'd think so...but what happened when a GG SS came to NY in a trade?
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2007 at 12:24 PM (#2340204)
You'd think so...but what happened when a GG SS came to NY in a trade?


Jeter started winning Gold Gloves.
   3. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 01:13 PM (#2340227)
Gold Gloves are overrated; how often does a superior defender lose out to a perennial winner?
   4. -- Posted: April 20, 2007 at 01:18 PM (#2340231)
Gold Gloves are overrated; how often does a superior defender lose out to a perennial winner?


Certainly every time Jeter won one ....
   5. PJ Martinez Posted: April 20, 2007 at 01:45 PM (#2340250)
I haven't read the article, so maybe he mentions this... but wouldn't it make some sense right now for the Yanks to pick up a cheap, good-field, no-hit shorstop (any of those lying around) and move Jeter to first?

I know that's easier said than done-- who knows how Jeter adjusts, it's a big change to make midseason, and obviously Jeter loses a lot of value. But if you're going to have a smooth-fielding outmaker in the lineup, he should really be somewhere other than first base (because having a defensive whiz there just doesn't add enough on the field).
   6. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 20, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2340251)
I know this will make me sound like a fan boy, but I thought Mark Ellis was robbed last year. I don't get too excited about it, though, the GG's being the baseball equivalent to the Grammys and all.

So where does Jeter go? And when did the Duke brothers decide to perform another sociological experiment?
   7. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2340253)
but wouldn't it make some sense right now for the Yanks to pick up a cheap, good-field, no-hit shorstop (any of those lying around) and move Jeter to first?
The Yankees actually have one lying around themselves. Not sure I'd agree with that move, but if they want to do, there's your guy
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:01 PM (#2340256)
"So where does Jeter go?"

He should go to right next year. His fly catching ability and strong arm should make him a plus defensively out there. Who the hell knows what they're actually gonna do though. He'll probably be at SS for the next 5 years.
   9. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:04 PM (#2340261)
GG's being the baseball equivalent to the Grammys and all.

I always think first of The People's Choice Awards. Or, come to think of it, The Special People's Choice Awards.
   10. PJ Martinez Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:05 PM (#2340262)
Thanks, RB-- I wondered if there was one in the system.

I certainly don't think it's a move the Yankees _need_ to make. Although if Jeter's back continues to bother him (isn't that part of the problem?), then I suppose that could change. They could give Jeter some time at DH while he adjusts to first.
   11. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:15 PM (#2340270)
"Jeter has nowhere close to a rightfielder's arm."

Yeah, that's wrong.
   12. Repoz Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:23 PM (#2340271)
"Jeter has nowhere close to a rightfielder's arm."

Bah...his magical sidearm flip could travel 500ft!

The player would be safe...but
   13. catomi01 Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2340272)
lets go crazy then.....jeter to center, damon to left, matsui to 1st when he returns, gonzalez to short, mientkiewitzkistein as a late inning replacement until matsui knows what hes doing, and phelps to the minors to see if he can catch well enough to bump nieves from the roster.
   14. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:27 PM (#2340274)
I know BPro isn't very popular on here, but they seem to think it's A-Rod that's slated for an eventual move to first, not Jeter. It seems a better fit to me. However, one of the popular criticisms of Jeter's defense is his complete inability to move left; I'd think first base would help that.

In a related but semi-digressing point, I was watching the Indians/Yankees game yesterday (from the Indians' fan POV--ouch), and Jeter looked horrible on a particular play. OK, not horrible, but it really stood out to me. A weak groundball was hit to short and Rodriguez ran to his left, scooped it up, and fired it high to first. Mientkiewicz had to jump off the base to catch it, and it was initially (I don't know if it still is) ruled an error. Had it been an on-target throw, it would have been a very close play and the runner probably would have been safe anyway. The problem is, on replays, it shows Jeter just standing there at short, waiting for the ball to come to him instead of charging it. Rodriguez clearly interceded and made it a close play. Why on earth the SS wasn't charging a slow-roller straight to him was beyond me, but it seemed that in trying to turn Jeter's inaction into an out, Rodriguez got tagged with another error. It was kind of a bizarre lack of fundamental infield defense (charge the slow grounder)--So much so, that I'm wondering did anyone see this play differently? I'd be willing to believe I saw it wrong, because I just can't think of an excuse as to why Jeter was standing there.

The day before that, incidentally, Johnny Damon faceplanted in CF running in on a bloop that he had no business being able to catch, and replays once again showed Jeter ambling out to the grass, standing about 10 feet from where the ball would eventually drop for a hit. I thought he made that play all the time.

Jeter has nowhere close to a rightfielder's arm.

He's almost Ecksteinian in that he has to wind up (or in his case, jump) to make the throw from deep SS to 1B. Omar is half his size and makes that throw from his knees.
   15. Randy Jones Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2340276)
phelps to the minors to see if he can catch well enough to bump nieves from the roster

Phelps was a Rule V pick, he would has to stay on the 25-man or go back to Baltimore.
   16. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:36 PM (#2340281)
"He's almost Ecksteinian in that he has to wind up (or in his case, jump) to make the throw from deep SS to 1B. Omar is half his size and makes that throw from his knees."

I've seen some crazy #### on this board, but seriously, the notion that Jeter doesn't have a stron arm is ####### out there. Have you seen him play baseball?
   17. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2340285)
"stron"

That should be strong, obviously. And I suggest you go out and try doing the jump throw if you think it makes it easier to throw the ball with any velocity.
   18. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:41 PM (#2340286)
Gorp, #B's are supposed to get slow rollers to short. SS's play deep. They'd never get to slow rollers in time.

He's almost Ecksteinian in that he has to wind up (or in his case, jump) to make the throw from deep SS to 1B.

You think that jumping helps you get extra zip on throws? Have you ever tried it? It's the opposite. Planting your right foot (for righties) gives your throws the most leverage.

Have you ever played ball?
   19. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:44 PM (#2340289)
I'm one of the biggest Jeter's defense bashers out there, but seriously, his throwing mechanics are freaking phenomenal AND he has an outstanding arm. Thank goodness he has a good arm or else I don't think he would've ever played SS and then we wouldn't have this wonderful discussion about his defensive "wizardry."
   20. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:45 PM (#2340291)
I owe the cowboy a coke.

I was gonna say that some of the nonsense posted on BTF justifies the "you've never played the game, so your opinions are worthless" type of response, but then I would have owed you another coke.

Why don't pitchers jump in the air to add to their fastball? Because they get their velocity from driving off their back leg. Same principle goes for position players. The jump throw-snap throw is all arm, and while it may get the job done, it's only used when there's no time to plant your back leg.
   21. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:46 PM (#2340292)
I've been caught. I have never played the game of baseball, nor watched one before. It's the orange one with the black lines, right?

SS's play deep. They'd never get to slow rollers in time.

Ordinarily, yes, but he seemed so in position to make the play.
   22. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:49 PM (#2340300)
Ordinarily, yes, but he seemed so in position to make the play.

Maybe he was, but I guarantee you that the 3B is always in a better position to make the play. Always, as in unless he trips over his tongue.
   23. sotapop Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:49 PM (#2340302)
if you throw while you're jumping, it's all arm. (I've always wondered why he doesn't plant and make a stronger throw, but...)
and if you watch enough of Jeter, you see he's excellent at relay throws. I've always figured him for the Robin Yount-style move to CF -- a good fit for his ability to read and break on pop-ups, and his average to plus arm -- and it's a prestige position, esp. for the Yankees, where they can say he's carrying on the DiMaggio-Mantle tradition.
   24. bunyon Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:53 PM (#2340304)
Fundamental infield defense says that any groundball to the 3Bman's left is his if he can get to it. Even if it is straight online to the SS, if the 3Bman, moving to his left, can field the grounder, he does. He'll get it quicker and is moving toward 1B to make the throw. I didn't see the play and Jeter should have been moving, but, with most TV feeds, the camera was on the ball and not the fielders. Did Jeter not move at all or did he stop once ARod got to it? The latter would make perfect sense and, in fact, be fairly typical.

That is one of my gripes with TV broadcasts. They should simply show a wide angle from behind the plate and then show closeups on replay once the play is over. Not being able to watch fielders before and during the pitch and then their movements in response to the batted balls makes it hard to really know what is going on.
   25. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:56 PM (#2340305)
Baseball is FUN-de-mental!!
   26. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2340307)
OK, I'll concede the arm thing. Kudos to #21 for pointing out the pitcher analogy. I may just be annoyed that those plays always make Sportscenter and get him unwarranted GGs. Regardless of the arm strentgh, I'd still move Jeter to first, not the OF. Critics of his D still know he has a great awareness of the game/situation ("fielding smarts"?), which I'm going to assume suits the IF better. Also, the whole moving to his left thing.
   27. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:59 PM (#2340311)
I've always thought Jeter would make a great CF. He has plenty of speed to run down fly balls, and his arm is so much better than Damon's that it would make up for any advantage in range Damon has over him.
   28. Brian Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2340314)
GORP and Kevin,
Jeter, whatever you think of his defense and/or his persona, has a cannon. Go to a game sometime and watch him warmup playing long toss.
   29. bunyon Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2340315)
sotapop should have been running the Yanks when they got Arod. I think Jeter could've been an all-time great CF.
   30. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2340324)
How would that help? All it would do is make the balls that get by him to the left doubles instead of singles.

Certainily range shortcomings would be less amplified at first than at the most important defensive position in the infield?

Did Jeter not move at all or did he stop once ARod got to it?

Like you said, the way the camera followed the action made it tough to call. By the time Jeter is in view, he was standing, mid-crouch, as if he was just waiting for the ball to come to him. I was really hoping someone else saw this play, especially from a different broadcast--It would make for better analysis. Anyway it's just one play, and I digressed slightly when bringing it up. At worst it was a temporary lack of concentration, at best I'm just wrong. I don't think it affects the overall change-of-position issue.
   31. PJ Martinez Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2340325)
Ok, so this offseason the great Yankee Fielder Shift should commence. As catomi wrote above, it starts with "jeter to center, damon to left, matsui to 1st when he returns, gonzalez to short."

I like the idea of A-Rod to 1B, but Matsui's pretty brutal out there, too, so moving him would help also. Obviously it will depend on who else the Yankees pick up in the offseason.
   32. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2340333)
At worst it was a temporary lack of concentration, at best I'm just wrong.

I can probably tell you exactly what happened without having seen the play. Jeter was coming in to field the slow roller, saw ARod step in front of him to make the play, and so Jeter he stopped and let him. I'm sorry to sound so strident. It's just that I've seen it a million times before. That, and I played 3B for a long time, so I've done it once or twice.
   33. sotapop Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2340335)
wasn't there a study a few years back that said it was better to put your strongest arm in LF, because 1)that's where more hits go, 2)it's more important to make a strong throw to 2B to keep singles from becoming doubles, and 3)you almost never gun a runner at third from RF? (at least not w/o a relay)

oh, and thanks bunyon, but I admit back in 2000 when I was planning my Sparky Lyle-style stint running the Yankees, I was figuring A-rod for 3B. And for the record -- I meant Jeter's arm is average/plus compared to OFs; it's excellent for IF.
   34. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2340337)
No stridence taken.
   35. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2340357)
Well, your more gracious than I. I went a bit overboard.
   36. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:00 PM (#2340359)
1)that's where more hits go, 2)it's more important to make a strong throw to 2B to keep singles from becoming doubles, and 3)you almost never gun a runner at third from RF? (at least not w/o a relay)

1 and 2 sound logical enough, but 3 seems to miss the point. A noodle in RF means that everybody goes from first to third on every single to right. It's not just about preventing triples or getting outs.

jeter to center, damon to left, matsui to 1st when he returns, gonzalez to short, mientkiewitzkistein as a late inning replacement until matsui knows what hes doing, and phelps to the minors to see if he can catch well enough to bump nieves from the roster

Kidding aside, this may be an under-rated part of the reason Jeter is still at SS. Too many domino effects. Can Matsui really learn to play 1B? Maybe. Can Rodriguez successfully move back to SS at this stage? Probably not. It's not like they can just stick Jeter in RF or CF and have Abreu or Damon play SS (although Damon would probably be fine, albeit wasted, at 1B). And I'm not convinced that Jeter would be any better at any other infield position than he is at SS. OTOH, trying to get by with a slick fielding, no-hit SS in the nine hole would certainly seem to make a lot more sense than trying to get by with a slick fielding, no-hit 1B in the nine hole.

Anyway, nothing is going to happen in the middle of a season, unless Jeter's slide from an already low level really is related to hiding an injury, and that injury gets even worse.
   37. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:04 PM (#2340362)
At Fenway, it's good to have a strong arm in left, because most runners thrown out at the plate are by the LF. Occasionally a RF will throw someone out at home, and even less occasionally will a CF. I don't think Damon threw anyone out at home while with the Red Sox. I doubt Crisp will.

Having a strong arm in RF keeps runners from going from 1st to third on singles to RF. It's not just about throwing them out at 3rd. Imagine Damon or Crisp in RF? Guys could jog to third from first on singles hit to those two.
   38. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2340364)
I owe Iggy a coke. Darn it.
   39. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2340367)
Man, JB, you better start buying Coke by the case, you owe half the thread one.
   40. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2340368)
Imagine Damon or Crisp in RF? Guys could jog to third from first on singles hit to those two.

That was my horror at the "Bernie Williams - Right Fielder" alignment that went on quite a bit last year.
   41. shaftr Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2340371)
I'd like to see A Rod again in short, chances are he probably wouldn't be as good...but I'd like to see it proven that way instead of assuming.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2340372)
wasn't there a study a few years back that said it was better to put your strongest arm in LF, because 1)that's where more hits go, 2)it's more important to make a strong throw to 2B to keep singles from becoming doubles, and 3)you almost never gun a runner at third from RF? (at least not w/o a relay)

I'm unfamliar with that study. I am familiar with the received wisdom of baseball since, oh, about the 1860s or so, which holds very strongly that, other things being equal, you put the stronger of your two corner outfielder's throwing arms in RF, not LF.

The issue is entirely around the issue of keeping runners from moving from first to third on singles. The runner on first almost never goes to third on a single to left, regardless of the LF's arm, because the throw to third is so short. But runners will take third on singles to right all day long unless the RF throws well. And any RF who needs a relay to make that play on a single is never going to throw anyone out.
   43. base ball chick Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2340383)
ok, IF jeter has this great arm, WHY does he have to jump in order to throw the ball? you NEVER see adam everett, or even eckstein doing that.

is it just hot dogging to get face on web gems?
   44. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:46 PM (#2340394)
I always thought that this was Jeter's way of doing the "slide" that I've seen several shortstops make. The object is to slow your body down from full tilt to your right and throw. I think Rey Ordonez did that slide a whole lot. The alternative is planting and throwing. When Eck or Everett field a ball running full-tilt towards third, how do they accomplish at least slowing their momentum down?
   45. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:51 PM (#2340400)
I've always thought Jeter would make a great CF. He has plenty of speed to run down fly balls, and his arm is so much better than Damon's that it would make up for any advantage in range Damon has over him.

Me too -- I thought his arm was pretty good? I have to think he would certainly be no worse than 'average' among CF arms. And given that NO ONE disputes his skills when it comes to handling flyballs (granted - it's a different dynamic between a SS going back for a pop-up and a CF dealing with a towering fly or hard line drive right at him) -- it would seem CF would be the logical place for him. I would think his slow first step would be less an issue, too.
   46. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:52 PM (#2340402)
Jeter has to jump when he goes deep into the hole and still has a chance to get the batter/runner at first. Lots of SS's do it, if they have the arm strength to get the ball to first that way. If they don't have the arm strength, you see them field the ball and hold it. And you see that a lot, if you're watching.

Arm strength: Jeter v Eckstein---no contest. Jeter, easily.

I haven't seen enough of Everett to make that call. The team I root for traded him a while back, IIRC.
   47. Joe Bivens will never admit, will make some excuse Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2340406)
IOW, Jeter doesn't jump to make many throws. Just the ones where he fields the ball in the hole between SS and 3B. Nomar used to do it, too, except Nomar's throws often ended up in the stands.
   48. JJ1986 Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2340412)
Rafael Furcal used to go into the hole all the time, stop, plant and make that throw. He was faster than Jeter, though, and he probably had a stronger arm. Most shortstops simply glove the ball or don't get to it. Eckstein usually has to take a few steps towards first to even get the ball there from his normal position. He'd have to take a running start to throw the ball from where Jeter does his jump-throw.
   49. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:05 PM (#2340416)
FWIW, it's Joe Torre's least favorite play (the jump-throw). It encourages muscle strains, no doubt.

Was there really a question of Jeter's arm strength vs. Eckstein's? Eckstein has to have the weakest arm of a major league SS.
So if the popular opinion seems to be that Jeter has an above-average arm at short, then the question is where his arm would rank among CFs?
   50. Rally Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2340418)
It seems everyone has assumed that A-Rod is not a shortstop anymore. Has he lost a step or bulked up to the point where we don't think this former deserving gold glover could even be adequate anymore?

If A-Rod stays at 3rd, and the Yankees need to bring in a gloveman for SS, how about Jeter going to second and Cano playing first?
   51. rr Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:16 PM (#2340422)
I haven't seen the Yankees play yet this year, so I have a question: Does Jeter look worse, or is this just a mainstream-media-catching-up-to-the-stat-geeks thing?
   52. DCW3 Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:22 PM (#2340431)
I haven't seen the Yankees play yet this year, so I have a question: Does Jeter look worse, or is this just a mainstream-media-catching-up-to-the-stat-geeks thing?

I think the .909 fielding percentage has a whole lot to do with it. The mainstream media doesn't pay attention to advanced defensive stats, but they'll notice that many errors.
   53. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:22 PM (#2340432)
I thought Jeter used the jump throw more than other shortstops because it takes him longer to get to the ball. If he didn't have such a strong arm and sure hands, he couldn't play the position.

Here's a question for Yankee fans, though: Does Jeter work on his positioning the same way as Ripken did? I don't recall Ripken making so many jump throws and I attribute this to Ripken having had a bionic arm and because he played so deep. I live in NYC and see where more Yankee games than I'd like (kidding!) but I'm just now realizing I haven't paid attention to how he lines himself up before the pitch and this is something I'm usually very much interested in. My bad.
   54. villageidiom Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2340435)
I don't think Damon threw anyone out at home while with the Red Sox.


I'm not sure he ever threw anyone out at second without a cutoff man involved.
   55. b Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:27 PM (#2340438)
AROM, I thought conventional wisdom was that 2B was a significantly higher injury risk because you are making the pivot with a baserunner bearing down on you vs coming across the bag with a baserunner bearing down on you. True or not, if that's the commonly held belief, I doubt Jeter to 2B makes it very far in internal Yankee discussions. Anyway, isn't Jeter fast approaching an age where CF isn't even worth it? That leaves the corners, and then you really do have think about how his bat plays over the rest of the contract.
   56. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2340440)
Like you said, the way the camera followed the action made it tough to call. By the time Jeter is in view, he was standing, mid-crouch, as if he was just waiting for the ball to come to him. I was really hoping someone else saw this play, especially from a different broadcast--It would make for better analysis.
Out of curiosity, I found the play in question and it looked to me like Jeter was either called off the play by A-Rod or knew he was coming. It also looked like Jeter got a terribly slow jump on the ball, so he wouldn't have a shot at the runner, so it had to be A-Rod making the play or nothing.
   57. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2340442)
2B requires more range and less arm. My guess is that this makes zero sense for Derek's skill set.
   58. Rally Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2340457)
More range than SS? I don't think so. More than 3B certainly.

I think Jeter's lack of range is more a reaction time issue than lack of speed. He might show better range at second. Most converted shortstops do very well at second. The injury concern is a valid point though.

I am also of the opinion that Jeter would be an absolute disaster at third base.
   59. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2340465)
Does Jeter work on his positioning the same way as Ripken did? I don't recall Ripken making so many jump throws and I attribute this to Ripken having had a bionic arm and because he played so deep.

You know, until I saw it in person -- I used to think this was just a bunch of mythicism concerning Ripken... However - went to a ChiSox game with a buddy -- and the O's were in town.

Not really caring who won or lost, I decided to spend most of the game watching the vaunted Ripken magically position himself on hitters. This was in 95 - when Cal was reaching the end of the line at SS.

I came away utterly impressed and true believer.... I counted at 2 plays that Cal 'definitely' made because he was positioned perfectly, and a 3rd that was pretty close. On one - I think it might have been Tartabull or Baines -- I annoyed my buddy to no end "did you see that?!?! did you see that ??!?! It may have looked like a routine grounder, but I saw Cal move over 4 steps before the pitch was thrown and he was right. there. for. it. Amazing!" My friend, alas, had no appreciation for the little things.
   60. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:18 PM (#2340497)
It's kind of been touched on already, but Jeter's jump throw gives him an extra couple feet laterally in which he can make plays. Stopping and pivoting is great if you have time to do it. The jump throw lets you throw balls that you really are just able to grab.

"Does Jeter work on his positioning the same way as Ripken did?"

He's worked on it, he's obviously not as good at it as Ripken was. One of the big reasons Jeter went from a -20 defender in 03 to an average defender in 2004-06 is because his positioning improved greatly. My guess is it's harder to position yourself with a new starter pitching every day, so I wouldn't be surprised if his numbers take a hit this year, even if physically he is capable of the same defensive play as the last few years.

"If A-Rod stays at 3rd, and the Yankees need to bring in a gloveman for SS, how about Jeter going to second and Cano playing first?"

I think this would be a huge waste of Cano. He's the only Yankee regular under 30 and he can handle second. He might win a gold glove, but there is nothing wrong with his d there, and the numbers support that. Moving him would be a huge mistake IMO.
   61. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:40 PM (#2340510)
I think this would be a huge waste of Cano. He's the only Yankee regular under 30 and he can handle second. He might win a gold glove, but there is nothing wrong with his d there, and the numbers support that. Moving him would be a huge mistake IMO.

OTOH, that move would further cement the Rod Carew comparisons.
   62. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:44 PM (#2340513)
Yeah, but Carew didn't move till he was 30.
   63. GORP Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:51 PM (#2340521)
Out of curiosity, I found the play in question and it looked to me like Jeter was either called off the play by A-Rod or knew he was coming. It also looked like Jeter got a terribly slow jump on the ball, so he wouldn't have a shot at the runner, so it had to be A-Rod making the play or nothing.

Thanks.
   64. Loren F. Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2340524)
When Willie Randolph was a coach with the Yankees he tried to get Jeter to stop making that jump throw, training him to plant his foot and throw. I don't know if that reduced the frequency of the jump throws.

I also think Jeter would be bad at third base because it seems his footwork is one of his failings that keeps him from getting to more balls. I do think that his speed and arm would make Jeter a very good outfielder, but I just don't think there's much chance of Jeter moving from SS before his current contract ends in 2010.
   65. base ball chick Posted: April 20, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2340532)
Joe Bivens and his Hissy fit Posted: April 20, 2007 at 10:59 AM (#2340311)
I've always thought Jeter would make a great CF. He has plenty of speed to run down fly balls, and his arm is so much better than Damon's that it would make up for any advantage in range Damon has over him.


- yeh i always thought so too. i thought that was where he should have played from the time bernie williams started to go downhill like 8 years back.

- and yeh, it WAS an everett for everett trade.
which by the way proves that baggy/biggio weren't completely running that team - they really LIKED carl and were very angry he was traded.
- and i still remember the first time i ever saw adam everett field. whoa. W H O A
adam he looks like your cable guy or the auto parts guy, not like an athlete but he can most definitely move that

Cowboy Popup Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2340497)
It's kind of been touched on already, but Jeter's jump throw gives him an extra couple feet laterally in which he can make plays. Stopping and pivoting is great if you have time to do it. The jump throw lets you throw balls that you really are just able to grab.


- well then i guess he doesn't get to real too many balls. adam everett gets to a heck of a lot more balls and i have never EVER once seen him jump throw. and everett has an arm like furcal.
   66. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 07:08 PM (#2340537)
adam everett gets to a heck of a lot more balls and i have never EVER once seen him jump throw. and everett has an arm like furcal.
I think comparisons to Everett are unfair to pretty much everyone, since he's obviously the best right now, maybe one of the best ever, and head-and-shoulders above the crowd. It's a damn shame he can't even be a league average hitter, he'd an absolute force. (Although if he'd go back to steal 21 of 28 bases that would help.)
   67. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 20, 2007 at 07:25 PM (#2340550)
- yeh i always thought so too. i thought that was where he should have played from the time bernie williams started to go downhill like 8 years back.

Bernie was in the middle of a run of four straight Gold Gloves eight years back, and he arguably deserved them. The Yankees were in the middle of a run of three straight world championships. It would have been abso-freakin-lutely ridiculous to start messing with the defense in 1999.

I don't quite get why you're so worked up about this. Are there really people here who are arguing that Derek Jeter is a great defensive SS or that Adam Everett isn't? Cuz I missed those posts if there are. But the simple fact is that jumping doesn't help you get more on a throw, and in fact makes it harder to get more on a throw. Jeter jumps to get rid of the ball faster, not to be able to throw it harder. It's a way for him to use his one legitimate defensive strength -- an above-average arm -- to compensate for one of his many weaknesses -- an inability to quickly stop and set himself to throw. So your comment:

ok, IF jeter has this great arm, WHY does he have to jump in order to throw the ball? you NEVER see adam everett, or even eckstein doing that

and the others like it in this thread just don't make a lot of sense.

You obviously watch a lot of baseball and you clearly know your stuff. Do you honestly believe that David Eckstein has a stronger throwing arm than Derek Jeter? David Eckstein doesn't have a stronger throwing arm than my twelve year old son.
   68. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 20, 2007 at 07:58 PM (#2340581)
I was really hoping someone else saw this play, especially from a different broadcast--It would make for better analysis.


I thought the same thing as you and I had the YES feed. The problem I had was that A-Rod had to wait to get the ball because the runner was in the way, and the angle I had looked like Jeter could have charged it.

And I wish Jeter had moved to CF in 2004. I think he would be great there, and I think the Yankees would have a very good defensive team with Damon LF, Jeter CF, and Gonzalez SS. I hope Matsui could be an okay 1B, but I'm not sure there.

I don't think A-Rod should move to 1B for 3-4 years, though. I was thinking he would sooner after the last couple years, but he looks like he has a lot better range this year since he slimmed down.
   69. catomi01 Posted: April 20, 2007 at 11:32 PM (#2340800)
someone brought up the fact that moving jeter creates a waterfall effect of position switches....while thats certainly a point against during the season, i would argue that an off-season into spring training move would have been an ideal....yes guys learning new positions is a hastle, but the point is that each of those guys is stretched in some way and to varrying degrees at their positions for various reasons: damon is adequete but has no arm, this would be mitigated somewhat in left, while his speed would still leave him above average for the position, matsui is bad and getting worse as we speak, a move to first (with regular DH-type rest) would alleviate this and perhaps allow him to stay healthier and more productive, jeters issues have been debated endlessly here enough, so i wont go into them again suffice to say i'm of the opionion that he has a strong arm, speed, and tracks pop-ups well, all skills that would translate well to the OF....as for phelps, i'd still argue, even with the minors not an option, that they see what he can do behind the plate, while he'd likely be brutal defensively, he'd still be an upgrade over nieves if anything happened to posada long or short term, and having him catch is a tremendous tactical option for Joe Torre to forget he has during the playoffs when miguel cairo and doug mientkeiwizxdsa will insted be sent up to pinch hit for the pitcher no fewer than 12 times in NL stadiums
   70. phredbird Posted: April 21, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2340992)
jeter does not have an avg. arm, and yes, i've seen him play. i'd say it's better than average. but taking his overall defense at ss into account, i'd say he should be moved to the outfield. he's def. got the arm to play outfield. he'd be wasted at first base. he's a major league shortstop for cryin out loud. really, the only reason to move him is that a better ss is playing right next to him.
   71. catomi01 Posted: April 21, 2007 at 02:32 AM (#2341163)
i'm not really confident that a-rod can handle short anymore either....and there's also the question of who plays third then? at short at least they have a glove guy in gonzalez....at third they have what? eric duncan? maybe next year, if ever, after that, who's the best 3B in the system? its the same problem as at catcher....zero real depth...they have guys who play the position nominally, but the actual drop off is catastropic
   72. catomi01 Posted: April 21, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2341170)
and ive been arguing since a-rod was a free agent that if it meant moving jeter to third, it would be a bad move....his main issues are reaction time and technique, both of which his natural ability has somewhat mitigated at short, and would largely eliminate in the OF....while 3B, i feel, would more fully expose these faults....i have to believe that if jeter were to move to third in the next couple of seasons, it would likely be followed within a year by a move to either 1st or DH.
   73. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2007 at 04:04 AM (#2341258)
Tango's Scouting Report By The Fans, For The Fans has Jeter's arm strength at a 69, which is above the MLB average (set at 50) and above the average for SS (around 61), but ranked 15th. Based on that, it sounds like Brian gives too much credit, kevin not enough, and phredbird just right.

FWIW, Tango has Jeter 35th (out of 41) on First Step, 29th on Instincts, 11th on Speed, 11th on Hands, 13th on Release, and 11th on Accuracy. His overall ranking suggest there are 21 people in MLB who could do better. (He's tied with Julio Lugo, but ahead of Tejada.)
   74. Darren Posted: April 21, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2341262)
I'd really like to know how Jeter came to start doing the jump throw and what purpose it serves. If Jeter has a strong arm, which it seems pretty clear that he does, why doesn't he just stop and plant himself the way every one else does? Is it that it is so hard for him to even reach balls in the hole that he can't stop his momentum once he gets to them? I'm stumped.
   75. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2007 at 06:01 AM (#2341286)
Here's some fun. I was curious to see what attributes were considered to be important for a given position. How accurate are the most accurate arms in CF? RF? SS? How good are the best instincts at 3B? 1B? LF? And so on.

So, using Tangotiger's "fans' Scouting Report" (linked above in #76), I culled the 10th best score for each attribute for each position. Here's what I got.

Instincts
CF=79 .. SS=77 .. 3B=75 .. 2B=68 .. 1B=64 .. RF=59 .. LF=52

So, from that we see that a player with poor instincts is best suited defensively to the corner outfield positions. (Duh.) Continuing...

First Step
CF=83 .. RF=64 .. LF=60 .. 3B=74 .. 2B=67 .. 1B=57 .. SS=76

Speed
CF=86 .. SS=73 .. LF=73 .. RF=72 .. 2B=68 .. 3B=64 .. 1B=47

Hands
CF=76 .. SS=76 .. 1B=73 .. 3B=71 .. 2B=66 .. RF=60 .. LF=55

Release
SS=77 .. 3B=74 .. CF=71 .. 2B=68 .. RF=63 .. LF=60 .. 1B=60

Strength
SS=76 .. RF=76 .. 3B=75 .. CF=69 .. 2B=58 .. LF=55 .. 1B=54

Accuracy
SS=73 .. 3B=73 .. CF=70 .. RF=70 .. 2B=66 .. LF=63 .. 1B=59

A couple of quick observations. First, SS and CF tend to be toward the left, LF and 1B toward the right. This sounds a lot like the well-established defensive spectrum. Second, the attributes we typically associate with a position generally tend to have higher scores for that position than the others. I think these are pretty reasonable numbers.

Keep in mind that these are the 10th best scores for the given attribute/position. With 50+ players ranked for each position (except SS), I think this is a pretty good measure of what the above-average players do. Also keep in mind that all of this has the bias of the conventional wisdom of positional assignment. Maybe RF doesn't need as strong an arm as SS, but if the people who assign positions think it does it will be reflected here. (FWIW, they do, and I agree with them.)

I'm going to cut this post here and continue below.
   76. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2007 at 06:05 AM (#2341287)
Now, let's get back to Derek Jeter. If Jeter is to be moved to a new position with the thought that he might excel there (or stink less than he does at SS), what position will be the best match for him?

Approaching this in a formulaic way, I compared his score for each attribute to the above numbers for each position. I took the ratio of his score to the position score, and squared it. (Tango had said one standard deviation was 20 points, and I wanted a 20-point difference to give a ratio of 50%. Squaring pretty much gets me there.) I capped the ratios at 100%, meaning I didn't give extra credit if Jeter's score for a given attribute exceeded that attribute's score for the position. My thought there was that the latter is the minimum rankings to be considered "among the best", and additional capability could be superfluous. I call this the "lesser evil" approach, penalizing for deficiencies but not rewarding for excellence. I'm not sure it's the best approach for all purposes, but if we want to know where his liabilities can be best hidden I think this is the way to go. Anyway... I then summed the ratios for the seven attributes, and divided by 7 (the maximum possible sum) to get an overall ratio.

As a test, I ran Adam Everett through. Bad call, because his overall ratio was 100% for every position but CF (he's a 79 for speed, where CF demands 86). OK, maybe not a bad call... if he's the best fielder at the most demanding position, I'd expect something like 100%.

As another test, I plugged in Scott Rolen - clearly an excellent 3B, but his speed score is on the borderline. Here's what I got:

100% 1B
100% 3B
98% 2B
97% RF
96% SS
96% LF
93% CF

Sure enough, his speed score held him back in a bunch of places. But it's still not that great a test. What about someone on the bubble in multiple attributes? Hello, Mr. Juan Uribe, who has played some SS, 2B, and 3B (and 1 game in CF):

100% 1B
98% 2B
97% LF
95% RF
93% 3B
87% SS
85% CF

Or the opposite... Scott Hatteberg?

41% LF
37% 1B
33% RF
31% 2B
26% 3B
25% CF
24% SS

Too extreme. How about Cliff Floyd?

78% LF
77% 1B
65% 2B
63% RF
53% 3B
50% CF
49% SS

I like that most of the above scores generally follow the ranking of the defensive spectrum, with some variety for the particular circumstances. For example, Hatteberg's bad hands and bad 1st step are better hidden in LF (and moreso at DH) than at 1B. Juan Uribe, on the other hand, happens to excel in the important 2B categories.

I'm going to interpret all of the above samples to mean the following:

90% - 100% = can excel in the position
80% - 89% = can mostly excel in the position, with 1 or 2 deficiencies
70% - 79% = can perform adequately in the position
60% - 69% = not recommended except in dire emergencies or exhibitions
under 60% = please just say no; think of the children!

And now that I have some general standards...
   77. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2007 at 06:15 AM (#2341289)
...Here are the results for Jeter:

92% LF
91% 1B
88% RF
87% 2B
81% 3B
77% CF
76% SS

Moving Jeter to CF, where instincts and first step are prized, would apparently not be the best move. Jeter can make up for it with his speed, but relative to the typical good CF he's not really all that fast - in other words, he might not have enough speed to cover his bad first step / instincts as much as is demanded of a CF.

It looks like moving Jeter to CF or 3B likely isn't worth the effort, unless the new SS is so much better that making room for him is unquestionable.
   78. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: April 21, 2007 at 06:31 AM (#2341295)
really, the only reason to move him is that a better ss is playing right next to him.


Does anybody honestly believe at this point that A-Rod would be any better as a shortstop than Jeter is? A-Rod fielded miserably at third last year and wasn't anything great in the previous two seasons either. And he's bulked up considerably. Plus, I imagine it would take a while to become readjusted to the instincts of playing SS. He'd probably be pretty bad if he returned there.
   79. base ball chick Posted: April 21, 2007 at 07:11 AM (#2341307)
RB in NYC (Now with Job!) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:08 PM (#2340537)

adam everett gets to a heck of a lot more balls and i have never EVER once seen him jump throw. and everett has an arm like furcal.
I think comparisons to Everett are unfair to pretty much everyone, since he's obviously the best right now, maybe one of the best ever, and head-and-shoulders above the crowd. It's a damn shame he can't even be a league average hitter, he'd an absolute force.


ok. you're right, it's really not fair (and don't look now but he's hitting 287 and slugging 420

so lets use a good fielding SS like eckstein, who has a very weak arm. to be nice about it. but you know, he almost never misses a play, he has decent range, but he never does that jumpnthrow thingy.


Ignoratio elenchi Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2340550)

- yeh i always thought so too. i thought that was where he should have played from the time bernie williams started to go downhill like 8 years back.

Bernie was in the middle of a run of four straight Gold Gloves eight years back, and he arguably deserved them. The Yankees were in the middle of a run of three straight world championships. It would have been abso-freakin-lutely ridiculous to start messing with the defense in 1999.


- yeh i see what you mean. but CERTAINLY it shoulda got messed with in 2002 because by then bernie was not good.

I don't quite get why you're so worked up about this. Are there really people here who are arguing that Derek Jeter is a great defensive SS or that Adam Everett isn't?

- here, no. thank good ness. lots of guys here say a lot of krayzee things, but that is not one of em. i am, um, not real too happy that on espn guys who make good defensive plays are compared to jeter, not everett. i am unhappy that espn shows that jumpnthrow crap like it shows that jeter is GOOD, not BAD. it is like saying how wonderful it is that your 13 year old daughter feels comfortable having sex with LOTs of men because it shows how, uh, um, she is into diversity.

But the simple fact is that jumping doesn't help you get more on a throw, and in fact makes it harder to get more on a throw. Jeter jumps to get rid of the ball faster, not to be able to throw it harder. It's a way for him to use his one legitimate defensive strength -- an above-average arm -- to compensate for one of his many weaknesses -- an inability to quickly stop and set himself to throw.

- then it should be pointed out that this is BAD and means he is BAD because he can't do what a even average defender can do.
- and to show i am a fair person, i will say that i also think that jeter is very good with popups and tracking fly balls.
- but his arm isn't as good as everett's

hehhehheh
   80. Squash Posted: April 21, 2007 at 10:13 AM (#2341319)
If Jeter has a strong arm, which it seems pretty clear that he does, why doesn't he just stop and plant himself the way every one else does?

B/c he's trading off between quickness on the release and getting more on the throw. He thinks, rightly or wrongly, that what he gains on releasing the ball quicker (i.e. the jump throw) is greater than what he loses on planting his feet and getting more on his throw. If he were to stop and plant his feet like Tejada (who legitimately does have a cannon - Jeter has a plus arm, but it's not plus plus) his release would be slower but the throw itself would get their quicker. We'll probably never really know which is actually faster for him, given that Jeter isn't likely to quit the jump throw.

I'll also be "fair" and say sure, he's swell at tracking fly balls, but truly how valuable is that skill at his current position ... are there really that many bloops that Jeter gets to that your average SS doesn't. I'd like to see some numbers rather than the anecdotes. I also think it's become a cliche ... "sure, he's not that great on grounders, but he's AWESOME on fly balls", an automatic addition after one says something negative about his fielding so that one doesn't seem to be a Jeter-hater, or an apology if one is a fan. Either way, what's the empiricism?

Jeter is very obviously a plus player. I give him zero points for the intangibles b/c even if he actually is instilling confidence in his team and causing those around him to play better (a doubtful proposition in and of itself), he's probably giving it right back and then some on defense. That being said, he's a tremendous hitter given that he can play short at all. That's where his value truly lies - he's a stud with the stick and on the basepaths, and it seems incongruous that someone can be so good at one thing and not so good at another, even if the skills themselves are entirely different. And when one skill is easy to measure and the other isn't ...
   81. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2007 at 12:00 PM (#2341326)
Here's some more info on the Yankee defense, from the methodology in #78-80. I'll list the players with at least 70% (or the top 3), plus the people who've played there, and maybe a few more.

Shortstop

76% Jeter
74% Mientkiewicz
70% Melky

51% Cano
47% Cairo

Methinks the Yankee defense would be best served if they got a bunch of strikeout pitchers. Jeter does appear to be the best candidate among the usual suspects.

Center Field

77% Jeter
74% Mientkiewicz
68% Melky

63% Abreu
51% Damon
51% Bubba Crosby
40% Matsui
14% Williams

If Jeter stays at short, Mientkiewicz is their best CF option? Yikes.

Third Base

81% Jeter
77% Mientkiewicz
76% Melky

65% Cano
60% Cairo
56% A-Rod

Second Base

87% Jeter
84% Mientkiewicz
80% Melky
74% Abreu

65% Cano
60% Cairo

Right Field

88% Jeter
83% Melky
78% Mientkiewicz
76% Abreu

69% Crosby
64% Damon
52% Matsui
16% Williams

Is it better to have a D in CF and RF, or a C in RF and an F in CF? You get the former if Abreu and Damon switch, the latter if they stay where they are.

Left Field

92% Jeter
88% Melky
85% Mientkiewicz
82% Abreu
78% Cano
77% Crosby
76% Cairo
74% Andy Phillips

69% A-Rod (honorable mention)
65% Damon
60% Matsui
22% Williams

First Base

95% Mientkiewicz
91% Jeter
85% Melky
79% Cano
79% Abreu
76% Cairo
74% Phillips
70% Crosby

67% A-Rod
63% Matsui
22% Williams
8% Giambi
   82. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2007 at 12:11 PM (#2341329)
Interestingly, based on his info (and this methodology) Johnny Damon is least suited to CF. I think this is a case of the method not working well at the extremes. His arm strength rating is 0. The method gives him 0% for every position; but that simply means he's not penalized more for having 0 at SS (where arm strength is needed) than for having 0 in CF (where it's not as big an issue).

Giving a minimum score of 10 or something for each attribute doesn't change the answer. Maybe the answer makes sense... Damon could be better-suited to SS, but he's still under 60% so it doesn't really matter.
   83. villageidiom Posted: April 22, 2007 at 02:08 PM (#2342013)
Just reviewing the CF numbers... Eric Byrnes is 59% in CF, but 86% in LF. Whoa.

He's about 30 points better in 5 categories. For example, for instincts he's a 47. CF "demands" 79. LF "demands" 52. First step he's a 65; CF needs 83, LF 60.
   84. Fridas Boss Posted: April 22, 2007 at 02:39 PM (#2342021)
Very interesting analysis, VI. I enjoyed reading it.

Question though: When people rate players on these attributes are they doing it based on their position? E.g. Does Jeter get a score of X on arm relative to all MLB'ers or his shortstop counterparts?
   85. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 22, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2342038)
"Moving Jeter to CF, where instincts and first step are prized, would apparently not be the best move."

Jeter's instincts and first steps on pop ups are much better then they are on grounders.

"then it should be pointed out that this is BAD and means he is BAD because he can't do what a even average defender can do."

He was average in 2005 and above average in 2004. UZR projects him at -8, that's like 12 less plays then the average SS makes. That means he makes plenty of plays that average SS make. If he's a -8 SS, he'll miss a play what, once every 13 games or so. Your opinion of his defensive skills is about three to four years out of date.

"Either way, what's the empiricism?"

The first Fielding Bible had Jeter at like +15 (I'm guessing, I don't remember exactly) over the 2003-2005 seasons I think, which was first among ML SS.
   86. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 22, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2342039)
"UZR projects him at -8"

Also, ZR has him projected at -2.
   87. villageidiom Posted: April 22, 2007 at 03:55 PM (#2342044)
IIRC, they're supposed to be rated neutral to position. But I'm sure some positional bias inevitably creeps in.

It's hard to separate bias of the ratings from bias of the people who put the players into those positions. Are the best CFers mistakenly perceived to be that much faster than the best shortstops, or do managers / GMs / minor league staff tend to groom the fastest guys to play CF? In that example, I'd tend to think the latter; but for other cases it's not so clear.
   88. villageidiom Posted: April 22, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2342047)
Jeter's instincts and first steps on pop ups are much better then they are on grounders.

I'm not sure that people rated Jeter's defense just on grounders. Still, there was a lot of disagreement on Jeter's rankings, so some probably did while others didn't.

After looking at the regulars's defensive rankings, I've reached the conclusion that Jeter being at SS is not the problem. The whole defense is the problem, because the defense was built for offense. Moving Jeter elsewhere to make room for a good fielder makes sense because Jeter plays one of the most important defensive positions. But moving him because he'd be better in another position... well, the case could be made for just about anyone out there except Mientkiewicz.

To improve the defense, the offense must be made less potent. And thus you need to weigh how much defense matters relative to offense. Or they need to find someone who excels at both.

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