Oh come on, don’t act like you were unaware of this scenario happening again. Yes, once again we New York Yankee fans will soon find ourselves in the awkward stage of Derek Jeter being a free agent. It’s hard to believe the three years in his latest contract will be up after 2013, but fret not, there was that option for a fourth year thrown in. Now, obviously Jeter is more than likely going to take the option to play another year in 2014, but you have to ask yourself, what’s beyond that? Where does his career go from there? Clearly Jeter has a lot of baseball left in him as he led the MLB with hits (216) in 2012 and that was no fluke.
Jeter has been one of the greatest Yankees inside the team’s history, breaking records left and right. Is it even remotely possible he would go to another team? In a business viewpoint, it makes sense for him if the Yankees feel by then, the 40-year-old shortstop will have fulfilled his career in pinstripes. Realistically though, I just don’t see it happening. I’m not just saying this because Jeter has been and forever will always be my favorite player in baseball, but come on, he’s the face of the team and pretty much baseball since 1996.
It just doesn’t seem possible that Jeter would ever leave New York. He’s the Captain of the team, the leader that many players say they find themselves fortunate enough to play with. Jeter’s legacy isn’t going to end with another team grasping straws for a shortstop or designated hitter. Sure his range and mobility have been extremely limited and may be now even more so after coming off the broken ankle, but the man can still hit.
Looking at Jeter’s 2012, he had a .316/.362/.429 slash line with 15 homers, 58 RBIs and scored 99 runs. Yes, Jeter isn’t a power guy, nor is he going to knock in a tremendous amount of runs, but he’s going to get on base. Like a leader should, Jeter being at the top of the order sets the table for the other guys in the lineup. Aside from his down year in 2010 where he batted .270, Jeter has never had his batting average dip below .290 besides his few starts in 1995. He’s always on base and scoring a high amount of runs for his time. You may say “oh, well isn’t that just luck?” No. To put yourself in that position in the first place is absolute skill.
Jeter possesses an insane amount of pure contact at the plate. Next to Ichiro Suzuki, Jeter has been one of the most pure contact hitters in baseball for over a decade now. To me, it’s rather surprising that he actually didn’t win MVP in 1998 or 1999 when you look at it, but I suppose his five World Series rings has a bigger impact. The legacy Jeter has carried throughout his time as a Yankee will be something that sticks with baseball until the end of time.
The amount of fight that Jeter still has left in him is just incredible. A lot of teams drool over the thought of having someone with the presence that he brings to not only a ball club or city, but to an entire sport. His career is not over, but yet every year, analysts like to downplay him and act as if he’ll barely hit the ball past the pitcher’s mound. Jeter has definitely shut his critics up with his production in the last two years.
Now, where does Jeter go once this contract runs its course? I’d like to say in full confidence he’ll retire a Yankee someday, but logically and rationally, I don’t know the answer. Jeter has said himself that baseball is a business so if he lands on another team, so be it. I just don’t see that happening though. Jeter will retire a Yankee, mark my words.