The 2013 season was a very difficult one for the New York Yankees and it wasn’t just because they failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in about twenty years. They had to say goodbye to two Yankee icons, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. The only remaining member of the “Core Four” is Derek Jeter. However, it is likely that 2014 will be Jeter’s last.
Derek Jeter has been a staple in the Yankees lineup for so many years so it’s hard to imagine a lineup without his name near the top. Unfortunately, 2013 gave us a harsh reality of what is soon to come. First off, let’s take a quick look back at Jeter’s 2013 season.
After breaking his ankle in Game 1 of the A.L.C.S. in 2012, Jeter vowed to be back by 2013’s Opening Day. However, while rehabbing, he suffered a crack in the same area and would be out until the All-Star Break. He returned on July 11th, only to land back on the disabled list after just one game with a quadriceps strain. He returned again on July 28th but by August 5th, he was gone again. This time with a calf strain. Jeter would briefly return in early September but after feeling discomfort in his ankle. He would be moved to the disabled list for the third time on September 11th, thus ending his season.
Jeter would miss 145 games in 2013 which is by far his worst season physically. Between 1996-2012, Jeter only missed 184 games which means he would play an average of 151 games per season during that span. Another red flag is his age. Jeter will turn 40 in June and when you add that in with his constant injury issues of 2013, it is clear that age has caught up to him. His body just can’t handle the daily grind of a baseball season anymore. The Yankees know this very well and gave a pretty obvious sign that points to this upcoming season being the final year of Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame career.
Derek Jeter had a player option that would pay him $9.5 million for 2014. Based off his 2013 season, this would be a complete no brainer for Jeter. Many people believed that Jeter would easily accept his option after the 2013 season he had. Shockingly, the Yankees and Jeter renegotiated and came to an agreement on a 1-year $12 million deal.
The Yankees have made the $189 million payroll threshold such a priority, it was a surprise to see him get this contract, even if he is Derek Jeter. When you read between the lines, the Yankees obviously didn’t offer him this contract based on performance, they offered it to him as a thank you for all the great years. We have been witnessing Derek Jeter’s downfall and the Yankees know this. They also know there will likely be no coming back from this. You won’t hear this from the Yankees and you definitely won’t hear this from Derek Jeter. However, enjoy every second of Derek Jeter’s playing time in 2014 because we will probably not see it again.