The Yankees opening day double play team of Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts will be a combined 75 years old. There are a lot of years running to second, taking slides to the shin, and ripping the ball to first. Realistically, it’s anyone’s guess how long they can both stay healthy.
Both Jeter and Roberts missed almost all of last season. Jeter could not get past his ankle injury from the 2012 playoffs, and Roberts injured his hamstring and did not start his season until nearly July.
It would not be fair to call Jeter injury-prone, but this last one has lingered much longer than anyone thought it would. Roberts, on the other hand, is the definition of injury-prone. Between his concussion history as well as other issues, he’s missed literally years of playing time.
Even without injuries, Girardi must be wondering what to expect out of the middle infield pair. Jeter is more of a sure bet. He led the league in hits just two years ago. With 2014 being his final season and his work ethic, Jeter will be sure not to disappoint his manager. Girardi and the Yankees realistically have no idea what to expect out of Roberts. Because it has been so long since he was a consistent player, just playing the game may not come as easily for him. Girardi will be checking on his second baseman almost every inning of every game until (not if) he gets hurt.
Roberts is not expected to be an All-Star second baseman. As he said himself, he is just a “small piece of the puzzle.” He will be batting at the end of the lineup and is susceptible to losing playing time to others that need a day at second base. A Brian Roberts that hits .255 in over 100 games is a more than successful Brian Roberts. He’s not Cano, and we don’t need him to be. At this point, as long as he can flip a ground ball to Jeter more often than not, the Yankees have bought themselves another year to figure out who their real second baseman is.
So far so healthy.