It seems you can’t read a Yankees-related story today without seeing people lobbying to move Derek Jeter down in the order. Has Jeter struggled? Yes. Is he the ideal person to hit in the two-hole? Probably not. With that being said, the logical thing would be to move him to the bottom of the batting order.
Joe Girardi has been fielding questions about dropping the captain in the order for weeks. His response remains the same.
I haven’t yet,’’ Girardi said before Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Angels when asked about moving Jeter down from the No. 2 spot in the lineup. “He isn’t the only guy struggling, and we put them in the fourth and fifth spot. It’s somewhat early to do that.’’
But what if the Yankees’ manager went outside the box on this issue? It might sound a little crazy, but before he drops Jeter to seventh or eighth in the order during his final season, why not try moving him up. Yes I actually said that. Jeter is no stranger to hitting lead off. The Yankees have scored just over three runs a game in their last nine games (3-6), coming into Tuesday night. So how much worse could the offense be with Jeter leading off?
Hitting Jeter first would mean Jacoby Ellsbury would move to second with Carlos Beltran hitting behind him. The four through six spots would be any combination of Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, and Alfonso Soriano, depending on the opposing pitcher. Hitting either Brett Garder or Ichiro Suzuki ninth would have to be a corresponding move, to assure you still have the possibility of a lead-off type hitter ahead of Ellsbury.
When Bernie Williams was at the end of his career, and still a fan favorite that just couldn’t perform, Joe Torre said the hardest thing about managing was dealing with a declining superstar. Moving Jeter up in the order may not be a popular move right now, -or even the right one- but it buys Girardi some time before having to make the decision to move a Yankee icon to the bottom of the order during his final season. It may not work. If it doesn’t, then the Yankees manager has to make the hard decision. Then again, if it doesn’t work, how much could it really hurt?