Derek Jeter made a couple of mistakes last night, mistakes that put the Yankees in a large hole, and while the team came back late to tie the game, and eventually lost, the focus was on the aging Yankees’ Captain. While Jeter went yard to start the comeback, the defensive miscues just put the focus on his age, and his decreasing skills as a middle infielder. It seems to be the story of the Yankees’ season so far. Old players, underperforming, and big name free agents (other than Masahiro Tanaka) living up to their advance billing upon their arrival in the Bronx.
While the national and local media may be focused on Jeter’s mistakes, that’s all they are. Even Derek Jeter is human, and at the age of 40, fans should feel lucky he’s able to play as well as he is, especially given the severity of his injuries last season at such an advanced age. The team made no effort to have a viable replacement at the ready. And no, Brendan Ryan is not a viable replacement, so just stop it. This team is basically treading water until a ton of money can come off the books. Jeter, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and now, it appears Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran are the latest in albatross contracts the Yankees find themselves connected to. Oh, and don’t forget a certain third baseman who is returning from suspension next spring.
While Jeter is going through his good-byes, Joe Girardi, no matter who the Yankees might have acquired this past off-season, wasn’t going to be able to replace Jeter in the middle of the infield. Jeter’s fielding mistakes came in the same inning last night, and he continued to be the calm, cool, and collected professional he’s always been. The best thing to have in baseball is a short memory. Players make mistakes. Suck it up and move on to the next inning or day. That’s what’s great about baseball. It’s a marathon, and not a sprint.
The Yankees have much bigger issues to worry about rather than dwelling on two mistakes made by their team captain. Their starting pitching is atrocious. Their offense isn’t quite the San Diego Padres, but it makes one begin to question the moves Brian Cashman made…and hasn’t made. Don’t think for one minute that resigning Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson changes anything. It doesn’t. Without quality starting pitching, this team still is chasing someone. Until those that gets addressed, the lineup can hit all it wants. As long as the Vidal Nunos of the world keep getting their chance, the Yankees are going to be a middle of the road team the remainder of the season. It’s time to back off the Captain.