Derek Jeter takes heartfelt victory lap after predicting Juan Soto trade

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As the Captain of the most recent Yankees dynasty, few retired players care more about restoring the franchise to its former glory than Derek Jeter.

Forget the honors, the pomp, the circumstance, and the close calls. All that maters to Jeter -- and all that has ever mattered -- was being the last team standing. Even though his playing days have ended, his actions have made it clear he still feels a personal responsibility in making sure that Aaron Judge and his current crop of Yankees carry on his legacy. After all, if the "Captain of the Yankees" begins to stand for something else entirely -- for bloated payrolls and high-priced failures -- then what was he working towards all along?

Jeter began working with FOX's MLB team in 2022, and surely watching the crazed playoff crowds in Philadelphia and Houston only emboldened his desire to edge the Yankees closer to where they should've been all along.

No one was content to let the Baby Bombers Era end with a whimper, but Jeter was confident enough last summer -- when the Yankees were at their lowest -- to urge the Yankees, on national television at the All-Star Game, to go out and get Juan Soto. At the time, it felt like a drastic panacea for a roster stuck in the Deadball Era. Now? Feels pretty damned prescient. Hard to think of a better string-puller than Jeter.

Derek Jeter welcomes Juan Soto to Yankees after calling his shot on blockbuster trade

When Jeter spoke at the All-Star break, the Yankees were already getting their affairs in order for a Soto trade. Brian Cashman revealed on Thursday, after consummating the deal, that the two sides had talked at the deadline, giving both parties a baseline of expectations entering their offseason discussions.

Of course, Michael King was a reliever then. Don't discount the massive importance of the Yankees moving him into the rotation in September of a lost season, which might've been a top-five most important decision of this current era.

Crucially, Soto and Jeter have always had somewhat of a kinship. When Soto visited the MLB Store in New York City, he showed admiration for No. 2, donning a shirt, purchasing a Jeter jersey, and asking the Captain to sign it someday.

Now? Jeter's ready to make that dream come true, quoting Soto's video message on Thursday and asking him to come meet up in the Bronx when he's ready.

The Yankees are well aware that Soto will reach free agency, and likely intend to make a monstrous pitch to him next offseason, as long as the fit is as perfect as it seems to be. But, just as important as the Soto signing itself was Cashman's commentary afterwards, indicating that he intends to make the Yankees organization the "mecca" once again.

That is, after all, what Jeter was pushing towards last summer. And, as one athletic contemporary of Jeter's once famously said, "Job's not finished." But, in the moment, it's perfectly alright to take a bow. Soto's a pretty fantastic start.