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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hit The Panic Button...Derek Jeter Is In A Slump!

Derek Jeter is 1 for 6 in the first week of Spring Training Games…

In a recent car ride in New York, I happen to be listening to a sports talk radio station.  Caller after caller were lamenting over the fact that Derek Jeter was “in a slump” and the Yankees made a big mistake signing him during the off season.  Pete from Brooklyn, “What was Cashman (Yankees GM) thinking! We neva shoulda signed him after his 2010 season.”  Barry from Staten Island, “I think we gotta drop him in da order and bat’em 8th.”  And my favorite, Lou from the Bronx cries, “Lets just hope we can sign  Jose Reyes in 2012! And then we can bench Jeter!”   Hello, Yankees fans, it’s the first week of Spring Training Games…Is it me, or does this sound a little insane? 

Perhaps we have all become a little jaded on our expectations.  Maybe there is a little Steinbrenner in all of us.  But whatever happened to Patience?!!! 

Yes, Jeter had a very “Non Jeter” year in 2010.  Okay, I said it – you’ve said it – now lets move on.  (I could see if we were talking about Oliver Perez here.  Afterall, how long have the Mets’ Front Office and fans been waiting for this guy to show up on the mound!)  Derek Jeter is getting older – it happens – he’ll turn 37 this season, and his better years are probably behind him.  But are we at a place with Jeter where it is time to move him out…for Jose Reyes? 

Take a look at his 2010 stats – were they really that miserable?  Yes, his .270 average was way below his career average of .314.  and his OBP (on base %) was a career low, .340.  (career OBP is .385) Sure, the Yankees Captain didn’t get 200 hits, something he accomplished 7 times in his career, but Jeter’s hit total was on par with previous years at 179 hits.  And his Runs, RBIs, BBs were also on the same level as previous years.  Even his strikeouts at 106 were at the same pace as previous years.   Again, Jeter had a bad year – a bad year in what has been a very very good career.  I truly believe a lot of Yankees Fans thought 2009 was his benchmark year and compare it to his 2010 year.  2009 was one of Jeter’s best years, a .334 average, 212 hits, 18 home runs, and a .406 OBP.

Sure, The Captain is in the Twilight of his career.  A career marked by FIVE World Series rings.  His bat, a little slower, his speed out of the box, not the same, his range at shortstop not as wide  - it happens.  The guy is going to be 37 years old.  How is your first step out of bed?  But to talk about a slump in Spring Training….I’m going to refer to Mike from Long Island, a caller on that same Sports Radio station…“Jeter in a Slump – Cmon’ Fagaboutit…Wait til this guy starts playin when the games count – then, we can talk bout it!” 

Oh, by the way, Jeter went 1 for 3 in the Yankees latest Spring Training Game against the Houston Astros…better call Jose Reyes’ agent!   

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