For many, the answer is simple: “yes.” The statisitics prove that Jeter is a below-average defensive shortstop. If he moved to third, he would still be a good offensive player. Plus, the Yankees could find a slick-fielding shortstop which would help address one of the team’s most glaring problems: the up-the-middle defense. Then again, for many fans, the answer is equally as simple: “no.” Derek Jeter is the greatest shortstop in Yankee history and there is no need to move him at this point in his career.
I am for Jeter changing positions and have been since the 2002 season. He is considered a “true team player” who puts winning above individual achievements. While I don’t doubt that he is a “team-guy”, I’d like to see him put to the test. Great players have changed positions before. However, I seriously doubt that Jeter will be moved anytime soon. At least not as long as Joe Torre is around. Maybe the Yankees will consider moving him for 2005 or 2006; that all depends on how rapidly Jeter’s already suspect fielding continues to decline.
Steve Goldman addressed the $64,000 Derek Jeter question with clarity and poise last week in his Pinstriped Bible column:
Is it asking too much of a player with the ego necessary to be a star in professional sports (for that indomitable will to always appear at one’s best is as much generated by self-adulation as by a sense of honor) to swallow his pride and admit that another man is his better? This winter Jeter and the Yankees have an excellent chance to demonstrate that pride of winning comes before pride of self.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask. I’ve heard people say that if Alex Rodriguez was ever traded to the Bronx, A Rod should move to third, not Jeter. Jeter has to stay at short out of respect. For what? Jeter’s feelings? Puleeze. When did this become a diva cat fight? I thought all Derek Jeter wanted to do was win championships. Last I checked Alex Rodriguez has won two consecutive Gold Gloves and is one of the 10-15 greatest players in the history of the game. Now, let’s talk about respect.
Of course, it is highly unlikely that Alex Rodriguez will ever play for the Yankees, just as it is unlikely that Derek Jeter will be asked to move his position in the near future. Still, I think it has become increasingly clear that moving Jeter out of short would be the best thing for the Yankees.