Deep Thoughts: Derek Jeter's predecessors

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Mike Vaccaro has a column today about how the presence of Derek Jeter and his presumptive multi-year deal likely contributed to the Yankees missing out on Cuban free agent Adeiny Hechevarria, who seems to have signed with the Blue Jays. Vaccaro is realistic about it — it’s not like you let 19 year-old prospects dictate what you do with your still-elite Hall of Fame shortstop — it’s just one of them things, ya know?

The column did make me think, however, about the position for the Bombers. Specifically, I tried to think of who, exactly, was manning shortstop before Jeter took over full time in 1996. I recalled Tony Fernandez had the position in 1995, but before that it was a total blank.  I held out as long as a I could before consulting Baseball-Reference.com, but ultimately I couldn’t get past Fernandez.

Anyway, just for “oh wow” sake, here is the list of the guys who manned shortstop for the Yankees between the Bucky Dent and Derek Jeter eras, in reverse chronological order: Fernandez, Mike Gallego, Spike Owen, Andy Stankiewicz, Alvaro Espinoza — who actually held the job for three years! — Rafael Santana, Wayne Tolleson, Bob Meacham, Roy Smalley and then back to Dent.

There are new prospects every year. Anchors at shortstop are pretty damn rare.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.