It was easy to watch Thursday night’s Red Sox-Yankees tilt and come to the conclusion that Derek Jeter is done. Hobbling around on one leg at shortstop, he nearly got himself seriously injured again, courtesy of a cheap takeout slide from Mike Napoli. Any other major league shortstop would have been there and gone already by the time Napoli got to second base. Jeter, unable to make his body work like it used to, ended up head over heels on the play.
Besides the extreme lack of range at shortstop, Jeter also isn’t really hitting. He’s at .200/.297/.273 through 15 games this year. That’s the lesser concern, though.
Personally, I don’t see Jeter as done as much as he’s simply hurt. In trying to come back from the broken ankle he suffered in the postseason last year, he sustained quad and calf injuries. It seems obvious that he’s not going to be 100 percent at any point during this year. And while the Yankees are likely already wondering whether they’ll be able to eke out another year with him at shortstop in 2014, it’s this season that they need to worry about now.
I don’t think there’s any question that Jeter is a liability with the way he’s playing right now, but so is the alternative on the Yankees’ roster; Eduardo Nunez can run circles around Jeter, but he’s terribly mistake prone at short and doesn’t make up for it with a lot of offense. If Jayson Nix were healthy, he’d be the team’s best option at short right now. Alas, he’s out for the season. The Yankees do have a defense-first shortstop in Alberto Gonzalez in Triple-A, but he hit .183/.240/.220 in 191 at-bats for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It’d be worth calling him up anyway. As loathe as they may be to take Jeter out for a defensive replacement when they have the lead, it’s something they absolutely need to do.
For now, though, they might as well keep Jeter at short, if only for four or five games per week. At least he can still handle the balls hit right to him. They should probably move him down to the seventh or eighth spot in the order, but it seems doubtful they’ll go there unless he volunteers. We all know Joe Girardi doesn’t want to embarrass the future Hall of Famer and Yankees legend, but the situation does call for some managing. Taking Jeter out late in games is pretty close to a must right now.
Sure, it’s PR through and through, but it’s also kind of neat.
Ryan Braun, currently serving a 65-game suspension from MLB for his performance-enhancing drug usage, is calling Brewers season-ticket holders to apologize for his transgressions.
CBS 58 in Milwaukee reached out to one of the ticket holders, Pat Guenther, and got some quotes from the bar owner.
“I said what can I do for you? He said, I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up,” Guenther told CBS 58. “I just want to reach out and say I’m sorry. I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you’re an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better.”
Considering that the Brewers didn’t reach out and let the ticket owners know this was happening, one can’t help but wonder how many times Braun got hung up on by some fan figuring it was some sort of prank. Guenther said he knew it was really Braun based on his TV interviews.
This all seems like a better step forward for Braun than the statement he released last month. He hasn’t held any news conferences or done any interviews since his suspension was announced. He apologized in his release, but he needs to put himself out there if he intends to win back his fans.
Mark Trumbo went to the All-Star Game last year and is about to notch a second straight 30-homer, 90-RBI season, so he could easily fall back on the old “I get paid to produce runs” line. It’s nice to see that he doesn’t.
“The casual fan would probably be pretty pumped up when they see the baseball-card numbers, and the new-age fans are probably not going to be too terribly thrilled with a player like me,” Trumbo told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “But you know what, at the end of the day, you are who you are. I want to get better and do what I do.”
By the new-age fans, Trumbo is referring to those who would point to his current .291 OBP. His career mark is .299. Of the 251 first basemen since 1900 to amass 1,500 plate appearances in the majors, Trumbo ranks 238th in OBP.
On the other hand, Trumbo has 90 homers and 268 RBI in three seasons of playing time. That makes him an asset, even if he’s more of a No. 5 or No. 6 hitter than someone who should bat cleanup with any regularity.
“I do quite a few things well, and there are some things I don’t do well, which are quite obvious,” Trumbo said. “Unfortunately, you tend to dwell on what you want to get better at. I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I can do certain things better.”
Another player in Trumbo’s situation might be content with his lot. That Trumbo isn’t bodes better for his future. The Angels declared him off limits in trade talks this summer, and he’s still being viewed as one of their building blocks.