Derek Jeter has marks to shoot for in final season

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Not that he ever seemed particularly motivated by personal milestones, but any dream of 4,000 hits and a run at Pete Rose died for Derek Jeter when he suffered a fractured ankle in the 2012 postseason. Never healthy in 2013, he played in just 17 games due to a quad injury and continued soreness in the ankle. Now he says his age-40 season will be his last, and just how much he’ll be able to play in 2014 remains unclear. The hope is that he’ll be an effective regular while playing shortstop and DHing on occasion. But that remains to be seen.

While Jeter will be gunning for a sixth World Series ring and not any round numbers this year, his career totals are coming into focus. The future Hall of Famer currently ranks 10th all-time in hits, 13th in runs scored and 29th in total bases. Let’s see how much higher he can go:

Hits
1. Pete Rose – 4,256
2. Ty Cobb – 4,189
3. Hank Aaron – 3,771
4. Stan Musial – 3,630
5. Tris Speaker – 3,514
6. Cap Anson – 3,435
7. Honus Wagner – 3,420
8. Carl Yastrzemski – 3,419
9. Paul Molitor – 3,319
10. Derek Jeter – 3,316

Before the ankle injury, Jeter seemed like a good bet to end up third on the career list. Now, he’s probably going to finish sixth with a relatively healthy season. He’s 120 hits away from moving past Anson at 3,435. At his career rate, Jeter averages 120 hits in 95 games played. Of course, he’s probably not the same .312 hitter now that he’s been over the course of his career, but as long as he plays in 110 games or so, he should top Anson.

Fifth place isn’t completely out of reach, but it would require quite a last hurrah, as he needs 199 hits to pass Speaker. He did have 216 hits just two years ago in 2012. However, it’s hard to imagine him starting the 150 or so games he’d need to have any chance of collecting 200 hits this season.

Runs scored
7. Willie Mays – 2,062
8. Cap Anson – 1,999
9. Stan Musial – 1,949
10. Alex Rodriguez – 1,919
11. Lou Gehrig – 1,888
12. Tris Speaker – 1,882
13. Derek Jeter – 1,876

Jeter needs just 44 runs scored to finish this season in the top 10, but to stay there, he’ll also likely have to pass Musial by scoring 74 runs. That’s because the suspended Rodriguez still figures to add to his total before he’s done.

Total bases
19. Mel Ott – 5,041
20. Jimmie Foxx – 4,956
21. Ted Williams – 4,884
22. Honus Wagner – 4,870
23. Paul Molitor – 4,854
24. Al Kaline – 4,852
25. Reggie Jackson – 4,834
26. Manny Ramirez – 4,826
27. Andre Dawson – 4,787
28. Chipper Jones – 4,755
29. Derek Jeter – 4,739

Jeter needs 261 total bases to become the 20th player all-time with 5,000, but that’s going to be a tough one. He’s averaged 1.82 total bases per game over the course of his career, so 261 amounts to 143 games worth of production from him. And, again, he’s probably not going to be quite the player he used to be. Jeter should at least pass Wagner to become the  No. 2 shortstop on the list. Cal Ripken Jr. is at 5,168. A-Rod, at 5,480, could still be considered a shortstop, too, but he’s one season away from having played more games at third base than his original position.

One other thing Jeter figures to do this season is pass Luis Aparicio for second place on the games played list at shortstop. Omar Vizquel is the all-time leader at 2,709, following by Aparicio at 2,581 and Jeter at 2,544. He’s already the leader for hits by a shortstop.

John Henry tries to justify the Red Sox’ trade of Mookie Betts

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Red Sox owner John Henry issued a lengthy statement to fans today trying to explain and justify the team’s trade of Mookie Betts. It’s a master class in distortion that will, in all likelihood, make no one happy.

Henry starts by talking about “challenges.” The “particularly challenging” offseason the Red Sox had, the “extraordinary challenges” the Red Sox faced, and the front office’s handling of these “challenges.” He goes on to talk about how he knows the “challenges” affect the fans and how he sees it as his job to protect the organization from these “challenges.”

There’s a lot of passive voice here, and at no point does Henry note that the primary challenge at play here was the team’s decision to cut payroll and get it below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold. It’s just a thing that happened to the Red Sox, apparently. They had no agency in this at all.

For what it’s worth, the team keeps denying that the CBT was the motivating factor:

This is laughable, of course, given that Henry himself began the Red Sox’ offseason by specifically saying the team needed top do just that. His exact words from late September:

“This year we need to be under the CBT . . .  that was something we’ve known for more than a year now. If you don’t reset there are penalties so we’ve known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done.”

Three days later, Kennedy himself said it’d “be difficult” to keep both Betts and J.D. Martinez and accomplish that goal. When that all went over like a lead balloon with the fans Henry and everyone else tried to walk it back, but you have to be an idiot not to see what happened here:

  1. Owner demands team get under CBT;
  2. Team president says it’ll be hard to do that without one of the superstars leaving;
  3. Martinez declines to op-out of his deal;
  4. Betts is traded.

They can cite all the “challenges” they want, but they traded Betts in order to slash payroll and they slashed payroll simply because they wanted to, not, as we and many others have demonstrated, because of any compelling reason.

Instead of talking about that, Henry spends the bulk of the statement talking about how baseball’s financial system — free agency, basically — requires teams to make tough choices. Henry:

In today’s game there is a cost to losing a great player to free agency — one that cannot merely be made up by the draft pick given. . . . we felt we could not sit on our hands and let him go without getting value in return to help us on our path forward.”

Losing a player to free agency stinks, but nowhere in the entire statement does Henry mention that the Sox could’ve, you know, not lost Betts to free agency next November.

Nowhere does he note that the Sox had a full year to talk to Betts about a possible extension nor did he mention that the Sox — who print money at a faster rate than anyone except the Yankees — could’ve bid on him in free agency too. He simply does not allow for the possibility that a 2021 Boston Red Sox team could’ve done what the 2020 Washington Nationals did, for example, and sign one of their big, would-be departing free agents in Stephen Strasburg. Nor, for that matter, does he allow for the possibility that they could do what the 2019 Washington Nationals did with their all-but-certain-to-depart superstar in Anthony Rendon: hold on to him in his walk year and win a damn World Series. Guess it was a “challenge” to go into all of that.

Of course, as we’ve seen across baseball this past week, it’s really, really hard to explain something when you don’t want to admit the facts and accept the consequences of it all. That’s maybe the toughest challenge of them all.

The full statement: