Are The Yankees Wasting Derek Jeter?
The collapse since the All-Star break is enough to handle. The injuries are enough to handle. Watching the team age is enough to handle. It is hard to find bright spots these days if you are the New York Yankees.
And then you stop and think about the biggest bright spot of them all. That guy again. #2. The Captain. The shortstop. The face of the team since 1996. Derek Sanderson Jeter.
Have you heard of him?
He is going to have a 200-hit season in 2012, assuming he stays healthy. Jeter will hit at least .300, assuming he stays healthy and doesn’t go into a mega slump. His shortstop play has been magnificent all year. He has hit in the clutch time and time again. He has started rallies time and time again. He has done it all. And yet the Yankees are not matching his production, not by a long shot. This is another wasted year for the team while the face of the team has a terrific baseball season.
See, the Yanks have done this often since 2001. They have wasted GREAT Jeter years by tanking the regular season or losing terribly in the playoffs. Jeter had a career year in 2006, for example, when he hit .343 with 214 hits and 97 RBI. Toss in there 14 home runs. Plus, DJ went 5-5 in the first game of the American League Division Series againstDetroit and set the tone by himself, only to see his team lose three straight after the rainout in Game 2.
Jeter has gone wild in 2012, having a career year and carrying the team, as usual.Yet Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez cannot stay healthy or produce in the clutch, Nick Swisher fails in clutch spots late in the year, Curtis Granderson has disappeared, Robinson Cano is inconsistent and getting jumpy at the plate again and the rest of the band-aids on the team are wearing out. The pitching is a disaster top to bottom in the rotation and the bullpen has gone from great even without Mariano Rivera to an average group at best.
The point is, Derek Jeter is carrying the Yanks in 2012. Derek Jeter is playing at a high level. Derek Jeter shows heart every night. Derek Jeter gets the key hits. Derek Jeter has stayed healthy. Derek Jeter is having a career year. Derek Jeter has been a championship ball player in 2012.
Now imagine if the team followed suit.