Maybe Derek Jeter shouldn’t retire after all?
Considering the furor caused by the short stop’s early season struggles, you’d have thought Jeter was the only part of the Yankees’ team not performing up to standards. In Sunday’s 12-5 rout of the Texas Rangers, however, the Captain allayed those fears…at least for one day.
By going 4-6 with two line drive homeruns over the right centerfield wall, Jeter changed the off day’s narrative from “what’s wrong with the Captain” to “could he be turning it around”? Instead of having to deal with questions about his lagging performance, Jeter can now bask in the glow of a road trip that saw him bat .393/.414/.643.
Although the growing chorus of Jeter’s detractors will likely dismiss the performance as “only one game”, it’s worth noting that his WAR of 0.6 (fangraphs’ version) ranks within reach of every other American League shortstop except Maicer Izturis (who has played only 11 of 26 games at the position). Ironically, a large part of that ranking is attributable to Jeter’s defense, which, according to UZR/150, currently ranks ninth best in all of baseball.
In addition to finding his power stroke over the weekend, Jeter also earned the distinction of becoming the most tenured short stop with one team, surpassing Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,302 games with the Orioles. By the end of the season, Jeter will also surpass Mickey Mantle for the most games played by a Yankee, not to mention the first player in the franchise to reach 3,000 hits.
True Yankees: Longest Tenured Yankees at Each Position
As of May 8, 2011.
Note: Blue lines represent those who only played for the Yankees. Gray lines represent most games at position by players who were also on other teams.
Judging by the tone earlier in the week, it was easy to come away with the impression that some would prefer if Jeter didn’t stick around long enough to accomplish any of the aforementioned milestones. In an ironic twist, it almost seems as if the Captain has worn out his welcome with a significant portion of the fan base simply because he may never regain the glory of his prime years. Hopefully, Sunday’s game will stem the tide of that sentiment. A standing ovation for Jeter in his first at bat at the Stadium on Tuesday would be a nice place to start.