Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jeter ready to prove critics, Yankees wrong

Derek Jeter has heard all the criticisms of his recent job performance and the questions about whether he is getting too old to continue manning the shortstop position for the New York Yankees. He’s seems determined to prove all those critics, some of them residing in the Yankees front office, wrong.

During Jeter’s unnecessarily tense contract negotiations, Brian Cashman had the nerve to publicly raise questions about Jeter’s performance to justify the Yankees’ hard-line stance and dared him to seek offers from other teams after Jeter already let it be known he had no interest in testing the market. Jeter was clearly hurt by the nastiness of the Yankees’ vitriol, but I’m sure he realizes that the Yankees have concerns about him as a shortstop, even if they should have kept those concerns out of the media. He’s going to work extremely hard to prove that all these concerns are unfounded, that his best years aren’t behind him and that he has more Jeter-like seasons in him.

Jeter is ready and focused, starting to work on his swing a few weeks before spring training rather than enjoying the rest of his vacation. Despite all their nasty chatter, the Yankees have to be rooting for Jeter to do well, considering they do not have a shortstop anywhere need his caliber to replace him in their organization.

This is going to be an important season for Jeter. Barring a major injury, heaven forbid, he’s going to reach that magic 3,000-hit number that will guarantee admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame (even though realistically he is already a lock). But Jeter is going to have to prove to the Yankees and to the baseball world and to all his critics that he is not done, not by a long shot. Given the extra motivation, I expect Jeter to have a big year. I’m looking forward to him making the Yankees and the rest of his critics eat their words.

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