Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Talk of Jeter move refuses to go away

Talk of Derek Jeter eventually moving to center field refuses to away, no matter how much the captain of the New York Yankees would like it to.

Manager Joe Girardi was the latest to wade into the discussion by saying the Yankees plan on Jeter playing shortstop through the length of his current deal (three years plus a Jeter option for another year). Girardi may have been trying to tamp down the speculation, but his suggestion that Jeter can play short for another four years seems unrealistic and possibly at odds with Brian Cashman’s view of Jeter’s abilities.

For his part, Jeter blew off talk of a possible move by insisting he is only focused on playing short this year. Jeter is generally a master at not letting small disputes become major controversies so his reaction was unsurprising. But you know he’s not happy that it’s even a topic of conversation.

I can’t blame Jeter for not wanting this distraction. He has enough to worry about, including rebounding from a subpar (for him) 2010 season and striving for that 3,000 hit that will stamp his ticket to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The last thing he needs is to have reporters and fans constantly questioning him about moving to the outfield, particularly when the Yankees have yet to firm up his replacement at short. We keep hearing about Eduardo Nunez, but who knows if the kid is ready for the challenge of playing in New York, let alone replacing an icon like Derek Jeter.

So a move that won’t happen in 2010 will continue to be the talk of spring training camp for the Yankees. At least we’re not talking about Jeter’s contract anymore.

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