Oh, boy! New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has done it now. Cashman has gone and re-opened the 'how much longer can Derek Jeter play shortstop' box -- one that always sets off a firestorm between Jeter supporters and Jeter-bashers.
"I'd be surprised if he plays shortstop for all four years (of his deal)," Cashman said. "I see him moving to the outfield."
Cashman made the comment during a fan breakfast sponsored by WFAN this morning, and has quickly moved to clarify that he wasn't suggesting a move was imminent.
"Thankfully that's not something we're going to have to deal with right now," Cashman told MLB.com. "He's our shortstop. I think his athletic abilities would carry him to the outfield if he ever had to change positions, but obviously he's working hard to stay at shortstop.
"No declaration, no internal plans, nothing we've discussed. It was just me responding to a question about whether I see in the future that he's moving from short to third.
"I don't know what the future is going to hold. But in response to that, I thought his athletic abilities more translate to the outfield than moving to a corner infield spot. Thankfully we're not there yet. He's our shortstop."
Jeter 36, recently signed a three-year contract with a player option for a fourth year.
Speaking with ESPN, Cashman further clarified that if Jeter ever does move the one position that seems logical to him is center field.
"I like corner outfielders and corner infielders who have power, so for me, if he's ever gonna move, it's probably gonna be a Robin Yount situation. But we don't have to deal with it at this point," Cashman said Tuesday. "We'll deal with it when we have to."
I am not going to re-hash all the debate over Jeter's defense. Let's just say his moving from shortstop has been something many have wanted for several years now. I have my doubts about him in center field, though, especially trying to learn a position like that in the twilight of his career. Center field, after all, is a young man's position that players generally move out of -- not into -- as they reach the twilight of their careers.