I wrote on Tuesday about the offensive struggles currently being endured by New York Yankees’ iconic shortstop Derek Jeter. ESPN analyst John Kruk was on ‘Mike & Mike In The Morning’ on ESPN Radio earlier today, and he also talked about Jeter. He did not have much positive to say.
“What do you do with him?” Kruk asked. "Do you move him down in the lineup? Let’s say you move him to eighth or ninth and he doesn’t hit down there. Then where does he go?
“Is he a Gold Glove shortstop? With your pitching staff not being a strikeout staff any more can you have him at shortstop every single day and expect to win?”
Kruk said the bigger problem for the Yankees will come in the next couple of seasons.
“This year you can probably get away with it,” Kruk said. “What do you do next year and the year after? Where can you put him? Can he play right field? Can he play center?”
Then, Kruk — mostly rhetorically asked the big question “Is he worthy enough to keep in the lineup if he can’t hit?”
“I don’t know what you do with him the next two years. This year you just stick him at shortstop, you hit him first or second and hope you continue to win. But, if you’re planning on winning in 2012, 2013 where can he play to help you?”
I do not want to write Jeter off just yet. He is, however, going to have to show a lot more the rest of this season than he has thus far, With the Yankees it is about winning, not end-of-career sentimentality. It has been that way with every star player from Babe Ruth right down to the way the Yankees unceremoniously showed Bernie Williams the door a few seasons ago.
It really can’t be any other way with Jeter. Either he can help them win or he can’t.