Why Derek Jeter did not deserve his Gold Gloves
Jeter Demonstrates His Lack Of Fielding Skill On Opening Day
I wonder if the Gold Glove voters are watching baseball on this fine opening day. In the top of the second of the Tigers-Yankees game they would have seen what has become all too familiar to Yankees fans: Derek Jeter not getting to a ball that every other shortstop in baseball gets to. There was a runner on first and no outs, and if Jeter could have reached that ball that was hit about 5 feet to his left it would have been an easy double play. Instead, he took one step, did an awkward fall-dive toward the ball, then "alligator armed" his reach for the ball as hit off his glove and into centerfield.
On that one play he displayed his lack of quick reactions, his slowness in getting his body moving, his lack of flexibility in his dive, and finally what appeared to be a fear of the ball in his lame reach. No error was given on the play, nor should there have been since Jeter was in a diving position as the ball glanced off his glove.
This one play demonstrates why Jeter has so few errors in the field, and also why he is the worst fielding shortstop in the league. He doesn't get to the balls that every other shortstop gets to. Most shortstops wouldn't have even had to dive for that ball, but they would have got to a position where if the ball took a tricky hop it would have been charged an error on them, because they were in a position to field it. If they had fielded it cleanly, they then have to make a throw to second. If they don't, it's an error on them. The Yankees have already erected a statue for Derek Jeter, and it stands between second and third base. The only way it ever can commit an error is if the ball is hit directly at it.
What can the Yankees do with Jeter?
The Yankees have to hold on to Jeter until he gets 3,000 hits. It would be blasphemy to get rid of him before that. The question is, what do they do after that? The Yankees have guys who follow the stats. They know Jeter is just starting a decline period that will only get worse. They know he's the worst fielding shortstop in the league. They know that even when he hit over .300 in 2009 he had just 46 extra-base hits.
Can they move him from starting shortstop? I'm not really sure. They have first base locked up with Teixeira for the next 5 years. DH is a possibility, but Jorge Posada is there now and he's a more dangerous hitter than Jeter. They could move him to outfield, but that could be quite an adjustment to make. It would probably make the most sense, since that's where the Yankees are weakest. Maybe right field would work, as Swisher is not a great fielder, but then they'd be taking a valuable bat out of the lineup.