Interesting article posted on The Worldwide Leader article by Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus. I know, I know- new article, old story. But it's certainly a story that is going to gain momentum in the next year or or so, as Jeet gets ready for a new deal.
In his prime, Jeter's tremendous position-relative value helped power the last Yankees dynasty. Even as recently as 2006, when Jeter was able to provide a Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) mark of 6.9, the debate over Jeter's defense was puerile, if not downright academic. Ask any GM if he can have a seven-win player at shortstop, and he'll say yes. Players this good don't grow on trees.
However, Jeter's WARP dropped to 3.5 in 2007 and 2.5 last season. With his overall offensive contributions coming down from MVP-worthy to merely very good, especially in the power department, we start rekindling the question of whether or not Jeter really belongs at short.
She also more or less states, that more important than Jeter's declining value at SS, is the Yankees' current blaring need in CF, and offers a replacement for Jeter at SS:
Crying over last year's spilled Melky won't help you catch up to the Rays and Red Sox, but signing Orlando Cabrera would provide the team with a useful-enough hitter and a slick-fielding asset at short could make a small but important difference to a bad defensive ballclub.
(Gotta love that line about spilled Melky... )
If something like was to happen, it would need to happen soon. The guy's not getting any younger- if it's hard to convert someone to CF at 35, how about 36? 37? I'm not sure how likely this is, but Kahrl points out that other iconic-figures such as Ripken and Yount made the switch for the good of their teams.
So I ask you all two things -What does Jeter do? And what's best for the Yankees?