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Joel Sherman: Rivalry with A-Rod may have cost Jeter the MVP

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Personally, I don't really buy his argument, but Sherman does raise an interesting theory nonetheless on the Jeter snub.

From MSG:

For years admirers of Derek Jeter have tried to persuade the detractors that there was more to the Yankee shortstop than any stat sheet could reveal. He was Mr. Intangible. Either you believed in such things and admired all that he brought to the game that is not easily quantified or you pooh-poohed such attributes as the result of folks wanting to see qualities that simply were not there.

How fascinating it is, therefore, that Jeter failed to win the AL MVP award on Tuesday not because of his statistics, but probably because of intangible qualities. How ironic that his distant relationship with the last Yankee to win the MVP, Alex Rodriguez, very possibly cost him this honor. As a shortstop, Jeter's stats should have won the day. Remarkably it was as a captain that Mr. Intangible might have lost the swing votes necessary to carry this day.

Amazingly, the lesson here is that Jeter does not need to do better at the plate or in the field, but perhaps he needs to do better with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez suffered through a season of far too much inconsistency and inadequacy even if the final results statistically were still better than any AL third baseman. That speaks to Rodriguez's talent. He can play miserably for substantial stretches of the schedule and still produce his seventh season of at least 35 homers and 120 RBIs, the most among any active player.

But we have seen Rodriguez long enough now in New York to know there is more to this complicated player than just his wondrous skills. If it were just about ability, Rodriguez would win the MVP every year. However, Rodriguez tends to detract from his game by thinking too much, worrying too much about what others perceive. He complicates his game. He tends to press because he so badly wants to validate his reputation, lush contract and status as a Yankee.

I am not certain that outside influences can aid Rodriguez. It is most probable that he must work through these issues himself, gain a comfort zone in his skin and in New York by his own mechanisms. But I am sure of this, it does not help him in any way to have such a strained relationship with the player lined up beside him in the field.

Jeter and Rodriguez will attempt to tell anyone who will listen that their rapport is fine. But that is just not reality. That is something said by guys who are always protecting their images, guys who are selling to Madison Avenue and hardly want to be viewed as brewing anything close to dissension. However, from within their clubhouse and within their entourages, plenty of folks will tell you that there is no real fraternity between the two and that what exists, at best, is indifferent co-existence.


Read the rest here.