Last night, when Joe Girardi was asked by reporters about moving Jeter out of the leadoff spot in favor of Brett Gardner or Nick Swisher, Girardi answered with the following:
"I don’t think so," Girardi said of moving Jeter out of the leadoff spot when he returns from the disabled list. "Derek’s been our leadoff guy. We’ll see how he feels when he comes back, but yeah, he’ll still be our leadoff guy."
Here's WFAN's complete article, for those that are interested.
It should come as no surprise that Derek Jeter will remain the leadoff hitter for the New York Yankees when he returns from his calf strain next week. After all, he's only six hits away from becoming the twenty-eighth member of baseball's elite 3,000 hit club. However, what happens after this plateau is reached?
Jeter received some harsh criticism throughout April as he simply wasn't producing what a typical leadoff hitter should be producing: managing a measly .311 OBP and a poor .592 OPS, thanks to only two extra base hits. Since the beginning of May, he's played a little better: .265 BA, .332 OBP. In an even smaller sample size, he had a .378 OBP from May 25 until he was shelved on the DL.
More after the jump.
While his play of late had been much better, there's another guy on the team with gritty, gutty speed that would love nothing more than to man the leadoff spot. Brett Gardner's .440 OBP since April 28 is screaming for attention. In fact, it's far too valuable to be at the bottom of the batting order. Despite the fact that batting order might not be the most important factor in a team's performance, it seems a bit curious that everyone turns away neglectfully when Gardner's name comes up. For most fair-weathered fans, the idea of leading off Gardner is out of the question when Jeter is healthy. Much like Jorge Posada receives a free pass, but that's a different story altogether.
I'll tell you one thing; If the Yankees move Jeter down in the lineup this year, it's going to be a long contract for Jeter to live out. Will his ego get the best of him and finally send him over the edge in his seemingly broken relationship with ownership? Unfortunately, I fear that this situation is a ticking bomb. Derek Jeter will end up having one of the more famous downfalls in New York sports due to the fact that he's signed for another three years and there are already question marks about his position in the field as well as his spot in the batting order. Time will tell.
What do you guys think? 1) What will happen? and 2) What should happen?