For the first part of the off-season, the Pinstriped Bible staff will be grading 35 of the Yankees' main contributors on the 2013 roster. Their entire season will be taken into account, even if part of it came at the minor league level. We continue the series with Derek Jeter.
2013 statistics: 17 games, 73 plate appearances, .190/.288/.254, 48 wRC+, -0.6 fWAR.
2014 contract status: $9.5 million player option.
On August 4, a day before his third DL stint, Derek Jeter said it best: "This whole season has been a nightmare." It all started in the 12th inning of Game One of last year's ALCS against the Tigers, when the bruised ankle he had been dealing with since September of that year finally fractured and gave out. The Captain's season was over just like that and he needed surgery to repair the fracture. He was set to be ready for Opening Day, and he even appeared in a handful of Spring Training games before needing a cortisone shot, thus further delaying his return. It wasn't until mid-April that the Yankees found out he had fractured the ankle again, though this was a less severe break than the one suffered in October, but it was still a major setback nonetheless.
Jeter missed the first 91 games thanks to this new fracture, and it wasn't until July 11 that he would step on a Major League field for the first time in 2013. He singled and drove in one run against the Royals in his first game back. Unfortunately, that would be it for Derek for another 12 games, thanks to a quad strain. Jeter then returned from his quad injury on July 28 with a bang against the Rays, as he homered on the first pitch he saw off Matt Moore in his first at-bat. That homer would be the only time Jeter would go yard in his injury-shortened season.
The Captain's return would only last a few more games, however. Three more games, to be exact. He actually suffered a calf injury in the first game of a two-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but played through it for a couple of more games until being placed back on the Disabled List once again on August 5. Three weeks later, Jeter came back and played the final 12 games of his season from August 26 at the Blue Jays-September 7 against the Red Sox before reaggravating his ankle again, thus placing him on the DL for the fourth and final time this year.
I fully expect the Yankees to have Jeter back as their regular shortstop next season instead of moving their 39, soon to be 40, year old to full-time DH and signing a Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta type as a replacement, but such is life. Brian Cashman did say that the Yankees will continue to play Jeter at shortstop or at DH in 2014 and nowhere else, which really isn't all that surprising. Cashman also expects to get the same Derek Jeter back that they're used to seeing, and an off-season of being able to work out his lower half and whatnot should do the trick. It's a major roll of the dice by potentially keeping an aging and broken down Jeter as the regular shortstop, and they can always change their mind about that, but hopefully their faith in their longtime Captain will pay off in the end.