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Picking On Derek Jeter


New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays

05/14/08 7:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays
Johnny Damon - LF Akinori Iwamura - 2B
Bobby Abreu - RF Carl Crawford - LF
Derek Jeter - SS B.J. Upton - CF
Jason Giambi - 1B Carlos Pena - 1B
Hideki Matsui - DH Evan Longoria - 3B
Robinson Cano - 2B Cliff Floyd - DH
Melky Cabrera - CF Dioner Navarro - C
Morgan Ensberg - 3B Gabe Gross - RF
Jose Molina - C Jason Bartlett - SS

Earlier this week, Joe Girardi jokingly put Derek Jeter in the clean-up spot knwoing the game would be rained out. It was the kind of light-hearted thing that could take a team's mind off its disappointing season.

Tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, Derek Jeter is batting third on the strength of his .303 AVG. In every other statistic this season, Derek Jeter is a nine-hole hitter. His walks number just six, and he trails Minnesota Twins' CF Carlos Gomez in extrabase hits, too.

The question is how long Jeter will be able to hit this way before the fantasy world recognizes Jeter has turned into a hitter of Placido Polanco's ilk - no power, no speed, high AVG hitter. Once that transformation is complete, someone somewhere may also turn an eye towards the $19MM per season Jeter is being paid.

Then one wonders if Hank Steinbrenner will turn his verbal ire towards one of the Yankees' real problems.