Jeter’s Final Season

by Jason Epstein

In case you missed it, Derek Jeter announced on Facebook yesterday that this season will be his last as a player.

As Jeff Todd points out at MLB Trade Rumors:

The coming season will be Jeter’s 20th MLB campaign (though he saw just 51 plate appearances in his first taste of MLB action at age 21). Taken with the sixth overall pick of the 1992 draft, Jeter performed consistently in his rise through the system, and never looked back upon making the Yankees. Since becoming a full-time big leaguer in 1996, Jeter went 17 straight years with at least 542 trips to the dish. Over that stretch, Jeter posted a composite .313/.382/.448 line with 255 home runs and 348 stolen bases. Needless to say, his standard of consistent excellence has been matched by few others.

Even Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe, who long ago took note of Jeter’s defensive limitations, still ranks him among the greatest shortstops ever:

Even if he’s unable to rebound to anything close to his 2012 form after missing nearly all of the 2013 season, Jeter has already done more than enough to guarantee a first-ballot election, likely with more than 95 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. …

He would rank higher on that table above if not for his defense. Sure-handed, blessed with a strong arm (think of those jump throws from deep in the hole) and a preternatural awareness of the action around him (think of that 2001 Division Seriesflip play), Jeter was certainly capable of making plays that gave the impression he was a fielding whiz. Even so, his limited mobility — particularly to his left — meant a whole lot of balls in play that he never got a glove on, and it’s there where the metrics take their toll. …

For all of that, the entire package of bat and glove was still a very valuable one. If 2.0 WAR is an average season for a full-time regular, Jeter had 14 that can be considered solidly above average (3.0 or more), including five that are more or less All-Star caliber (4.0 to 7.0) and two more that were borderline MVP caliber (7.5 and 8.0, from 1998 and 1999, respectively). On a per 162-game basis, he’s been worth 4.5 WAR, the kind of building block any general manager would kill to have.

Naturally, the commenters at Baseball Think Factory responded with the usual snark:

I guess Jeter took a look at Mo’s farewell tour and thought “I want to get me some of that.”

* * *

He deserves a gift basket from all 29 other teams.

* * *

Maybe the Red Sox fans can chip in and buy him an air conditioner to keep him cool when he goes to hell. :)

* * *

A-Rod finally gets to play shortstop for the Yankees.

* * *

So the Mayans were off by two years.

* * *

Is this even legal?

* * *

Just bought tickets to the last game. I may cry.

* * *

Note to self: Try to ignore the living #### out of baseball this season.

* * *

I just hope that last game isn’t sometime in June or July.

* * *

Since high school, I’ve been using the phrase “I’ll be old when Derek Jeter retires.”


And here’s my favorite:

Is Vegas offering odds right now on who the All-Star Game MVP will be?

More here, here, and here.

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.