Jeter’s Dinner With Brian

Went something like this:

Actually, as Joel Sherman describes it in his article, which is mainly about Jeter's eventual contract negotiations with the Yanks, there was a dinner that might have been a turning point in the shortstop's Yankee career:

Even his most loyal supporters — and Torre was as loyal to Jeter as anyone — recognized a position change might be necessary. There had been some sentiment to make Jeter the successor to Bernie Williams in center before Johnny Damon came aboard in 2006. And by the time the 2007 season ended, the issue could not be ignored any more.

So Cashman took Jeter to dinner in Manhattan and told the Yankees captain that his sideto- side actions must improve. Jeter has an outsized athletic arrogance. He believes in himself completely, which allows him to deftly block out criticism and negativity. This trait enables him to thrive in the cauldron, but also prevents him from seeing personal shortcomings the way others perceive them. Still, to his credit, he agreed to try a new way.

With the Yankees paying the bills, Jeter enlisted Jason Riley, the director of performance at the Athletes Compound in Tampa. Riley formulated a plan to increase Jeter’s first-step quickness, particularly in fielding grounders to his left. Power lifting was diminished, agility — especially in the hips — was emphasized , weight was lost. The results came slowly at first in 2008 and in a wave last year when Jeter had one of his finest defensive seasons.

“The player Derek is, he took to it and said, ‘Watch, I will prove you wrong,’ ” Cashman said.

This is the interesting line to me: So Cashman took Jeter to dinner in Manhattan and told the Yankees captain that his side-to- side actions must improve. And what if he didn't improve on the field? I wonder if there was a real discussion about Jeter being moved to the outfield or another position. Jeter is most certainly going to re-sign with the Yanks at the end of the season for all the reasons Sherman cites. If he signs for three more years, and if he falters at all in the field during the later part of his career, this dinner conversation might very well have paved the way for the Yanks to move him to another position. Did Jeter indicate a position he'd feel comfortable playing if he had to move? Will future moves by the front office plan for this possibility?

7 comments… add one

  • Inconceivable!

    Lar February 10, 2010, 11:03 am
  • Someone somewhere made a very good point about Jeter and the quest for 4,000 or Pete Rose: Is Jeter really going to be a shortstop at that point? Because the Yankees will already have a better hitter at first (Mark Teixeira) and a better hitter at DH (Alex Rodriguez, presuming he won’t be a third baseman when he’s 40) or vice-versa by the time Jeter gets close to those marks. Jeter’s improved himself to league average, and he should be commended for that, but it does raise questions of where does he go? If he signs a five-year deal like many expect after this season, does anyone think Derek Jeter will be a credible defensive shortstop at the age of 41 (at which point Teixeira will be 35 and Rodriguez 39).

    Paul SF February 10, 2010, 2:34 pm
  • Who picked up the check?

    SF February 10, 2010, 3:36 pm
  • Depends on what you mean by credible, and how his stick goes. Jeter was actually #1 value for SS last year, beating out Hanley somehow, most of it directly from hitting.
    Jeter was 20 mil in value above league median. I guess we’ll see if his defense is a one year anomaly that will suffer regression.
    I didn’t realize how awful his 2008 was (still above average, but awful for Jeter) possibly because the Yanks sucked that year, so I might’ve bailed out earlier. We’ll see which Jeter is.
    But ya, if he can handle his stick, and his glove is average, he’ll still be valuable. I don’t know what people project how much his next contract is, but maybe it’ll be reasonable.
    Sadly, it’s probably unlikely that Jeter will reach 4,000, at least for the Yanks. Pete Rose went through many awful years, including playing first base when he really did not deserve it. The Yanks probably would not tolerate it, as much as everybody hearts Jeter. So perhaps ironically if Jeter puts up solid defense, he might get up there.
    I don’t know how much Jeter will get paid, and while I don’t think anybody is coming up the farm anytime soon, if they’re paying him a lot of money, then the Yanks can go to the market.. it’s tough.
    He should glide to 3000 easily though. Probably 3500 through his next contract.. 4000 is insane.

    Lar February 10, 2010, 3:53 pm
  • I think I’m just going to bury my head in the sand and not think about Jeter getting old…
    I equate it to Meg Ryan. I used to be completely in love with her, She was my favorite actress, etc. etc. etc.
    Has anyone seen her lately? Like the last 10 years have not been kind to her.
    My hope is Jeter wins another ring, at least, and has the good sense to retire well before he ends up like Meg. That solves all the issues. He is smart enough to know that’s the best solution, right???

    krueg February 11, 2010, 1:34 pm
  • krueg, so you’re worried that Jeter is going to get weird plastic surgery that ends up making him look like The Joker?

    Nick-YF February 11, 2010, 9:31 pm
  • Metaphorically speaking…yes, that’s exactly what I’m afraid of!

    krueg February 11, 2010, 10:17 pm

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