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?