December 2010

Yankees Lost Lee But Pitching Cupboard Is Not Bare

When Brain Cashman awoke this morning there was no sign of Cliff Lee under the tree. Lee spurned $50 million dollars from the New York Yankees to return to a team that had traded him a year ago.
Left-handers, right?
Before that the “Greinke That Stole Christmas,” (Zack of Kansas City) told the Yankees he would not pitch under the glare of the bright lights because of his anxiety disorder. He chose instead to be traded to a team that prides its city’s heritage in beer.
Toss back a few after a bad outing, Zack? Good luck!
It seems like everybody on the Yankees’ pitching shopping list was stolen away in the dead of night by bargain hunters out on Black Friday.
Even the “smartest frat boy in baseball,” Theo Epstein, had scooped up outfielder Carl Crawford and arranged a trade with the Red Sox farm team in San Diego to get Adrian Gonzalez and was crowing about it like his most successful panty raid.
The poor elf, Cashman, was left what appeared to the proverbial lump of coal in his stocking.
The Yankees only have a catcher Russell Martin, lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano and old friend Luis Vizcaino even is aboard via a minor-league deal.
That hardly looks like a mother lode of talent.
However, the Yankees do seem to return the nucleus of what was a very good baseball team in 2010. Every position in the starting lineup looks set.
The starting pitching staff would pretty good if Andy Pettitte decides to give it one more try.
Yet the Yankees are discovering there is a move afoot around baseball to keep quality pitching out of their hands. It started a few years ago when small-market teams began locking up their young pitchers with multi-year deals.
Over the years Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson among others were signed to lengthy deals to keep them out of the clutches of money rich teams like the Yankees.
Cash-strapped franchises invested what money they had in scouting and they plucked the best pitchers they could find in the early rounds of the major-league draft every year. The Yankees, because they are contenders every year, had to take what was left.
But the Yankees might have found a few gems along the way. Phil Hughes finally developed into the pitcher the Yankees hoped he would be last season. At age 24, Hughes appears ready to take a step forward in 2011.
Late last season the Yankees called up a rookie right-hander in Ivan Nova. At age 23, nova proved to much better than the Yankees thought he was. He seemed unfazed by pitching to great hitters and he never looked overmatched.
Perhaps the Yankees could use Pettitte and another starter such as Joe Blanton, who the Phillies are looking to dump along with his $8 million salary. But Nova could prove to be more valuable in 2011 as the season moves along.
The Yankees also have another star in their minor-league system. He is 22-year-old Dellin Betances. At 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, Betances has the look of CC Sabathia’s little brother. In the Florida State League, Betances made 14 starts for Tampa and was 8-1 with a sparkling 1.77 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 71 innings.
Betances was promoted to Double-A Trenton and made three starts with no record and a 3.77 ERA. Scouts say he is on a fast track to the majors and could be in the Yankees’ rotation by 2012.
The Yankees are also impressed with Hector Noesi, who began 2010 as a teammate of Betances at Tampa. Noesi was 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA in eight starts before being promoted to Trenton.
Noesi, 23, was 8-4 with a 3.10 ERA there in 16 starts. Although he does not have the strikeout stuff like Betances, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound right-hander has an assortment of pitches and excellent control. 
In 160 innings, ending up with a brief stop at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Noesi only walked 28 batters. Though scouts rate Betances higher, Noesi is among the best minor-league pitchers in baseball. 
Noesi will get a long look in spring training but is likely headed back to Scranton. Betances likely will begin 2011 at Trenton but is not expected to stay there long.
The Yankees also like 24-year-old right-hander David Pope, who was a combined 10-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 25 starts between Trenton and Scranton. Pope also showed command with 141 strikeouts and 36 walks in 158 2/3 innings.
These three pitchers show the Yankees have the makings of young talent on the way to the big leagues either with the Yankees or possible trade value to obtain veteran pitching the Yankees might need in 2011.
Either way, maybe Lee, Greinke and the other teams who seem so determined to keep good pitching out of the hands of the Yankees may actually be doing the Yankees a big favor.

Patience Should Reward Yankees With Cliff Lee

The Cliff Lee wait begins.
Now that Brian Cashman left his Lake Buena Vista, FL, hotel room to return to The Big Apple without a star left-hander’s signature on a contract in his luggage, he and New York Yankee fans are cautiously optimistic.
I read with glee that the Texas Rangers, startled by the ridiculous seven-year deal Carl Crawford signed with the Red Sox, finally realized their prize pitcher was about to be taken away from them if they did not start getting realistic in their offers.
The Rangers brass — owner Chuck Greenberg, assistant general manager Thad Levine and club co-chairman Ray Davis hopped a flight to Arkansas to meet with Lee and Lee’s agent Derek Braunecker.
There they offered the 32-year-old former Cy Young Award winner a series of contracts in varying length and compensation. Call this the Chinese menu approach. Lee might take one from Column A, two from Column B and skip Column C, if he likes.
This approach, as the approach the Rangers have taken throughout the Lee negotiations, has been odd, to say the least. They came armed for bear (or Cashman) when they arrived in Florida. But then they stated they would not get into a bidding war for Lee.
Then when the Boston Red Sox swooped in to claim Crawford, all hell broke loose and Nolan Ryan was ready to to slug Robin Ventura so more. The Rangers suddenly realized they Yankees decision to add a seventh year to what already was a $140 million contract was going to blow them out of the water without any paddle to get back to shore.
So they do what any self-respecting team that sees their 2011 blowing up in their face: They panicked. 
That was the reason they traveled to Arkansas. They wanted to assure Lee that despite the fact they were not going to get into a bidding for him that was exactly what they were doing.
That might have been Lee’s reaction too. 
Lee spent three months with the Rangers. He spent six years with the Indians. He spent a season with the Phillies and he spent five months with the Mariners. For the Rangers to start pulling out the Loyalty Card is ridiculous.
So now they have pulled the “We Can’t Match the Dollars But We Can Offer Flexibility” Card. We will see how that flies but I think the whole affair is very hypocritical. I also would hope that Lee would see through it.
I was struck by something CC Sabathia said to reporters on Thursday from a benefit he was doing at Payless Shoesouce. He said that he not tried to twist Lee’s arm to come to the Yankees because that is a decision Lee has to make for himself and his family.
Sabathia’s wife, Amber, is very close with Kristen Lee and their children are very close in ages. By Amber has not pressured the Lees either. They think it would great if the Lees do decide to come but the choice is up to them.
I honestly believe that the side that shows the least amount of desperation will capture the prize. That is why I think the Yankees come off looking better and better to Lee. The Rangers look very confused and desperate by altering their posture so abruptly and flying to Arkansas like a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Cashman is essentially offering Lee the same deal Sabathia signed and he made one trip to Arkansas in November and that was it. 
Now if Yankee fans can be patient, Lee should come around. The big stage can be daunting but having CC, Amber and their children around to help them through it all says a lot more than money can.
Lee in pinstripes is inevitable if the Yankees remain patient and calm.
THE OTHER CC  . . .  I honestly did not think Carl Crawford would sign with the Red Sox for the obvious reason that Afro-American players such as Jim Rice, Ellis Burks and “Oil Can” Boyd were routinely booed there. But now that he has signed, congratulations to him.
However, in trying to keep Crawford from signing with the California Angels or the Yankees, Boston dratically went overboard in signing him to seven years and paying him a ridiculous $142 million. 
If Crawford were 25, it would have been an excellent deal. The fact that Crawford is 29 is problematic to the Red Sox as Crawford reaches age 32 or so. So much of Crawford’s game is built around speed that his value drops as that speed diminishes with age.
Will Crawford be stealing 60 bases at age 35? No!
Also it will be interesting to see after playing his entire career where half of his games are indoors how those aging hamstrings deal with the cold, damp nights at Fenway in April and May. Not to mention the chills of late September and October.
Wrap those hamstrings real tight, Carl. You may be a disabled list casualty in waiting. 
By the time you are starting your rehab you may have wished to reconsider that good offer you got from the Angels.

Nationals Fooling Themselves With 7-Year Offer To Lee

ORLANDO, FL  —  Since when did the Washington Nationals think they could compete in the same arena as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox?
They already splashed into the deep end of the free-agent pool by reeling in the “Catch of the Day” in Jayson Werth before the Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL, began.
Today they decided to widen their fishing nets for Cliff Lee with an offer of seven years. However, no matter how creative the Nationals can get with dollars and length of contract, I doubt seriously if Lee will bite.
Lee has tasted the big stage twice in the past two seasons with the Phillies and the Rangers. In both cases he was so close but lost to the Yankees and Giants.
Sure he can take a seven-year, $140 million deal and live with the Nationals. But what guarantee does Lee have reaching the playoffs with the Nationals? With the Phillies in the same division and the Braves and Mets around it would seem the Nationals have a long way to go before making a breakthrough.
Werth, notwithstanding, the Nationals lack a competitive lineup, rotation and bullpen to be serious contenders in the short term. For Lee, that speaks volumes. I doubt the lure of an extra year will change his desire to pitch for a contender that he can count on making the playoffs.
So look for the Yankees, who are offering six years, and the Rangers, who are holding firm on five, as the major players in this drama. In these deep ends of the free-agent pools in which the Nationals have decided to swim, when it comes to Lee they will get blown out of the water.
Here is another prediction: Werth will flop in a bigger ballpark and with all the focus on him instead of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins.
JETER JABS  . . .  Things got a little testy this afternoon in Tampa, FL, as the Yankees announced the signing of Derek Jeter. Make no mistake, this press conference was not a “lovey-dovey” affair. Yankee co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman were not smiling.
The reason is because Jeter was playing the good soldier who took a pay cut to stay with the Yankees in public. But privately Jeter is very unhappy with the way the Yankees leaked their offer and Jeter’s demands.
Jeter was also not happy with Cashman’s pronouncement the contract was a “fair offer” or his advice to Derek to “test the market.”
Jeter’s comment “I would be lying to you if I said I was not angry” raised a more than a few eyebrow in the room. Though Jeter refused to name anyone, it was clear his jab was aimed at the media shills of Cashman and the Steinbrenners who made the dirty laundry too public for The Captain’s taste.
At one time, I believed that would remain loyal to the Yankees and they would remain loyal to him. Down the road I saw the Yankees offering Jeter a personal services contract extending after his career and possibly an offer to coach or manage when his career was over.
That would have made sense given what Jeter means to the Yankees and their fans. Think about this: If you are a Yankee fan who is 45 years old or less, Derek Jeter is your Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig.
To see the team captain and the face of the franchise being treated like Johnny Damon was last season is just distasteful and unnecessarily cruel. Yeah, the Yankees had “leverage” in negotiations because Jeter never wanted to even seek an offer from another team.
But just because you have leverage does not mean you have to use it.
Perhaps Derek should have a chat with his old mentor Joe Torre for perspective on handling an organization that seems to preach class and doing things the right way but does the exact opposite when it suits their wallets.
Oh the stories Joe could tell.
GONZO FOR ADRIAN  . . .  It is very lucky for the Boston Red Sox that they are able to staff the San Diego Padres with stooges who used to work for them in order to get Adrian Gonzalez at a cut-rate price.
However, the Red Sox allowed their team to collapse last season beyond a point where any one player can make much of a difference. 
They still have holes that have to be addressed. Werth is off the market and Carl Crawford is very unlikely to play for an organization that booed its best Afro-American player (Jim Rice) unmercifully for the decade he played with the team.
Crawford is not a fool and he is also not happy with the way Red Sox fans treated him at Fenway Park and Tropicana Field. They yelled racial slurs at him from the bleachers. He knows just donning a Red Sox uniform will not change their views.
Why did the Celtic fans cheer Brian Scalabrine louder than for Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett? Hmmm!
They Red Sox also have issues now than Victor Martinez has decided to leave. They also have to address whether Jonathan Papelbon is their “fair-haired” boy after they so publicly courted Mariano Rivera.
Jacoby Ellsbury has to bounce back, Marco Scutaro has to prove he is not a stiff and they seem to be stuck with aging has-beens like David Ortiz and J.D. Drew. I am not convinced a starting staff that includes an ailing Josh Beckett, an overachieving John Lackey and an overrated Daisuke Matsuzaka is going anywhere.
There is always Tim Wakefield around to abuse in the bullpen or fill in as a starter.
Maybe the Padres can help by providing more talent. But, other than Gonzalez and free-agent closer Heath Bell, it appears the Padres have already tanked their hopes in 2011 in order to restock their pals in Boston.
Maybe the Padres should change their name to Pawtucket. It would be fitting.

Stocking Stuffer Lee Tops 2010 Wish List For Yanks’ ‘Elf’

Well, the “little elf” has delivered Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to the Yankees. Can he now fulfill the team’s wish list with a left-hander Cliff Lee?
General manager Brian Cashman, who took time to rappel down the Landmark building in Stamford, CT, playing the part of an elf in their Christmas celebration this weekend, heads to the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, FL, with a sack full of money ready to hand to Lee.
Lee, after all, is the top free-agent pitcher on everybody’s winter shopping list. The question is can the Yankees’ offer provide Lee “comfort and joy?”
As this blog predicted, the Yankees were able to forge a compromise deal with Jeter. He has reportedly agreed to a three-year, $51 million dollar deal that includes a player option for a fourth season.
Jeter’s deal, which is pending a physical and likely will be announced this week, calls for deferred money and the player option can increase up to $8 million based on Jeter’s performance in the first three years.
The most Jeter could earn under the contract is $65 million and it includes a $3 million buyout in 2014.
Both the Yankees and Jeter managed to save face on a month-long negotiation that did have some unexpected moments of drama. Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, called the tact the Yankees were taking toward their team captain “baffling.”
Earlier, Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner hinted the negotiations with Jeter might become “messy.”
But with Jeter back in the fold, it appears both sides are happy and Jeter will be ready for another championship run in 2011.
The same can be said for Mariano Rivera, who has agreed to a two-year deal that is reportedly worth $15 million per season. The funny thing is the offer was the same one Rivera received from the Yankees’ chief rival, the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox, who apparently are making no secret of their desire to replace closer Jonathan Papelbon before he becomes a free agent next season, thought they could somehow spirit away the best closer in baseball history from the team who signed him and brought him to the big leagues.
Rivera said he appreciated the Boston offer and he said he “respected” the Red Sox organization but added, “the Yankees did what they were supposed to do, and that was the end of that.”
Rivera’s two-year deal, which he hinted likely may be last contract, is also awaiting a physical and a formal announcement.
Cashman flew into Orlando Sunday night in advance of the meetings so, as he said, could hit the ground running on Monday. In addition to Lee, the Yankees have reportedly expressed an interest in signing former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carl Crawford.
The Yankees have apparently changed their mind about not tampering with their outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher and believe Crawford, 29, could add a solid hitter, a consummate base-stealer and excellent defensive outfielder to the team.
Crawford is coming off a 2010 season in which he hit .307 with a career-high 19 home runs and a career-best 90 RBIs. He also finished third in the American League with 47 stolen bases. 
The Yankees, if they are serious about signing Crawford, would be competing with the Red Sox and the California Angels for the speedy left-fielder. With outfielder Jayson Werth off the free-agent market due to his signing by the Washington Nationals, Crawford is the best remaining position player prize left in the winter free-agent pool.
The Yankees may also have an interest in Crawford to drive up his price on the Red Sox as payback for their attempts to “steal” Rivera. The Yankees also could be looking to use either Gardner or Granderson in a trade to acquire a pitcher — either a starter who could replace Andy Pettitte should he retire or a reliever who could setup for Rivera since the Yankees allowed Kerry Wood to seek a role a closer for another team.
But the real focus beginning Monday morning will be the Yankees desire for Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner who is seeking a five-year deal worth as much $125 million. The Texas Rangers appear to be the team most likely to get into a bidding war for the lefty.
Lee, 32, was 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA in a season between the Seattle Mariners and the Rangers. Lee has defeated the Yankees in three consecutive postseason starts. He was undefeated in all eight of his postseason starts until San Francisco beat him in both of his World Series starts as the Giants won the 2010 World Series over the Rangers.
The Yankees have two huge advantages going into the negotiations for the crafty veteran left-hander. No. 1, they have the deepest pockets. In a meeting a month ago in Lee’s Arkansas hometown, Cashman told Lee and his agent that the Yankees would top any offer he is made this winter.
No. 2, the Yankees already have signed Lee’s best friend in ace left-hander CC Sabathia, who was a teammate of Lee’s from 2002 to 2008. In fact, when the Yankees thought they were close to a deal with the Mariners to acquire Lee at the July 31 trade deadline, Lee called Sabathia to inquire about schools in the New York area.
The Rangers, who no longer have the deep pockets of Tom Hicks, are hoping to at least be able to stay in the same vicinity of the Yankees’ best offer and hope that Lee will prefer a smaller stage in Arlington, TX, for a bit less money.
The Angels are also interested in Lee, but they have targeted Crawford as more important to them because the team floundered in the absence of speedy Chone Figgins, who signed last winter with the Seattle Mariners.
Now the elf (Cashman) can make some very good boys and good girls who root for the Yankees very happy at Christmas by placing Lee under their big Christmas tree stadium in the Bronx. That would certainly be the best sanitary stocking stuffer Cashman could possible provide.

Mo Reportedly Will Sign 2-Year Deal To Remain In Bronx

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never-never land

                                                                                      – “Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Yankee fans may be able to sleep a lot better knowing that the best closer in baseball history is returning for two more seasons.
Mariano Rivera, 41, reportedly has agreed to a two-year deal for $15 million per season. That is certainly good news to Yankee management, players and fans. The Yankees really have no creditable replacement for “The Sandman” and, after a season in which Rivera recorded 33 saves with a 1.80 ERA, he proved he is not losing his effectiveness.
Rivera now stands poised to challenge Treveor Hoffman’s major-league saves record. Hoffman, 42, has 601 career saves but he lost his role as a closer with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 and is currently a free agent.
Rivera is only 42 saves behind Hoffman with 559. The two-year deal assures him opportunity to pass Hoffman.
Rivera’s career numbers pretty much have given him first-ballot entrance into the Hall of Fame. He is 74-55 with a career ERA of 2.23. He also has blown only 49 saves in 608 chances. That is a career save percentage of 92 percent.
He also has led the Yankees to five world titles and is 8-1 with an incredible 0.71 ERA in postseason play and a major-league leading 42 career postseason saves.
To put it mildly, Rivera is the most valuable piece to any puzzle the Yankees need to assemble to a world championship club in 2011.
Though he has been nagged by minor ailments to his knee, ribs and shoulder, Rivera has also proven to be durable over his 16 major-league seasons. Rivera has also been helpful to teammates by teaching them his signature cutter.
In 2010, pitchers Phil Hughes and Kerry Wood employed their own version of the cutter under the tutelage of the master, Rivera. 
The Yankees only need now to shore up the pieces of the bullpen to get to Rivera since the team elected not pick up Wood’s expensive $11 million option. The Yankees will retain Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Boone Logan and Sergio Mitre. They also hope to get lefty specialist Damaso Matre back sometime during the 2011 season.
However, they chose to release Alfredo Aceves and Dustin Moseley on Friday. Aceves was sidelined most of the 2010 season with a severe back injury and broke his collarbone this off-season.
Moseley was 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA as a part-time starter and long reliever.
So the Yankees will be looking for relief help in the free-agent market to fill in the missing pieces. Their chances of re-signing Wood are slim since he is looking for a chance to close with another club.
But one target could be Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Scott Downs, who was 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 67 games last season. Downs, 34, also has some experience as a closer, collecting 16 saves in 32 chances in his nine major-league seasons.
Downs has a dual utility to the Yankees He is an experienced left-hander who can get tough lefties out — lefties hit only .152 against him last season. In addition, with Rivera advancing in age Downs could close if the Yankees needed him to do so.
The only problem in signing Downs will come down to price. He figures to get a lot of offers from contending teams looking for quality left-handers in their bullpen. But it is clear the Yankees would have an interest in him.
Now they can tout to Downs he will have an opportunity to set up a living legend in Rivera.
ON THE JETER TRAIL  . . .  It also appears that this blog’s prediction the Yankees would increase their initial three-year, $45 million offer to Derek Jeter has come true. Sources indicate the Yankees have increased their offer $2 million to $3 million per season. 
At the same time, Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, lowered his initial demand for a contract paying $23 million per season,
It appears the two sides are heading to the midpoint of about $19 million per season over three seasons or in that vicinity. Jeter made $18.9 million over the past 10 years under his old contract, so it appears he could accept what would be essentially an extension of that contract for three seasons. 
The Yankees can say they did not have to pay Jeter above what he was making and Close can claim his client did not take a pay cut. Both sides win and the Yankees will have their captain back in the fold.
Things are definitely looking up for Yankee fans in advance of baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL, on Monday.

You Can Bank On It: Jeter Will Stay With The Yankees

Well, I have finally figured it all out when it comes to the New York Yankees and Derek Jeter.
It took me a while but I now think I have it. Yankee fans, relax. Jeter is going to be in pinstripes.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is in Tampa, FL, at this time meeting with Jeter’s agent, Casey Close. 
Today we also learned that Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said “I am confident that Derek will remain with the Yankees, and my brother does, as well.”
I was a mystified why the Yankees initially offered Jeter a three-year contract worth $15 million a season. It seemed like a very cold and calculated attempt to trim payroll for a mega-dollar bidding war for Cliff Lee at Jeter’s expense.
They also seemed to be playing off the knowledge that age 36, Jeter likely would not receive another offer in that range given his off year in 2010. Teams also know Jeter would never envision himself in any other uniform.
So the agent Close and Jeter had to make a choice. Do they swallow pride and accept a lower offer or try to push the Yankees to the brink by entertaining an offer from the California Angels to up the ante?
Jeter reportedly was seeking a four- or five-year deal worth $23 million to $25 million. Jeter haters have come out in droves in pointing out he is not worth it. They point to his struggles in 2010 with his batting average and to hear them talk he has the range in the field of a Maytag range.
Funny, I did not hear all this hysteria when Cal Ripken hit .270 with 19 home runs and 84 RBIs in 1997 at age 37. Ripken would play four more seasons and he never hit more than 18 home runs and drove in more than 68 runs in any of them. I doubt seriously his range at third improved either.
But the Orioles paid him a decent wage because he was not only an icon in baseball. He meant everything to the city of Baltimore and the franchise. He was the face of it. Where have the Orioles gone since he retired after the 2001 season?
But the haters can rail all they want. Jeter, just like Ripken, is a shoo-in first-ballot Hall of Famer. All you have to know is that Jeter is still well ahead of Pete Rose’s pace of hits and Rose is the all-time leader in hits. That punches his ticket right there.
I think I have a clue to how the negotiations are going to wind up. It will involve a little math but indulge me.
Jeter wants $23 million, at the very least. The Yankees are offering $15. Jeter is coming off a 10-year deal that paid him $189 million. (I wonder of the Jeter haters really think he did NOT earn that. Oh well, who really cares?)
Now what is the midpoint between $23 million and $15 million? Hmmm, that would be $19 million. So look for the Yankees and Close to zero in on that number and the Yankees will accept it if Jeter agrees to sign for just three years.
So look for a three-year deal in the range of $19 million per season. The Yankees hold payroll because they are not paying Jeter any more. Close can argue that his client did not have to take a pay cut to stay home.
The three years also buys the Yankees some time to evaluate 22-year-old phenom Eduardo Nunez. There is a good chance that after Jorge Posada spends his last season in pinstripes as the Yankees’ primary DH to accommodate Jesus Montero, the Yankees might see 2012 as the chance to insert Nunez at shortstop and make Jeter the primary DH.
Should Jeter wish to remain with the Yankees to go after Rose’a all-time hit mark, there is good chance the DH spot will be his likely ticket. The outfield is a possibility, too. But it is not real likely with Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson around.
But, wherever Jeter plays in the field or hits in the batting order, the important thing is he will get the chance to finish his career where he belongs and where is he is worth the most. The 2011 season may be last for the vaunted “Core Four.”
I have a feeling with Jeter manning shortstop, Posada at DH, Andy Pettitte on the mound and Mariano Rivera in the bullpen, it will be a fitting conclusion if they add another World Series title to their collection.
Yankees fans would not want it any other way. You guys feeling any better?