April 20, 2013

Setback Shelves Yankee Captain Even Longer

By - Jaquan Murphy

Perseverance. It's what Yankee management is hoping skipper Joe Girardi and his team has until multiple players return from the disabled list.

Earlier this week, the organization found out they will have to persevere even longer.

Further tests revealed that shortstop Derek Jeter has another fracture in his surgically repaired left ankle. Now the Bronx Bombers will have to wait until at least after the All-Star break before they see Jeter take the field.

Photo by: Ron Antonelli
The Yankee captain initially injured the ankle during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series last October. Jeter was expected to be ready to return for Opening Day, but his ankle seemed slow to respond to the more advanced levels of rehab and light game action in spring training. That prompted Jeter to visit his orthopedic doctor in Charlotte, where an MRI revealed the crack.

So what does this mean for the Yankees moving forward?

For now, Eduardo Nunez will be the everyday shortstop and will be backed up by Jayson Nix. And while Nunez has played well early on and Nix has proven to be a serviceable player, the question is, can the duo hold up until mid-July or longer?

Nunez has experience in the Bronx and has always been looked upon highly within the organization. Offensively, he is a .270 career hitter with respectable speed that fits nicely at the bottom of the order. The downside is that he's earned the reputation of being a liability on defense.

As for Nix, he's never been a starter for any real length of time during his 5-year career, and has been just a .212 hitter over that span. He hit .243 with 4 home runs and 18 RBI in 74 games last year with the club.

The bottom line is neither guy is a player of a Jeter's caliber, nor can be counted on as a long-term solution. And with no real answer ready in the farm system yet, New York could potentially have to look at guys on the trading block or potential free agents to fill the void left by Jeter's absence.

A player that may very likely surface on the trade market is Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. If Baltimore falls out of contention, they could easily ship Hardy out and move Manny Machado over to short, which is his natural position anyway. Hardy is an average hitter, but would certainly provide some pop in the Yankee lineup, belting 54 dingers since 2011. He's also won a Gold Glove, so he can be relied on defensively.

Another name that could be on New York's watch list is Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. After being slightly shopped this past winter, Cabrera should be a hot name later this summer if Cleveland is out of the playoff race. Only 27-years-old, he could not only fill in for Jeter now, but become the shortstop of the future for the Yankees. Plus, with multiple trips to the All-Star Game and a Silver Slugger Award already on his resume, Cabrera would be a fan favorite in no time.

Another outside possibility could be acquiring a second baseman, and moving Robinson Cano to shortstop.

Although no one can truly replace Jeter or his lasting legacy, New York can find someone who can be productive as well as liked in the Bronx. The hope is that this player will not try to be the next Derek Jeter, but instead will try to leave his own mark as the shortstop of the Yankees.


  1. Unless Jeter has another setback in rehab I don't see the Yankees making a move. Different story if it turns into him being out all season though.

  2. They need to make a move regardless. Jeter is old and they need to start grooming his replacement.