September 14, 2013

End of an Era in New York?

By - Jaquan Murphy

1995 marked the beginning of an era defined by championships and accolades in New York.

2013 could be the end of the era.

With a tweak of his surgically repaired ankle sidelining him for the rest of the season, the injury may mark the end of the road for Yankee shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter.

Photo from:
If this does spell the end, Jeter will hands down walk away as one of the best shortstops to ever play the game. In his 18 years in pinstripes, Jeter has accomplished just about everything a big leaguer can, including Rookie of the Year, thirteen All-Star appearances, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and a World Series MVP.

However, what defines Jeter as a player the most is his ability to show up in October. On a team where success is based solely on playoff appearances and championships, 'The Captain' has compiled a .308 batting average in the postseason and hit .321 in 38 World Series games.

Another thing that stands out about Jeter's career is his sparkling reputation. Ever since his big league debut, he has been the true definition of a professional. As captain of the most known franchise in all of sports, Jeter has been under the microscope for well over a decade now. Remarkably, he has never been caught up in any real negative publicity. He has managed to make it through one of the darkest times in Major League Baseball history (the steroid era), and a common trap for athletes with social media sites being all the rage (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) with his pristine image still fully intact.

Now, after spending virtually the entire season on the disabled list and Father Time staring him in the face, is it time for Derek Jeter to hang 'em up and call it a career?

Normally, I would say yes. However, Jeter is a different breed. He always seems to rise to the occasion and has always had a flair for the dramatic. I would expect nothing less during a final healthy season.

At 40 years of age and playing on a surgically repaired ankle, would Jeter be able to play shortstop for an entire 162-game season at the level we've come to expect? Probably not. But, he could still give a solid 120-130 games at the position and provide veteran leadership both on and off the field.

With a full offseason to rest and rehab, partnered with the opportunity to ease himself back into the grind of a season through a traditional spring training with the rest of the club, there's no reason to think Jeter can't play one more year.

The Captain has done a great job throughout his career keeping his body in shape, and this is where it can pay a hefty reward for him. With minimal injuries prior to this ankle setback, it is not like Jeter has other nagging impairments hampering his ability to perform.

Posting the second-highest hit total of his career in 2012 at the age of 38, it goes without saying that Jeter can still hit well. In that same season, his WAR was 4.2 games, so clearly the Bronx Bombers would have benefited substantially had Jeter's bat been in the lineup this year.

Chances are, they would benefit just as much next season.

At the very least, if Jeter can play 120-plus games at short, his leadership along with the intangibles that come with having him in the clubhouse for an entire season would be immeasurable. Every locker room would love to have a leader like Jeter, a guy who can do everything from mentoring young players on the roster to taking media attention away from problems on the team.

Players like that come few and far between.

Although Jeter may not necessarily be the type to want the attention of a "farewell tour" similar to teammate Mariano Rivera or former Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, he deserves a season where he can go out the right way and be appreciated by the fans one final time.

A last hurrah, if you will.

Jeter deserves one final game in every stadium. He deserves one last All-Star Game appearance. He deserves a final playoff run. No matter where you stand as far as the Yankees themselves go, we can probably all agree Mr. November deserves a better final season than this injury-plagued, ineffective 2013 campaign.

If any player is able to perform well at 40, Derek Jeter would be that guy. By shutting down early, that should help him get back to a normal offseason routine so he can come back strong next year.

They say every setback is a set up for a comeback. Hopefully so, because it would be sad if this is how his career came to a close.

Don't end this era in baseball just yet. One more year, Captain.


  1. See where his is in the spring. I say he can DH at the least for a couple more years.

  2. I think he will be great in the DH role and spot here and there. About the Yankees they have to make some moves if they're going to be elite again. They can't sit on their hands like they have the past few winters.

  3. as a Yankee fan i couldnt handle him AND Mo going out together. that would be too much for me. one more year for sure.

  4. Not a Yankee fan at all, but I love watching Jeter play. A true natural. But they're comes that time....