What To Do With El Capitan?

September 11, 2010 – 11:12 am

With the post-season nearing and the Yankees pretty much a sure bet to make the playoffs, it’s time to stop ignoring the 800 lb. gorilla in the room — Derek Jeter’s total lack of offense. It’s not like he’s going through a slump that he could emerge from at any point — he’s been in a steady decline all year. Here are the numbers that don’t lie:

BA OBP SLG OPS
April 0.330 0.354 0.521 0.875
May 0.281 0.343 0.359 0.702
June 0.243 0.339 0.379 0.718
July 0.245 0.310 0.311 0.622
Aug 0.239 0.318 0.333 0.652
Sept 0.167 0.231 0.222 0.453

Last night was brutal — Jeter went 1-for-7, and that lone hit was an infield single. He only got the ball out of the infield once. Particularly painful was the 12th inning when Chad Moeller led off with a double. The obvious strategy is to have Brett Gardner sacrifice bunt Moeller to third so that a fly ball scores him with the potential winning run. But you’ve got Jeter up next, and the chances of him actually getting the fall far enough to the outfield for Moeller to score are slim to none, and Slim just left town. And sure enough, that’s what happened — with the winning run on third, Derek meekly grounded out to first.

Something has to be done to end this misery. Of course, benching Jeter is out of the question — he is The Captain, and is without a doubt the heart and soul of the team. But certainly you can move him down in the order, can’t you? Heck, with Jeter’s reputation of being a team player, I’m amazed he hasn’t taken the idea to Girardi himself. And it’s not like they don’t have an incredibly good alternative there in Brett Gardner. In fact, Gardner thrives in the leadoff spot — he’s hit first in 20 games this season, and he’s batting .340 with an incredible .440 OBP. Plus he’s stolen 9 bases in those games. It would seem this is a no-brainer — Gardner’s OBP in the leadoff position is over 100 points higher than Jeter’s. And then there’s all the stats you keep hearing about the number of pitches Gardner sees, and how good he is at working the count — exactly what you want in a leadoff hitter.

This change just has to happen, and happen soon.

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