If [Derek Jeter] is re-signed, the team has no plans to move him off shortstop next season. There is also no known plan for a position switch anytime soon. However, the Yankees want to decrease the number of games that Jeter plays during the regular season. In his postseason exit news conference, manager Joe Girardi said that he would like to play Jeter fewer than the 157 games the captain appeared in during 2010.
Officials with knowledge of the team’s plans have said the reason that top shortstop prospect Eduardo Nunez started to learn third base and the outfield last year is because the Yankees envision him as a super utility player who can spell Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Jeter will turn 37 next season, while A-Rod will turn 36.
With the Yankees and Jeter currently in contract negotiations, the team could inform Jeter during his talks that they may lessen his time at short and possibly move him down in the lineup from his customary leadoff spot. At the end of the season, Girardi would not rule out Jeter batting lower in the order.
Many baseball officials say that the appropriate time to have the conversation about the possibility of less playing time, switching positions and a batting order demotion is when you are negotiating a new contract.
Everybody’s time has to come and it will eventually for Jeter. They aren’t necessarily talking about this right now, but if they don’t this year they probably will have to next year.
A lot of this will have to do with Nunez. The Yankees told Posada that he’s going to be the DH in 2011 because they have a clear successor in Jesus Montero and even if he fails, they have two other possibilities in Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine.
Outside of Nunez the Yankees don’t have any other possible replacements close to the majors. So if he falters the Yankees have no where else to return and Jeter will be forced to play as much as ever. That’s why the Yankees don’t have to have this conversation with him right now. They’ll do it slowly and maybe this time next year I’ll be writing the same stories about Jeter that I am writing about Posada now.