Cashman Thinks Jeter Will End Up in Yankees Outfield

At this mornings WFAN event, Breakfast with a Champion, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman let it slip that he thinks that Derek Jeter won’t be able to finish his contract as a shortstop. Instead he sees the Yankees captain finishing out his deal in the outfield.

Via Amanda Rykoff of espnW:

Fan: what happens with Jeter? Cashman: I’d be surprised if he plays SS for all 4 years. I see him moving to OF.

A statement like that generally gets lots of attention so Cashman responded to it later in the day to some Yankees beat reporters. Here is what he said to NY Daily News reporter Peter Botte:

“This is not an issue and not something we’re considering. It’s certainly not something that should be blown-up viral discussion. Responding to speculation about him moving to 3B and Alex going to DH, in my mind his athletic abilities translate better to OF.

“But that’s not something we’re considering and not something we have talked to Derek about. He’s our shortstop, end of story.”

He elaborated when talking to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

Cashman says his opinion is that Jeter could transition better to OF than 3B, but “that’s not an issue we have to deal with right now.”

So here is the deal, Cashman is making a lot of assumptions here. The first is that he’s assuming that Jeter is going to decline defensively to the point where the Yankees have to move him away from shortstop. Considering Jeter’s age this is a fair assumption.

The next is that Cashman is assuming that the Yankees will have a replacement for Jeter. Who could replace him? Eduardo Nunez? Maybe, but as of right now that seems like a longshot. The Yankees have other prospects in their system, but all of the best ones seem like they are at least four years away. This seems like a big assumption on Cashman’s part.

Finally, Cashman is assuming that a guy who will be 37-years-old this season and has never played an inning in the outfield, not in high school, not in the minors, and not in the majors, can successfully transition there. This may be the biggest jump. If we are talking the fourth year of Jeter’s contract, he’ll be 40 and if he’s moving away from short it is probably due to limited range. So are we really to believe that a 40-year-old with no outfield experience and limited range is going to be able to successfully transition there? That is Cashman’s biggest assumption of all.

Realistically it seems possible that Jeter could move off of shortstop during his contract, but it seems more likely that he would move to DH than anywhere else. This is why the Yankees tried to take a hard line with him in negotiations. He doesn’t have a lot of options defensively outside of shortstop and he doesn’t hit enough to be a DH.

If the Yankees have to move Jeter they might be screwed. Cashman should be praying that his Captain works hard enough to stick at shortstop over the life of his contract because other scenarios are unattractive at best.

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21 Responses to Cashman Thinks Jeter Will End Up in Yankees Outfield

  1. The Captain says:

    Jeter to the OF would be risky for all the reasons mentioned. And when is he going to have time to learn how to play the OF?

    Figure you get 2 more years out of him at SS, then Jeter goes to 3rd and A-Rod becomes the DH. That scenario makes the most sense because Jorge will be gone by then, Jesus will be either firmly entrenched as the everyday catcher or gone in a trade, and it fits the skills that Jeter already has.

    And if none of the prospects now are ready in 2 years, there is always the FA and trade markets. It's not like the Yankees are afraid to use those.

    • Mike S. says:

      If Jeter has trouble going to his left (a frequent criticism) and no quick first step, how is he going to play 3B?

      • The Captain says:

        I never said he wouldn't have trouble at 3B, but there's less ground to cover there. I don't think Jeter's problems at short are based in his reaction time, but rather his lateral movement, which would be minimized somewhat at third. If he's got decent reaction time, the lateral movement issue is reduced by playing 3B.

        Admittedly, I have no statistical support for this argument. But it does seem to make more sense to me to transition him to another infield position than try to make an outfielder out of him.

  2. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    I've often thought that OF was Jeter's final destination. I think the move makes sense considering how crowded the DH position may become. ARod is going to need a lot of time there as well.

    As for the OF, they have contracts expiring in the next couple of years and it may make sense to stick Jeter out there. As for his range, I think he is ideally suited for the outfield. He has limited range at SS because he doesn't have a quick first step, never has. But that is of lesser importance in the OF where speed comes more into play, which Jeter does have. However, who know how well that will hold up when he is 39-40.

    Bottom line is, unless you stick him at DH (which Arod may need) or OF, it would have to be the bench.

  3. Bronx Knight says:

    Wow, Cashman really does have a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease this week.

    I always thought they should have moved Jeet to 3B when A-Rod joined the team; Jeet's ego notwithstanding, A-Rod was clearly the better defensive shortstop.

    I guess Jeet to 3B and A-Rod to DH is a little bit more intuitive than Jeet to outfield.

    Of course, 2B to outfield worked for Chuck Knoblauch ;-)

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      I like the idea of letting it be known now. That way, he will have cleared the path for it down the road. Jeter at SS after this year and possibly next, is not a good thing for New York IMO.

  4. It's a good thing that they didn't move Jeter to 3rd when they got A-Rod. After his hip surgery he wouldn't have nearly the ability to play short anymore and you would just have had to switch them back anyway. That would have been a mess. Things worked out fine how they've played out.

  5. Susan says:

    Until the completely ridiculous 4 year contract is up, it's going to be a huge problem no matter where you play him. I think he'd be a circus in the outfield and like Rob said he doesn't put up the offensive numbers to be a DH. I wish the Yankees would use their heads a little more when it's time to resign aging declining players and stop this eternal loyalty nonsense. This one is going to come back to bite us big time.

    • Bronx Knight says:

      Susan, in fairness to the Yanks, I think there is only a small subset of players to whom they have extended "eternal loyalty" contracts: Jeter certainly, and maybe Posada and Mariano.

      But where was the eternal loyalty renewal for Bernie Williams in 2006? How about Pettite in 2004? How about Matsui more recently?

      Having said all that, I would agree that the Yankees went much farther than they needed to in resigning Jeet for five years …

      • The Captain says:

        Matsui didn't have the pedigree to deserve a loyalty offer, even after the '09 WS; Bernie had completely fallen off by the time '06 was over, whereas Jeter was still producing above-average until this past season; I could see Andy deserving one after '04 with his track record and rings, though. That's a fair point.

        I am terrified that they give Jorge another 2-year offer to DH after this season if he decides he wants to keep playing. As long as he's been around, they won't let him leave and retire with another team, but they need to make room at DH for A-Rod.

        • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

          I would be shocked if Jorge gets any offer from the Yanks to play beyond this season unless he tears it up at the plate.

          • The Captain says:

            As would I. But that doesn't mean I can't have nightmares about it.

            Jorge seems like the type that would realize his time has come and retire with some dignity, but you never know. Money talks.

        • Bronx Knight says:

          OK, I'm going to have to go to bat for Bernie here, who was my all-time favorite Yankee. First, Bernie was a consummate Yankee. The Yankees were his only major league team, he had been with them for *16* years, and he contributed more than any single other player in helping them win four WS titles. By those standards, he deserved real "loyalty" consideration in the contract process. Second, Bernie was not "totally shot" after 2006. He hit .281 in 2006 over 130 games, but as I recall he hit around .330 that year batting as a righty. (His bat speed was down and it killed him as a lefty but he was still very effective as a righty.) In fact, it was reported that the Phillies offered Bernie $6M for a one-year corner outfield deal, but Bernie turned it down, because he only wanted to play for the Yankees. Bernie would still have been very effective as a 4th or 5th outfielder, starting against lefties, otherwise a veteran bat off the bench.

          So I'm still mad at the Yanks four years later.

          OK, got that off my chest, I'm done.

  6. af says:

    Cash's comment about preferring power for the corner outfield slots suggests an interest in trading GGBG

  7. Susan says:

    OMG, if they resign Jorge again after this season I'll die! I didn't even want to resign him after his last contract was up. As for Bernie, I loved him to death and thought he never got enough credit for being the real best player on all those championship teams. However, I agree that he was completely shot after 06 and maybe even sooner. I fully supported not giving him another contract. As for Pettitte, I don't think it was the Yankees that didn't offer him a contract after 2003, I think they were concentrating on other needs and Andy felt like they weren't kissing up to him enough and took off for Houston. As I remember the Yankees final offer to him was more than Houston actually signed him for but he wanted to prove his point and left anyway.

    It's for that reason I don't like hearing his name as part of the "Core Four". He left and pretty much crippled us in the starting pitching department for a few years due to his overly sensitive feelings. Since his return I admit he's been very good but I have never been a huge fan of his like I was before he bolted.

    I also didn't care that Matsui wasn't offered a contract even after the World Series heroics. He was already old and way too one dimensional and slow beyond words. I probably would've resigned Damon to a two year deal mainly because I thought he was such a great club house guy and was still pretty fast on the bases.

    Normally though I'm never in favor of resigning guys over 35 with the exception of Rivera who is truly an icon and irreplaceable. I knew and told everyone I knew for years that resigning Jeter to any more than one or two years after this past contract was going to create huge problems eventually. I too, want a corner outfielder to have some power and especially a DH. I was very discouraged by even resigning him at all and to a four year contract was absurd in my opinion. In a couple years it'll be a waste of a roster spot.

    I do think it's fair however to point out that despite being a rabid Yankees fan, I have at no point been a big Derek Jeter lover so I could be looking at this from a tainted point of view but I stand by it.

  8. Cashman’s been talking way too much lately. like Hank. it’s alittle strange. like the pressure is getting to him.

  9. highlander64 says:

    the whole thing was blown out of proportion…it made the headlines and that's the agenda of the reporters…Cashman talked too much about the process during contract negotiations with Jeter but this was a non-story imo…

  10. The idea that the Yankees are already thinking of moving Jeter from shortstop in the first year of a five year contract is a non-story to you? I would say it's a pretty big deal.

    • highlander64 says:

      Rob, don't buy into the propaganda…it's a non-story because of the context in which it was presented…but you are right about the Yankees thinking, it's never too early to consider Jeter's move from ss…enjoy the snow man…

  11. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    Why do people keep referring to Jeter's contract as "five" years? It's four at the most.