Last night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi started Jeter at DH while allowing Eduardo Nunez to start at short against the lefty and expect that to just keep happening more and more. This season the aging duo will share the DH position while Nunez and Eric Chavez get regular time in the field.
But how soon until it starts happening against righties? It can’t be that far away, especially because that’s where Jeter struggles the most. And imagine the temptation Girardi will feel if Nunez ever settles down in the field. After all, he is very athletic and the majority of his errors happen because he rushes too many plays.
He’s already got better range than Jeter, if he can just settle down in the field (much like Jeter himself did and Robinson Cano as well) than you might see Nunez getting regular playing time there.
The same goes for A-Rod. He’s got six more years on his contract. If the Yankees are working him into the DH position more this year, can it really be that long until they decide that the only way to keep him healthy over the remainder of his contract is to keep him off the field than this might be the start of him as a full-time DH.
The good news is that not everyone can DH at the same time. Raul Ibanez will get the bulk of the at bats against righties so Girardi is not likely going to increase Jeter and A-Rod’s at bats there right away. So how quickly this transition occurs could be determined by Ibanez.
Also, if Brett Gardner has a big season Girardi will likely want to see him in the lineup even against lefties. If that happens then we could see Andruw Jones starting more games as the DH than in the outfield taking away DH at bats from Jeter and A-Rod.
Eric Chavez will also have an effect on all of this. If he plays well and stays healthy than A-Rod will DH more. If Chavez is hurt or ineffective, the Yankees will have no choice but to leave A-Rod out there.
There are lots of scenarios that could play themselves out, but we’ve already seen the start of it. Jeter and A-Rod are being transitioned to the DH role.