Yankees want Didi Gregorius to play like himself–not like Derek Jeter


Since position players reported to camp on Wednesday, the focus had been on Alex Rodriguez. In fact, all of the attention had been on Rodriguez after he returned from a year long suspension for his involvement in a steroids scandal. But with games beginning on Tuesday, the attention will shift to Didi Gregorius, who will be the starting shortstop for the Yankees in 2015. For the first time in 19-seasons, the Yankees aren’t going to find Derek Jeter on the roster, or at camp or even in the Bronx. But just because there’s no Jeter in sight, it doesn’t mean the Yankees aren’t hoping for Didi Gregorius to play like Derek Jeter. They just want Didi Gregorius to be himself.

“I personally can’t worry about a shadow of Derek’s somehow affecting the next guy,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said to the New York Daily News yesterday afternoon. “All you can do is tell the next guy, ‘You’re not Derek, so don’t even waste your time trying to be. Just be the best you can be.’ It’s going to fall short of anything Derek did, because he’s one of the greatest players of all-time.”

Gregorius went under the radar over the last few days in camp, but there’s still been speculation about him. The Yankees are aware Gregorius can’t hit left handed hitting and Cashman had even toyed with the idea of having Gregorius platoon with Brendan Ryan (if Ryan is ready to begin the season or is on the roster after he strained his back doing bicep curls). But Joe Girardi told the media he knows a way for Gregorius to gain experience against southpaws.

“I’m just going to play him,” Girardi said. “You let him face lefties.”

Gregorius is replacing a Yankee legend, but other players have replaced Yankees legends over the course of Yankees history. Tino Martinez replaced Don Mattingly. David Robertson replaced Mariano Rivera. And now Didi Gregorius will replace Derek Jeter. Will Gregorius live up to what Martinez and Robertson did in the wake of Yankees legends riding off into the sunset? We don’t know, but what  we do know is while Derek Jeter’s leadership can’t be replaced, his spot in the lineup can be. And that’s where Didi Gregorius comes in.

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10 Responses to Yankees want Didi Gregorius to play like himself–not like Derek Jeter

  1. Balt Yank says:

    Didi should feel confident he will play like himself and he's not even close to compare to DJ. Memo to Didi: Try hitting 290 next year.

    • Fred Stanley says:

      I'd be happy if he hits .250…maybe 12 HRs and GG defense. We would all be happy with that.

  2. Terry says:

    I like Joe's philosophy,Let him face lefties.Can't wait to see this kid in the field.He's our shortstop of the future,let him play,let him learn

  3. Brooklyn joe says:

    You should not compare Didi to Robertson, Martinez,etc, those guys were established players when they replaced veterans. Didi is still a neophyte with very little positive history. I do feel he can be a very good player but I have my reservations,especially against lefthanders. I like the Drew signing now more than I initially did because he gives a viable backup at SS, and maybe that gives Pirela or Refsnynder a shot at second .

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      I didn't really compare Didi to Robertson, Martinez. I just said that Tino replaced Don Mattingly and D-Rob replaced Mo. Technically Didi is replacing Derek Jeter. Also we don't know if Didi will live up to filling the shoes of Jeter like Tino and D-Rob did.

  4. mick says:

    I'd be happy with a Didi who could hit .250-.260 and field the position. The kid's 22 years old, already played at the MLB level, and should improve the more he plays. He's really only played parts of two seasons, with his most AB's coming in at 357. Were it my call, he'd break camp knowing that the position was his, he'd play every day, no matter if he was facing a lefty or a right hander. I see no need to put any undue pressure on him. I hope that's the tack the Yanks take.

    • mick says:

      apologies…….I mistakenly stated Didi is 22 years old. He's actually 24. He came up as a twenty two year old.

  5. Balt Yank says:

    Didi is not "replacing" Derek Jeter. He is being given a one year shot. (In fact, even less now Drew is on the roster). If Didi hits above 250, he'll have the lead to repeat next year, that's about it.

    • This is much more than a one-year shot. Didi is under contract for 5 years. Drew is on a one-year deal and if he plays better than Didi, you'd better believe he's leaving to look for a multi-year deal that he's been looking for for years and won't be getting from the Yankees. I'm not saying that Didi is absolutely the long-term solution at short, but he's much more than a one-year stopgap.

      • mick says:

        Rob…….I agree 100%. Didi IS replacing the great Derek Jeter. He will be the Yankee starting shortstop, barring injury.

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