Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jeter is hurt - who fills in at short?

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This isn't usually the type of topic that I blog about, I save that for Feinsand and the other beat bloggers out there. However, this article by John Harper in the NY Daily News today, really grinds my gears. Especially this part:
As protective as Jeter is of his status as the Yankee shortstop, you know that would change in a hurry if A-Rod were asked to move back to his old position. Truly it wouldn't make sense unless Jeter were out for the season, so Girardi should do both of them a favor today and make it clear it's not something the Yankees are talking about internally.
Nicely canned article, Mr. Harper. When did you write the bulk of this? 2004? Harper gave a bunch of reasons except for the REAL reason not to play A-Rod at short:

Because he hasn't played or practiced there in 4 years.

It has nothing to do with protecting Jeter's stature. If you want to protect your position, you get up and play every day, just like Jeter always has done. It is so lame and makes Jeter look so bad that the newspapers even suggest that is the reason the Yankees aren't going to play A-Rod at short. Plus, when has Derek Jeter ever openly been protective of his status as the Yankee shortstop? Where did Harper pull that from?

Harper goes on to say that Scranton Wilkes-Barre SS Alberto Gonzalez is the best option if Jeter is out for more than a couple of days.
If Jeter winds up needing a couple of weeks, they should just call up Gonzalez and let him play short. From the glimpses of seeing him in spring training, the kid looks like a wizard with the glove, and that's what the Yankees would need.
Yes, Mr Harper, I agree - if Jeter goes on the DL, Alberto Gonzalez ABSOLUTELY makes the most sense. The tough decision that Joe Girardi has to make is if Jeter is out for 7-10 days, but does not go on the DL. This leaves the Yankees with their current 25 man roster (minus Jeter for those 10 days), unless they send someone else to the minors or DFA someone else to make room for Gonzalez (unlikely).

Now here is why A-Rod SHOULD fill in at short if the scenario described above plays out:

- Of the guys on the roster, he is probably the most adept at playing short.
- As discussed above, the guy who would be the best choice is in the minors and a roster move would have to be made - If Jeter isn't going on the DL, what roster move would they make? They aren't going to send Betemit to the minors or DFA Ensberg.
- If they don't make a roster move and Jeter merely misses a few games, both Betemit and Ensberg (both third baseman until this year) can fill in for A-Rod while he is playing short.
- Shelley or Giambi (health permitting) can play 1B while Betemit/Ensberg are filling in at 3B

So, I have made my case for A-Rod at short, as long as Jeter does NOT go on the DL. Jeter to the DL means the obvious move of Alberto Gonzalez batting 9th and playing SS - you didn't really reinvent the wheel there, John Harper.

What do I believe will happen? I think Jeter won't be DL'ed, but the Yankees will play Betemit at short until he gets back. We have seen how LaTroy Hawkins is being treated for wearing #21. Imagine the fan reaction To A-Rod at short, especially if he makes an error? It won't be pretty. Fan reaction should NEVER be the reason for making a baseball decision, but NY is a whole different beast.

Talk about it in the NYYSI Forums!


Mike said...

Harper is an idiot. He's just trying to create a story or maybe a controversy.

He also said that "Alberto Gonzalez, a slick fielder who can't hit a lick."

If the Yanks can't get by with a no-hit SS for 2 weeks, they are not as good as we thought.

I would play Betemit as SS and leave everyone else alone.

No need to disrupt 3/4 of the infield and limit bench moves because 1 guy got hurt.

Plug the hole and play on.

kaybli said...

looks like they maybe calling up Alberto Gonzales since he was taken out of a game at Scranton

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