March 31, 2003

It's not as big a story as Iraq, but Derek Jeter suffers a shoulder injury crashing into Catcher Ken Huckaby of the Toronto Blue Jays. Early reports indicate it could be season-ending. I thought you could do worse than dislocate a shoulder? Any Orthopedic Surgeons here? This is the N.Y. Times Link in case the first one dies.

posted by vito90 to baseball at 09:58 PM - 49 comments

Well if he is out for the season I'll be very surprised. Hopefully it'll be short. But either way, I'm thinking the Ewing Theory is in full effect here. Lost in the mix is that he took third from first on a groundout, and beat the throw, which was awesome. As I expected, the pen blew the shutout and that's going to be a big question mark for the Yankees. Some fun and interesting things happened today. I love opening day.

posted by Bernreuther at 10:18 PM on March 31, 2003

That sound you here is eight million Red Sox fans humming gently while smiling discretely.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:23 PM on March 31, 2003

the pen blew the shutout and that's going to be a big question mark for the Yankees. And for the Sox as well, it seems. :( God, I was sickened watching a repeat of the last couple of year's of the Sox... Pedro pitches brilliantly, lousy bullpen comes in and kills his win. *sigh* Well, there's always next year... Jeter being injured could be a blessing in disguise, as now prospects and other players are given a chance to show their stuff. Jeter has been degrading, very very quickly, over the past few years. His glove is simply atrocious, and has been for a long time, and while he's still a net positive on the whole, his bat is getting closer and closer to just "eh" quality. The Yankees might not want to admit it, but for the last couple of years they've been dodging the inevitable "rebuilding" question. At some point, the players that got them those rings- especially Jeter, but also guys like Williams et al, and that ancient pitching staff- are going to have to be moved out of the way and let the new kids take over. There will be another period of the Yankees not being dominant, and the sooner they get out of the "Jeter is the franchise" mentality, the better (for them, at least).

posted by hincandenza at 10:47 PM on March 31, 2003

It was a nasty collision. When you watched it at full speed, you expected that Jeter would either have a separated shoulder, a dislocated shoulder, a broken collarbone, torn ligaments or a broken upper arm. That said, Huckaby did absolutely nothing wrong. He went down to block the bag at third (there was a Giambi shift in action as Jeter ran from 1st to 3rd). He was coming in at full steam and Jeter was coming the other direction head first (hey kids, here is why you don't slide like that!). Only a die-hard Yankee fan would say that Huckaby was in the wrong. Clemens faced Huckaby later and if he felt there was anything wrong, he'd have buzzed on at his chin. Roger did nothing. And he was called out not because Huckaby pushed him off the bag on the collision (his hand was on the bag after the collision) but because he removed it on his own while writhing in pain with Huckaby lying on top of him. Huckaby noticed the change in positioning and quickly applied the tag. He did not notice he was injured until after he started to walk away. He was noticeably distraught sitting in the dugout watching them tend to Jeter. (btw: if you want to post a link to the NY Times, use "archives" instead of "www" in the link...it provides a non-password-using page instead of having to register)

posted by grum@work at 10:50 PM on March 31, 2003

Calling Miguel Tejada to NY...

posted by therev at 10:59 PM on March 31, 2003

Hal, Jeter's glove has always been overrated but I don't think I'd call it atrocious. And actually aside from a few bad plays in the ALDS, last year was better than the previous two. I think you're overestimating a Yankee demise as well, especially with the way George spends, but truth be told, I'm not really shedding any tears over Jeter's loss. I will, however, shed many if Enrique Wilson hits .190 in his absence. At first when it happened, full speed, I thought that it was crazy and that Jeter got tackled and forced off the bag, etc, but the replays showed it was clean. His own damn fault for going in headfirst.

posted by Bernreuther at 11:21 PM on March 31, 2003

I do think Jeter's defense really is atrocious- he's quite possibly the worst defensive shortstop in the AL, if not the whole league- he gives away runs with that glove of his. He more than makes up for it with his bat- but that can't last forever, and the Yankees- as therev suggested- would do well to consider a bigtime trade of Jeter for another shortstop, or go shopping... This much is true- if even one manager DOESN'T have every player on his team doing sliding drills the rest of the season, they're a damned fool. I recall last year, watching a buffalo-like Manny Ramirez slide headfirst into Seattle catcher Dan Wilson at homeplate in an April game, sidelining himself for several weeks- critical weeks, as it turned out, especially considering how he'd been hitting up to that point, and how much a few extra wins would have meant for the Sox. How many high-profile cases will it take to make players and teams realize the value of a proper slide?!? Unlike publicized cases of steroid or muscle-enhancing drugs gone awry (where at least there is a quantifiable upside), sliding headfirst is a clear case of a major risk of injury with absolutely no upside. Sliding is an important part of the game, and a high risk play when it comes to injuries, yet I suspect most players don't bother to ever really work on this part of their game- not when the homeruns pay the bills. But any student of the game knows perfectly well that there is a) never a reason to slide into first base, and b) never, ever a reason to slide head first into any base.

posted by hincandenza at 02:03 AM on April 01, 2003

Wondering if Juan Rivera or Nick Johnson will find themselves in Montreal any time soon...?

posted by herc at 02:05 AM on April 01, 2003

That sound you here is eight million Red Sox fans humming gently while smiling discretely. Who me??!

posted by jerseygirl at 08:57 AM on April 01, 2003

Calling Miguel Tejada to NY... Not this early in the season. I think the more likely scenerio, at least in the short term, is someone from triple-a Columbus coming up.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:08 AM on April 01, 2003

I gotta back up Hal here: Jeter is the worst shortstop manning the position in the AL (probably the NL too). The "glove" thing might have thrown you off-- he has decent hands. His defense is bad because he has 0 range. Nothing. Nada. Not to his right, not to his left. Yes I'm a Sox fan and yes I get annoyed when he's mentioned in the same breath as A-Rod, Nomar and Tejada, but it's not a question of bias. I think Baseball Prospectus covered the same ground last year and you can check the (insert statement about reliability of defensive stats) numbers: he's at the bottom of the range factor stats every year.

posted by yerfatma at 10:02 AM on April 01, 2003

Jeter can field his position-- but what makes him valuable is his bat. When you can get that kind of production out of your shortstop, you have lineup depth that is hard to beat. The interesting thing about Jeter is that there really isn't anyplace else to put him other than shortstop. Particularly now, with a damaged arm, I wouldn't look to see him playing third, or in the outfield. I hope he is able to make a good recovery, but you have to wonder about how this will impact on his longevity. I wouldn't say that this makes the season the BoSox's to lose, but it certainly changes things.

posted by outside counsel at 10:22 AM on April 01, 2003

When you can get that kind of production out of your shortstop, you have lineup depth that is hard to beat. See, I think that's the wrong way to look at it. That mindset is why Jeter gets so much ink. If you move him to a position he can actually field, his stats aren't impressive anymore.

posted by yerfatma at 11:29 AM on April 01, 2003

Eric Almonte had a good spring, and will get the call up. It looks like Jeter might be out a month. As for Jeter's glove, it's not bad, and other then Tejeda, Nomar, or A-Rod who else would you want at shortstop on your team? All you Yankee haters can fade away, oh, nice bullpen the Red Sox put together, ha ha .

posted by jbou at 12:34 PM on April 01, 2003

. . . who else would you want at shortstop on your team? Well, let's see: Jose Hernandez, Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein . . . plenty of people. Don't get me wrong: I think Jeter's a terrific player (he understands the game as well as anyone I've seen play and he's a terrific clutch hitter if such a beast exists). He's just not a good all-around shortstop. Not sure where the Sox bullpen comment figures in. One game does not a season make. Shoulda stuck with Mendoza anyway.

posted by yerfatma at 01:03 PM on April 01, 2003

Yerfatma: you'd rather have Jose Hernandez or Edgar Renteria than Derek Jeter? I mean, I hate the Yankees, but c'mon! Yes, his defense is substandard because of range issues, but he doesn't play short SO badly that a couple of dorky noodlebats (and I mean in overall production they have a little pop, but not much else else) rank ahead of him? And as for the intangibles, Jeter means more to the Yankees than any other shortstop in the game. Period. Say what you want about range, but aside from the big three (ARod, Nomar and Miguel), playing someone other than Jeter as your SS would get you a fast ride out of any GM's chair.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:23 PM on April 01, 2003

Now, having said that and THEN having gone to look at the link Yerfatma threw up ... I maybe see his point. Is this a case of plug in David Eckstein and he suddenly becomes Derek Jeter because of where he is? Eckstein's totals nearly match Derek's, and Eckstein is a better fielder. I'd still have a hard time ditching Derek ... but this really opened my eyes. Thanks, yerfatma.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:25 PM on April 01, 2003

keep looking at the stats, and fail to see that none of the shortstops you mentioned would have made the play Jeter did to nail Giambi at the plate. I guess the Yankee hate runs deep. Plus Eckstein would never have nailed Ms. Universe, and Ms. Carey in the same month.

posted by jbou at 01:51 PM on April 01, 2003

Let the Yankee hate thing go. If you want to play it that way, the other shortstops mentioned might have produced a couple more runs in that series making the play moot. They might have stopped a couple extra shots through the hole too. Who needs stats when we've got logical fallacies?

posted by yerfatma at 01:58 PM on April 01, 2003

none of the shortstops you mentioned would have made the play Jeter did to nail Giambi at the plate I don't think one memorable play defines ability. I watch Baseball Tonight daily and they have an interesting segment called "Web Gems". Plays like Jeter's in the ALCS are made nightly, we just don't remember them because they aren't in the playoffs. You also can't judge someone based on their best (and worst) moments.

posted by YukonGold at 02:16 PM on April 01, 2003

It's worth noting, since somebody took a cheap shot at the closer by committee concept my beloved BoSox are sporting, that yesterday's events don't prove much. Note 1: Urbina blew the save last year's Opening Day. Note 2: Little used his relievers exactly as you'd expect to see 'em used with a more standard approach -- Embree is the guy most likely to be considered a ninth inning closer. When he blows up, you sub somebody else in. I think the concept actually would have called for Little to leave Mendoza in, since he was pitching well. Now I will go back to eating my own liver with worry.

posted by Bryant at 02:26 PM on April 01, 2003

Bryant, I like the 5 points listed here (which come pretty close to echoing your thoughts). Made me feel a little better.

posted by yerfatma at 02:42 PM on April 01, 2003

All you Yankee haters can fade away, oh, nice bullpen the Red Sox put together, ha ha . ooh... we got the cold shoulder from a Yankee fan! :)

posted by jerseygirl at 03:13 PM on April 01, 2003

keep looking at the stats, and fail to see that none of the shortstops you mentioned would have made the play Jeter did to nail Giambi at the plate. I guess the Yankee hate runs deep. Plus Eckstein would never have nailed Ms. Universe, and Ms. Carey in the same month. Actually, how do you know that they wouldn't have made that play? It was one of those completely out of the blue moments (the outfielder overthrows BOTH cut-off men, but can't reach home? the shortstop is way out of position? the runner doesn't slide?) that it's hard to say that only HE could make it. I once made a full-out, running towards the outfield wall, diving, parallel to the ground, over the shoulder, snow cone catch when I played centrefield last year for my softball team. That doesn't mean I'm going to be replacing Bernie Williams in the outfield any time soon. That said, I'd play Jeter at shortstop until the point arrives that negative effects of his defence compared to the league average at his position is GREATER than the positive effects of his offence compared to the league average at his position. At that point, he becomes a liability to his team. Derek Jeter is nowhere near that position right now. However, his offensive stats have been consistantly declining for the past 3 years: 1999 OPS : .989 2000 OPS : .896 2001 OPS : .858 2002 OPS : .794 As for nailing Ms Universe and Ms Carrey in the same month: I'm supposed to be impressed by a guy who can't maintain a steady relationship with a woman? :)

posted by grum@work at 03:19 PM on April 01, 2003

keep looking at the stats, and fail to see that none of the shortstops you mentioned would have made the play Jeter did to nail Giambi at the plate. Maybe because he wasn't really supposed to be in position to make that play. Normally, a shortstop would be farther out in a cut off position. Not taking anything away from him on that play, you gotta love his intuition and reaction, but we can't fault other shortstops for not being psychic. On preview... sort of what grum said.

posted by trox at 03:58 PM on April 01, 2003

Whatever. I'll take Jeter and his five gaudy rings over A-Rod, Nomar, any of them. Over Cal at his peak. Over Eckstein. Over Robin Yount and Alan Trammell. Over Omar Vizquel 7 days a week and twice on doubleheader days. The boy's a winner.

posted by vito90 at 04:15 PM on April 01, 2003

That's cool vito. Now if we can just get you the GM position, things would be crackin'.

posted by yerfatma at 04:44 PM on April 01, 2003

Intangibles are a big part of the game ... and Jeter's the king of that. I wouldn't take him over Yount or Trammel, though ... put them in the middle of this line-up and they'd make Derek look anemic. As for Ms. Universe and Ms. Carey, big deal. As George Carlin says, "I've never been with a 10 ... but I have been with five 2's!"

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:41 PM on April 01, 2003

Whatever. I'll take Jeter and his five gaudy rings over A-Rod It's not even close. A-Rod has been better than Jeter every single season that they've played. That's just the fan-boy in you talking. Put A-Rod with the Yankees instead of the Mariners/Rangers, and you'd be having his children instead of Jeter's. Nomar That's a bit closer comparision, but Garciaparra has been better every year that he's been healthy. Of course, health counts when comparing players and Jeter has been very healthy throughout his career...until now. Over Cal at his peak Uh, no. Cal's peak was 1982-1985, plus 1991. Better than Jeter in every way. Over Eckstein I'd take Jeter in a heartbeat over Eckstein. Over Robin Yount That's tough to decide since Yount switched over to OF in his later years. But just a quick glance at the stats and I'll concede that point. and Alan Trammell Trammell's 1987 season is better than anything that Jeter has put up in his life. He's also had some other seasons that would be equal/better than Jeter's. I think that this comparison is the toughest one. If Jeter can reverse his statistical slide in 2004 (assuming 2003 is a washout), then I'd say that they are even. If he keeps getting worse and worse every year, then Trammell wins out. But Jeter gets in the Hall of Fame and Trammell doesn't because of the New York media and the teammates he played with (and it's 4 WS rings, not 5...1996, 1998, 1999, 2000...they lost in 2001 and got knocked out of the playoffs in 1997) Over Omar Vizquel 7 days a week and twice on doubleheader days. No problem with that comparison. Vizquel is a brutal hitter. However, if I have to choose between the two for a 9th inning defensive replacement, I go with Vizquel in his prime over Jeter in his prime. The boy's a winner. So is Luis Sojo. I'm not saying Jeter isn't one of the best players in the game. He is, and there is no doubting it. However, it doesn't mean we need to put blinders on and not acknowledge that: 1) He is not a good fielder at SS, compared to the rest of the league 2) His batting numbers are getting worse 3) He didn't win the World Series by himself, and it is quite possible (and logical) to assume that a better (or even worse) player might have won those rings as well. 4) That he's not the best shortstop in baseball right now, and he's definitely not the greatest of all time. It's good to be a fan. Just don't be a fanatic.

posted by grum@work at 05:43 PM on April 01, 2003

Oh, I just love you all for even mentioning Robin Yount in the same breath. Perish the thought of Jose Hernandez, though... as good as he was at shortstop for Milwaukee, he was also the same one that benched himself for the last stretch of the season because he was afraid of getting the major league strikeout record. Moron! Get your ass up and play! Talk about a bad attitude with regards to the game.

posted by evixir at 05:57 PM on April 01, 2003

Actually, Jose Hernandez was benched by the manager.

posted by grum@work at 06:03 PM on April 01, 2003

Technically, yes, but I don't remember any media reports that he was mad about the situation and wanted to get out on the field or try to get a hit. He acquiesced and didn't put up much of a fight as far as Milwaukee folks were aware...

posted by evixir at 11:11 PM on April 01, 2003

In their defense, the Sox pen just put up 8 scoreless innings (even if they gave up a run or two to get the team to 16 innings) to get a win. Should we judge them on that?

posted by yerfatma at 11:35 PM on April 01, 2003

We should say they're the Red Sox, and know that the pen will hold up until it's really needed, then fold faster than Bill Buckner in high heels. That's all that matters.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:38 AM on April 02, 2003

Superman on laundryday works better as a metaphor for me.

posted by yerfatma at 05:08 AM on April 02, 2003

Grum I understand where you are coming from, but baseball is so much more than just numbers. A-Rod on the Yankees does not guarantee them anything. The only thing that is guaranteed in baseball is historical fact, and that is the Yankees have won with Jeter. Yes, Shortstops are supposed to be in position to relay that overthrow...maybe A-Rod would have been there but the fact was that Jeter was there. Jeter has gotten clutch hits in crucial moments. Maybe A-Rod would also, but Jeter did. Here's another historical fact. A-Rod leaves the Mariners, Mariners win 116 games with Carlos Guillen. They were better without A-Rod. Why? More money to spend on pitchers? Better chemistry in the clubhouse? More guys stepping up to make up for the loss of offense? Who knows what the reason is, but the M's clearly succeded without that phenomenal bat at SS. No matter who the player is, with the exception of Bonds, A-Rod, Willie Mays, Pete Rose, you can always find a guy at the same position with better numbers. In October that matters not. I'll take the winner, even if he's only a good luck charm (like Don Baylor in the 80's playing in three straight World Series for three different teams).

posted by vito90 at 09:42 AM on April 02, 2003

I'll take the winner, even if he's only a good luck charm The problem is there's no way to know if someone's "a winner" until the game is over.

posted by yerfatma at 11:01 AM on April 02, 2003

After somebody has four world series rings could you conclude he just might be a winner?

posted by vito90 at 11:10 AM on April 02, 2003

Nope, 'cause it's no guarantee of a 5th. Unless you're suggesting simply having Jeter on the roster makes the team better. What happens when he has 20 rings and he's 50? Do you keep him on still because he's "a winner"?

posted by yerfatma at 11:41 AM on April 02, 2003

RE: 20 at 50, YES! If my team wins 16 rings in the next 30 years then I sure as hell keep him in the organization, as a batting coach, manager, GM, or whatever. Right, past performance is never a predictor of future benefit. But just like A-Rod's consistently gaudy numbers tell you with some degree of predictability how he will hit in the future, Jeter's past contribution to his team's success also tell you to expect him to continue to be an integral part of that.

posted by vito90 at 12:25 PM on April 02, 2003

Apples to Oranges. ARod's individual results tell you with some degree of predictability how he will hit in the future. Jeter's World Series rings, which are indicators of team results do not tell you how to expect him to contribute in the future. I'd say there is a much bigger chance of Jeter's future team results (championships) being less than before (due to his team aging around him, change in management, other teams improving, him being traded), than there is a chance that ARod's future individual results (batting and fielding statistics) will be less than before. For example: Luis Sojo and Clay Bellinger both have multiple World Series rings with the New York Yankees. However, it would be folly to suggest that they are better players than those in the league with better statistics just because they have those rings. Same as no one in their right mind is going to suggest that David Justice (with good stats, 10 playoff and 6 World Series appearances and 2 rings) is a better player than Barry Bonds (with inhuman stats, 6 playoff appearances and 1 World Series appearance and zero rings), just because of those team results.

posted by grum@work at 01:21 PM on April 02, 2003

Put another way: you're about to start a team and I can guarantee you one of two players, injury-free for ten years in the prime of their career. Do you take Pedro Martinez (0 rings) or Derek Jeter (5 rings) and why?

posted by yerfatma at 02:18 PM on April 02, 2003

I take Pedro, a virutally unhittable pitcher that will give you a chance to win every single game he pitches.

posted by corpse at 02:29 PM on April 02, 2003

10 years, guaranteed injury-free? For a pitcher? What colour is the sky in your world? :) If it was a realistic question (dropping the injury-free clause), I'd take a middle-infielder over a pitcher any day. A starting pitcher can help you once every 5 days for half the game. A fielder (and batter) can help you all 5 days for the entire game. But really it comes down to potential for injury. A pitcher is more likely to be injured (and for a longer period of time) and suffer a decrease in production than a batter/fielder.

posted by grum@work at 02:43 PM on April 02, 2003

I'd take the pitcher. While Pedro is only playing once out of every five games, his impact on those games is an order of magnitude greater than the impact anyone short of Barry Bonds has as a position player.

posted by Bryant at 08:49 PM on April 02, 2003

I'd take Pedro also (using yerfatma's promises), but I wouldn't take him over ARod or Barry. I also didn't mention it back there, but any kid attempting to slide head first on a team I coach gets benched. Stops it pretty quick. By the way ... is there a record for number of posts on a link? Does this approach it?

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:12 AM on April 03, 2003

What colour is the sky in your world? :) The dark grey typical of a Red Sox fan. You'll pardon an Economics major the simplistic two-input example with everything else held constant. I was just testing a premise. I do agree that A-Rod or Barry or someone who creates runs at a certain super-human level is more valuable than a pitcher, but I think that an ace can make a big difference in building a team (the confidence that builds throughout the team from winning most every start).

posted by yerfatma at 09:11 AM on April 03, 2003

the play Jeter did to nail Giambi at the plate And I was there, at the Oakland Coliseum, wearing my NY pinstripes, straight down the first base line. Saw the outfielder overthrow the cutoff man and first baseman, saw Jeter streaking across the field, past the mound, flip the ball to the catcher, and called the out from where I stood. The Coliseum went silent, knowing a pivotal and amazing play had just happened. His presence will be missed, and no matter how you rank him against the other SS, he's the best fit to be on the Yankees.

posted by msacheson at 10:50 AM on April 03, 2003

His presence will be missed, and no matter how you rank him against the other SS, he's the best fit to be on the Yankees. Despite my "rants" against Jeter, I cannot, in any way, disagree with this statement.

posted by grum@work at 02:11 PM on April 03, 2003

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