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April 30, 2006

Target Lugo Or Wait On Pena?

Wild thought of the moment: If New York does become concerned about Jeter's defense at SS, then sign Julio Lugo after the season.

Lugo, while not in the class of Adam Everett or Jack Wilson with the glove at SS, would be an improvement over Jeter.

Then you move Jeter to 2B in 2007. And, you can either trade Cano (who would be a legit trading chip - given his age and contract) or move Cano to the OF in 2007. (With Sheffield - assuming they extend him - becoming the full-time DH in 2007.) Cano goes to LF and you move Matsui to RF.

Giambi would love to play 1B all the time anyway.

Or, as a Plan B, you just eat Jeter's glove for another season after this year, then go with Ramiro Pena at SS in 2008, move Jeter to 2B, and figure out what to do with Cano.

I know that many are thinking now "What about A-Rod at SS?" While that might make some sense, I don't see Jeter moving off SS for Alex. Yes, it's an ego thing. Think Derek doesn't have an ego? He might move for a new free agent or a kid coming up, but, with A-Rod, that's an admission of "He's better than me" that I think Jeter would have a hard time accepting.

Plus, who can say for sure that Alex, given his size, age, and time off the positon can move back to SS and do a good job?

When you look around the Yankees team, and their contracts, there's not a lot of positions to move Jeter to - and if they sign a RF after this season, that's one less moving part to play with in the shuffle.

It's either move Jeter to 2B in the next couple of years, or the OF (which he doesn't seem to want) next year, or run out of options soon.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 30, 2006 11:46 AM


I can't see any scenario that Jeter or the Yankees move Jeter from shortstop, other than injury, as much as it might make sense. Hey, the guy just won two gold gloves!

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 01:42 PM

Steve, with all due respect here: did you slip in the shower this morning and hit your head?

The Yankees aren't concerned about Jeter's defense, and despite what the "handbook" says, we know what kind of shortstop Jeter is: a SLIGHTLY above-average one with a good arm who makes occasionally spectacular plays (he also won't make many mental errors).

And any scenario that involves moving Jeter but keeps Giambi at first is absurd.

So is the idea of trading Cano, an excellent hitter and someone we don't have to pay big money to for a while.

Pena's still very young, but the shortstop everyone has their eyes on is C.J. Henry, a first-rounder from last year.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 05:19 PM

why not move pena to 2b

Posted by: Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 08:01 PM

I have to back Steve on this one. Have you even watched Jeter this season? His range is shrinking every day. It's actually getting scary. The numbers paint a pretty terrible picture in addition.

I still think he should be moved to the outfield. He's got the speed and the arm to make a good enough rightfielder.

Lugo is interesting. I'd like to see if his continues to progress before I sign him.

Posted by: DownFromNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 10:04 PM

Just in case anyone cares I was being sarcastic about citing Jeter's gold gloves as validation of his defense!

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 10:49 PM

I cannot agree with Steve's options. If Jeter plays 2nd base, his lack of range is still a liability, but his strong arm is less of an asset. Plus, he would have to learn to play 2nd. Jeter won't be moved to center because of Damon's multi-year contract.

Anyhow, even though JeremyM was being sarcastic about Jeter's 2 gold gloves, those awards show that the baseball establishment thinks Jeter is an excellent fielder.

Posted by: David [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2006 10:27 AM

FWIW, many, if not most, MLB 2Bs started out as SS in their career. This is why you see so few 2Bs drafted. It's a switch that can be made. Plus, because of the % of RHB vs. LHB, you can "hide" someone with less than great range at 2B much more than you can at SS.

Look at Miguel Cairo. He can "play" SS for a game or two - but he's not a great SS with the glove. But, he's much better at 2B. Jeter would be the same thing.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2006 11:40 AM

Jeter's lack of range will not kill the Yankees. Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield playing rightfield on a daily basis will. Except for Wang, the Yankees' starters are flyball pitchers. Therein lies the fatal flaw. Is it the opponents' superior infield that beats the Yankees? No, more than likely, it's plays in the outfield. Imagine how much worse it would be if Damon weren't playing CF.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2006 11:41 AM

While I won't get into an argument over Jeter's defensive value, if he hasn't moved by now (to 3b or cf) it's pretty safe to say that he's not going to move anytime soon.

And "ego" shouldn't have anything to do with it. If he's hurting the team @ short (I don't think he is, but play along), he should move. That's part of being the leader or captain, or whatever...

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2006 12:03 PM