Derek Jeter announced today that 2014 will be his final season. Age, injuries and the desire to sit on his gigantic Heisenberg-esque pile of money have all come together to end his brilliant career.
This season will be a love-fest for Jeter, one that will make the season long celebration for Mariano Rivera last year look like a quiet night out with the Mrs.
But soon (like now) the Yankees will have to figure out what to do at shortstop. To be fair, Jeter barely played at all at shortstop last year. Eduardo Nunez played the bulk of the games at short. Brendan Ryan played well defensively at the end of the season at short but could not hit.
Who will be the shortstop moving forward? At 27, Nunez is no longer a prospect and is what he is: A utility infielder. Free agent Stephen Drew is available. The Yankees have some infielders in their system, but their top shortstop prospect, Cito Culver, has yet to play above Single A.
But wait! One of my followers on Twitter has a great suggestion.
@sullybaseball Arod at SS for 2015!!
— Jim Furlong (@EWOKinLA) February 12, 2014
That’s right! A-Rod is still under contract. The Yankees have a player who has won Gold Gloves at shortstop, seven Silver Sluggers at shortstop and an MVP as a shortstop.
Yes, he will be gone all of 2014 for his suspension. But what about 2015? Forget about any nonsense of voiding his deal. Even though A-Rod isn’t exactly the most loved member of the Players Association right now, he still has a guaranteed contract.
That’s right folks, when 2014 ends, Alex Rodriguez will be back as an employee for the New York Yankees in 2015… and 2016… and 2017.
Now before you dismiss this all out of hand as a Sully joke, why not?
If the Yankees still owe Alex Rodriguez $60 million over three more years, why eat that money? Especially if they need an infielder!
Last year Yankee fans did not want A-Rod to come back from his initial suspension, but seemed happy when he started to produce (and homer off of Ryan Dempster of the Red Sox.)
The Yankees may be rich, but $60 million is a lot of money to just flush down the toilet.
And after Jeter’s retirement (and assuming the Yankees won’t win the 2014 World Series), the only players in the Bronx who will have won a ring in pinstripes will be CC Sabathia, David Robertson, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli.
Sabathia is coming off of a down year. Robertson is a solid reliever but hardly the face of the 2009 Championship. Who knows what kind of production Teixeira has left? Is anyone paying top dollar to see Brett Gardner?
And oh yeah, Cervelli has a checkered steroid past.
A-Rod might be one of the only players they can market as a World Champion Yankee.
And forget the feud with Jeter. He’ll be gone.
So starting at shortstop for the 2015 Yankees? A 39 year old player coming off 2 hip surgeries and a year long suspension.
Oddly, that might be their best option.