Jeter, Cashman Relationship Strained
April 26, 2011 Leave a comment
In an upcoming book published by ESPN New York columnist Ian O’Connor about the life and times of Yankees captain Derek Jeter, O’Connor talks extensively about the relationship Jeter shared with team general manager Brian Cashman (ESPN Link).
In the book, O’Connor explains how last year’s contract negotiations between the team, specifically Cashman, and the shortstop damaged the working relationship the two had shared. Jeter was said to be irked and disrespected by the team taking the negotiations public in the media, while Cashman felt Jeter was asking for the Yankees to bid against themselves and go over market value for him.
As far as the day-in, day-out relationship between the two, this is a non-issue. Jeter isn’t going to play for any othe team in his career besides the Yankees. Brian Cashman isn’t going to get fired because he isn’t buddy-buddy with a player any more. It will not effect whether the team will win a game or lose a game. It simply doesn’t matter, and all the story does is serve the always-hungry New York media market.
What should be a concern for the Yankees is the level of play Jeter is showing. Last year, Jeter hit a career-low .270 with 10 home runs, 67 runs batted in and a .710 OPS. This year, at 36-years old, Jeter is off to a remarkably slow start, hitting .244 with no homers and five runs batted in. Not to mention, he only has two extra base hits (both doubles) in 19 games thus far. Jeter is guaranteed three years in his new contract with the team, and it includes a fourth-year option.
Now, I’m not saying that Jeter is going to continue at this pace. He will hit higher than .240 this season, that is a virtual lock. But, it is irresponsible to expect Jeter to come close to his career averages of .313 16 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Those Derek Jeter days are far behind him. With the deep line-up the Yankees have, they will happily take the .270 average and 111 runs scored. But, Yankees fans need to understand that the 2011 version of Derek Jeter is an average Major Leaguer.
But, there is nothing wrong with a league-average media darling manning shortstop. He won’t prohibit the Yankees from winning this year, and at the end of the day, that’s what is important.