As Derek Jeter walked off Target Field at the top of the fourth in the All-Star game, a roaring crowd of 40,000+ people continuously cheered and saluted the Captain. Imagine being him. Imagine being one of the most respected baseball players of all time.
We all know Jeter is not replaceable. He is a one of a kind athlete whose humble, yet disciplined attitude makes him the perfect face for the New York Yankees’ franchise. As much as Jeter has acknowledged that he doesn’t want to think of this season as a farewell tour, we the fans must come to terms with it as such.
Instead of replacing Jeter, upgrading should be the appropriate word to use. As the Yankees must think ahead to life without the Captain, they should seek to find another big name that can become the new face of the team and whom fans can rally behind.
The best all-around shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, comes to mind. He’s the superstar of the unsuccessful Colorado Rockies, who has more potential than settling for such a team. He doesn’t deny it either, and has discussed the idea of being traded.
He’s been an All-Star four times out of his seven seasons. His career batting average is .299 with a total of 176 home runs and 604 RBIs. He’s been a faithful Rockie through and through, but as his talent becomes more recognizable, so is the idea of being more appreciated for it.
The Yankees would have to pay the $157 million left on his contract, which runs through 2020. Although if traded to the Yanks, Tulowitzki would have to find another jersey number as he sports the number 2 in honor of Jeter whose number will be retired with the athlete, a small price to pay.
Tulowitzki is now the face of the Rockies, but is he receiving all the glory that is due to him while being on a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009? I think his legacy would be even more glorified on a decorated team such as the Yankees, and I think the Yankees could benefit from having him as well.
Although Tulowitzli is the most preeminent consideration for the position, others trade possibilities to consider as an upgrade for Yankees shortstop could be: Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, or Asdurbal Cabrera.
This injury prone Blue Jay has the stats, but not the overall package that the Yankees should look for when upgrading. Although according to the numbers he has a career batting average of .290, he’s been dealing with a leg injury for the past two years. Not what the Yanks need right now.
The problem with getting this Chicago Cub won’t be his talent, but the fact that the Cubs will most likely ask for a pitcher in return (having sent two of their stars to the Athletics), which we all know the Yankees do not have. Although he made the All-Star team in his second and third seasons and he’s only 24, he has recently slumped which makes him a risky option for the Yanks, but sometimes with risk comes reward.
This Cleveland Indian will be a free agent this year. At 28 he’s in his 8th season at Cleveland and has served them well. He would probably be my second choice as an upgrade for shortstop. His career batting average is. 270 with an OPS of .744. Since he’s young and in his prime, he might be a good target, get ‘em while their hot, right?
I’m sure whoever fills the position next season might have the uneasy feeling of stepping into a soon-to-be legend’s shoes, but Jeter would want whoever they are to embrace the position as their own while maintaining the respectability of the team and the franchise, for the fans.