Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-06-03 13:07
by Alex Belth


The irrepressible Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus will be featured on ESPN's "Outside The Lines Nightly" tonight (check local listings). This is most likely the begining of a beautiful career for Will, and I'd like to wish him all the best. As hard as he's worked, he deserves the spotlight. Kudos, baby.


With the highest payroll in the sport, it's no wonder the Yankees owner, the New York media, and Yankee fans act like Chicken Little everytime something doesn't break their way. But one thing has been obvious all season: the Yanks have a lousy bullpen, and lousy team defense, particularly up the middle.

Here is Mike C's take on Sunday's meltdown inning:

Jeter and Soriano had consecutive errors. Soriano had another on the day and Jeter could have been called for a ball he missed to re-start the Tigers' rally in the fifth. This was a ball maybe two steps to Jeter's right that even Tanner from The Bad News Bears could have gotten to but was scored a hit by a liberal, homer scorer. Maybe the Yankees don't need relief pitchers but rather relief middle infielders to cover for Jeter and Soriano. In fact on the Eric Munson ball that Soriano threw away in the fifth it appeared that Clemens (correctly) dove for the ball as it went by him rather than allow his infielders to touch the ball.

David Pinto had an interesting post over at Baseball Musings regarding the Yankees defense:

As I've spent a lot of time listening to Yankee games with my dad over the last few weeks, I'm more convinced than ever that the Yankees can't win with the defense they have in the middle of the infield. I don't know how many times I heard, "Slow roller up the middle, through for a base hit."

What's the solution? You certainly don't want to lose Jeter's bat. And I don't think you can move both Jeter and Soriano. I think the best solution would be to find a defensive wizard at SS, and move Jeter to third. Ventura is good, but he's old. It's possible that he could be traded to a contender for such a SS, or a three way deal with Cleveland where the Yankees end up with Vizquel. I really think Jeter's future is at third, not a SS.

Makes sense to me. Perhaps they could even keep Ventura and use him as the extra lefty-bat they are seeking. But do you really think Joe Torre is going to up and move Derek Jeter to third in the middle of the season? That is highly unlikely.

Here is what reader Dan Mulvihill thinks:

I'd love to see it happen, if only to see how Jeter would react to it. He always comes across as a "team first" guy, but that would be a real test of his sincerity. Plus, he'd probably be insulted. He likes to think of himself as a great defensive guy - remember that puff piece in the Times last summer about his fielding?
Jeter can't move to his right anymore, so the sooner he gets to third the better. They're not gonna win the Series (or get there) with this defense, so I'd do that trade to get Vizquel. And yeah, I think Ventura would make a great PH/DH.

I too, am interested in how Jeter would handle such a move. After all, he is famous for being a team player, who will do anything it takes to win. When will the Yankees see what has already become painfully clear to many observers? And what will it take for them to change their minds? A terrible post-season error? I don't think Jeter will lose any star appeal or sex appeal shifting to third. Part of me thinks the only reason Jeter is at short is because he 'looks' good as a shortstop. Hey Jete, are you really a shortstop? "No," he might say. "But I play one on TV."

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