Derek Jeter is coming off of the worst season of his Hall Of Fame career. No one can argue that. The debate starts when talking about what we can expect from Jeter this season. Many believe that Jeter's decreased numbers are due to a decline directed related to his age. People are saying his range has decreased in the field and his hitting dropped well below his career mark. The one point that I haven't heard mentioned is the fact that last year was Jeter's contract year.
Admittedly, this fact seems to work against my point but hear me out. Most players play their best in their contract year because they know that they will pull in better offers in free agency. If Jeter had his way, he would sign a lifetime contract with the Yankees. He has absolutely no urge to be a free agent, he just wants to be a Yankee. In my opinion, Jeter's drop off in numbers can be at least partly attributed to the stress of his upcoming free agency.
Now on to my expectations.
Expect Jeter to be angry this season. Expect him to want to make believers of the sceptics. Expect him to attempt to improve his range in the field and expect him to make mechanical changes in swing to improve hitting. Last but not least, expect him to succeed.
There were talks of Jeter's fielding getting worse before the 2009 season. Jeter made the adjustments needed and won a gold glove in 2009. His hitting is just another obstacle but the bottom line is, Derek Jeter is the Yankees all time hit king, he hasn't forgotten how to hit. He will have a much better season. I'm predicting .308 for the year.
Jeter has decided to report to spring training 3 weeks early so he can work with hitting coach Kevin Long. The road to redemption starts in two weeks. Jeter will be back.