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Jeter Plight Conjures Up O’Neill/Mattingly

By Mike Silva ~ September 1st, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Those who follow the Yankees can’t help but remember the Paul O’Neill/Don Mattingly lineup debate from 1994 when looking at the plight of Derek Jeter. That year O’Neill led the American League in batting, while an aging Don Mattingly continued his steep decline from stardom that eventually led to his retirement in 1995. That year the debate was when Buck Showalter would remove Donnie Baseball from the number three hole in the lineup, and replace him with Paul O’Neill. Although the stats made this move a “no brainer,” a prideful Mattingly never made lineup changes easy in the past. When Bucky Dent moved him to the two hole, he decided to make a statement by bunting his first time up. However, it was apparent to even Mattingly in that summer of 94′ that O’ Neill was the focal cog of the offense.

Fast forward to today, and look at Derek Jeter. Like Mattingly, the Captain has seen his skills erode to the point where he is a below league average hitter for the first time in his career. His OBP is a paltry .333, putting him only ahead of Curtis Granderson in a normal Yankees lineup. This has forced Joe Girardi to move Brett Gardner to the leadoff hole, and drop Jeter to #2. A small change that surely won’t cause a ripple, but in reality Jeter should be at the bottom of the lineup, not setting the table. Just a few weeks ago Matt Imbrogno of TYU suggested hitting Jeter eighth. It’s a point which I agree, but realize would cause such a stir the ends wouldn’t justify the means. The Yankees don’t need to rock the boat during this critical time of the season.

In an ideal world Jeter would recognize what is best for the team, and give Girardi the green light to make such changes. I am not asking him to go public with this, but rather be the first to throw the olive branch. Mattingly said the right things publicly in 1994 with his demotion, and Jeter would probably do the same. If he initiates such a move it would make the inevitable that much easier. It would be the right thing to do, and what prove what a true Captain he really is.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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7 Responses to Jeter Plight Conjures Up O’Neill/Mattingly

  1. dan l

    Jeter really has been terrible since mid May so they really need to move him down. Lets hope the Yankees only give him a 1 year deal going forward with a team option.

  2. Jerry

    For what Jeter has meant to the Yankees, and for all he has contributed, I say leave him where he is. Don’t disrespect him. He has, by far, been the best advertisement for the Yanks, and the best role model for kids. We owe him our respect.

  3. jason

    You are totally correct.

  4. Sara

    The New Yankee Stadium is the house that Derek Jeter built. He’s just in a slump. They’re giving Burnett every chance he doesn’t deserve to overcome his slump because they need him to pitch well. The Yankees need Jeter and his leadership. His defense is spot on. He has brought in more money for the Yankees then they will ever pay him for. The owe Jeter his spot in the line up and a max contract. He is the face of the Yankees. Everyone wants to be like him. He’s a Yankee great and will be in the Hall Of Fame. I say if they want to move Jeter down to the 8 or 9 spot in the line-up then they would have to cut Burnett. He’s the captain and deserves they’re respect.

  5. Ismael

    I dunno; the man is 2nd on the team in runs scored, with 94. his career average is 119, so he’s well on his way to reaching that mark again. would he willingly drop himself lower in the lineup? of course; as Captain, he’d surely follow in the steps of former captain Gehrig & the great DiMag—both of whom, for the good of the team, took themselves out (not just of the lineup, but of the game) when each knew he was winding down.

  6. MrToes

    Count on jete to be there come post season.

  7. DR Len

    The Cap is as good as ever, just having an off season.
    Lets see what he hits from now till Oct.

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