- Diminshing returns May 6
Zero. That is how much Derek Jeter has been worth to the Yankees this year, per Wins Above Replacement (WAR.) Yet given Jeter's mythic status in the Bronx, and that this is his last season, he remains in the lineup, batting second as usual.
Though Jeter's WAR could tick up as the season goes on, his accompanying stats underscore his terrible performance and suggest age may have finally caught up with him. The shortstop is hitting just .250 through Tuesday, and his power has completely evaporated; he has only four extra-base hits this year, all doubles. He's also whiffing way more than usual — possibly because he's struggling to catch up to fastballs — and his 71 wRC+ (basically a weighted measure of overall offensive performance, with 100 being league average) has him on pace for his worst year ever, discounting last season when he appeared in only 17 games.
And that's all without noting Jeter's defense is so porous that a bowl of pudding could conceivably field better than him at this point.
Jeter turns 40 this year and missed almost all of last year due to injury. And though you can shout "sample size!" all you want, his robust batting average on balls in play (BABIP) shows he's not getting screwed by bad luck: He's just not hitting.
So will the Yankees bench him? Probably not. The season is young, and he is Derek freaking Jeter.
Then again, manager Joe Girardi said last month he "wasn't hired to put on a farewell tour," and would do what he thinks is best for the team. At some point, what's best for the team might be benching The Captain.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
- 8 tricks to surviving the holidays without gaining weight or being grouchy
- Chuck Hagel wasn't the problem. It's America's addiction to endless war.
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
Subscribe to the Week