Derek Jeter is 39 years old. He’s just returned to the New York Yankees from an injury that’s kept him out for the majority of the season. On top of that, he’s been injured again, and it’s unclear how long it will take for him to recover. I’ve been seeing some people questioning his durability, and some even think he’s just about done.
But don’t count him out just yet.
This is a future Hall of Famer we’re talking about, a guy who swatted 216 hits just one year ago. Until his ankle injury last year in the playoffs, Jeter hadn’t missed more than 43 games in a season. This isn’t a brittle guy we’re talking about here, and even at 39, I think he’s got plenty left. In his single game back, he legged out an infield single and looked very good, proving that his injury is fully recovered.
A better question is whether or not Jeter can still be an everyday shortstop. I think that he can do it, but manager Joe Girardi will probably opt to have him split time at short and DH. Eduardo Nunez is a decent defensive player and hitter, and he could play about 90-100 quality games. Jeter would provide a much more consistent bat at DH, especially compared to Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, who’ve certainly underperformed of late after strong starts.
Derek Jeter’s career may be changing, but it’s far from over.