Through all of the changes that have come to the New York Yankees over the last few months, one thing remains the same. Derek Jeter is not only the Captain but the heart of this Yankees team. They had a bad season last year that ended with them struggling to even have a chance to struggle for the playoffs. Is there any doubt why that happened? Sure there were other issues as well but never underestimate the difference the Captain makes when he takes the field at Yankee Stadium.
The really good news for the Yankees right now is that Jeter has started regular offseason workout reps. I mean hitting and fielding exercises. He has been on a standard offseason workout schedule since November. Here is why that is so important to 2014 turning out differently than 2013. Last season did not show Jeter’s age, it showed what happens when he wasn’t able to have a standard offseason at his age.
No veteran above the age of about 37 is going to have a good, injury free season without a long offseason routine that they can stick to every season. After breaking his ankle in the 2012 playoffs Jeter wasn’t able to have much of an offseason at all. He rushed himself back and therefore was never really in playing shape. A young prospect might be able to physically overcome that but any veteran surely would not. That’s what we saw in 2013. Also, that is why Jeter will show up this season and prove he still has a few years left if he chooses them.
Jeter might not lead this team in any offensive category. He might not flash a ton of highlight reel plays every week. One thing he will do if he is able to stick in that line-up, which I believe he will do, is to drive them to a much improved winning season that could well end up with a return to October baseball for the Yankees. No single addition they have made is more important than the healthy return of Derek Jeter.