Injury after injury and consistent setbacks for New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has tarnished the last year and his half of his career. Jeter is on pace to return to the Yankees this season in an effort to help the team win a World Series once again. He is on the mend from left ankle issues which have plagued him since the 2012 American League Championship Series.
Jeter will turn 40 in June and is expected to play everyday when he comes back into the lineup. However, with someone who has been on the mend for nearly an entire year and is about to turn 40, how can a team consistently rely on him to make plays in the hole at shortstop and bat .300 or greater?
The answer is, you cannot rely on anyone to do that. Not even Jeter.
New York needs to take baby steps with Jeter as he approaches a return. What the team asks of him has to be at the minimum. There is no way you can rely on him to lead the league in hits and record 32 or more doubles in a season. He is far from his prime offensively and defensively and his playing time should start to round out with Eduardo Nunez expecting to take over the position once Jeter retires.
This will be the first season in awhile that you could honestly say New York can win a title without Jeter being a main factor. The pieces around him are expensive and powerful and are meant to win titles now. For Jeter not to push himself as hard as he tried last season is something the Yankees need.