According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, Troy Tulowitzki is aware that he’s already been considered the next shortstop for the New York Yankees after Derek Jeter retires. More importantly, he is ignoring such speculation and is prepared to play the upcoming season under the shroud of those rumors.
I think we can all agree Tulowitzki would be a pretty legit successor to Captain Clutch. It’s impossible to follow a legend, but of all potential replacements, he’d be the most endearing to the fans. Aside from his elite abilities on the diamond (which would instantly earn the crowd’s loyalty), he grew up idolizing Jeter, plays shortstop because of him and wears no. 2 in his honor. I can already hear the bleacher creatures chanting “TU-LO” during roll call.
Tulowitzki succeeding Jeter would be like Tino Martinez taking over for Don Mattingly. That is, I think he comprehends what it means to replace an all-time great and has the talent to handle the pressure that will undoubtedly go with it. Nevertheless, the Yankees didn’t trade for Tino until after Mattingly’s farewell season was over. Jeter deserves equal treatment.
Can we please show our Captain a little respect and allow him to play his final season before seriously discussing who his replacement will be? After 20 Hall-of-Fame years with the organization, five World Series rings and countless highlight reel-worthy plays, I think he deserves it.
Compared to Mariano Rivera in 2013, there were debates about David Robertson being promoted to closer duties, but nobody talked about Mo like his career was already over. Nobody discussed acquiring another proven closer at the start of the season “just in case,” and nobody perpetually questioned whether Rivera’s knee would hold up for the entire season.
Honestly, Jeter might have been better off not trying to come back last season. He only played in 17 games in 2013. By comparison, Mark Teixeira only played in 15 games. However, he hasn’t faced nearly as many questions about his health because he had one injury and was done for the season. Jeter, on the other hand, repeatedly tried to come back, repeatedly re-injured himself and appeared to be more fragile as a result.
Jeter is one of the winningest players in the history of the winningest franchise in sports. Even if his skills and health are declining, like Rivera, he’s reached a point in his career where he should be above the scrutiny that typically goes with playing for the Yankees.
After all he’s done for the Yankees and the game of baseball in general, Jeter has earned the right to play his final season with dignity and without speculation over who will replace him when he’s gone.