It’s not a rebuilding year for the Yankees but it’s certainly a year of transition for the Bronx Bombers. It’ll feel strange in Tampa in March without one of the greatest and most popular Yankees of all time. Derek Jeter has retired and it will be strange not watching the iconic figure at shortstop. Jeter is gone and so is Bob Sheppard’s voice.
However, Alex Rodriguez returns after sitting out for a season due to his much ballyhooed suspension. MLB analyst Billy Ripken speaks with Metro about the post-Jeter era, dealing with A-Rod and the myriad of question marks the Yankees face this season.
How do the Yankees proceed post Jeter?
That will be very interesting and difficult. It will not easy.
It’ll beodd not seeing the Captain out there but this is well beyond superficial. The Yankees are not just losing the face of New York sports but also a first ballot Hall of Famer.
That’s right on. There were better numbers guys with the Yankees but I always thought that Jeter was the best player during the last 20 years with the Yankees. He was so talented and he played the game hard, particularly in the post-season when he was unreal. It wasn’t just at the plate. There was the flip against the A’s in the 2001 ALDS. Opening Day next year in the Bronx will be strange and sad without the Captain out there. He was an amazing player to watch.
Will Jeter be the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection?
He should be. There were many players who should but didn't get in.There are 500 some voters that make that decision. I bet you that one or two or three will not vote forJeter and get their name in the paper.
And for something completely different, there is the A-Rod circus. How much of a distraction will he be and how much will he help?
Wow, it’ll be a crazy circus. It’ll be a lot different for you New York media types dealing with A-Rod rather than Mr. Jeter. It’ll be fascinating when it comes time to report to Tampa. I imagine that Alex will DH and play some at that other corner position, first base. How much he helps remains to be seen.
The pitching staff is riddled with questions. What do you expect from the starters?
I think CC Sabathia can come back and he should. He can be pretty good. But he’s an if. Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova are ifs. I think (Masahiro) Tanaka will be fine. But there is so much uncertainty with that starting staff.
Mark Teixeira is a big if as well.
Correct. If he can only stay healthy, which he hasn’t been able to do. If he does, I expect Tex to hit .250 with a lot of homers. But who knows with him?
It’s been a year since Robbie Cano decided to take the money and run to Seattle. If he stayed, he would have $175 million, more endorsements than he could count and the priceless possibility of having his number retired. He would be the new face of the Yankees. It’s still hard to believe he left all of that behind.
I’m with you. I don’t get Cano’s decision. Maybe his feelings got hurt. But can imagine if he stayed? He would be Mr. Yankee right now. He could own New York but he’s gone and it’s difficult to know what this Yankee team is going to do and where it’s going.