Who Should the Texans take? Clowney or Manziel?

By: Evan

The Texans have a tough choice to make. An exciting quarterback? or a can't miss defensive prospect? Courtesy of Buildingadam.com
The Texans have a tough choice to make. An exciting quarterback or a can’t miss defensive prospect?
Courtesy of SB Nation

As the Superbowl hype dies down, NFL fans get focused on the draft and their team’s needs to improve its roster. The team in the news the most is the Houston Texans, a team with plenty of talent but one that vastly underachieved this season winning only two games, hence securing the first overall pick. The only problem with having the first overall pick this year is the decision on whether to go offense or defense. The two seemingly obvious choices to go number one are Johnny Manziel or Jadeveon Clowney. Both were stars at the college level, yet both have questions that GM’s and scouts want answered. Ironically, the Texans faced a similar predicament in 2007, on whether to draft the elusive and wildly popular Reggie Bush or stud defensive end Mario Williams. The Texans took Williams and he did have a successful stint with the team, setting the franchise record for sacks and forced fumbles before he signed the most lucrative contract for a defensive player in NFL history with the Buffalo Bills. Bush, on the other hand has bounced around the NFL, from New Orleans to Miami to Detroit and has never really reached his potential as an elite running back. Having the number one pick can be a double edged sword as you get the number one player on your wish list, but making a mistake with the number one pick can set back your franchise.

Why the Texans should pick Manziel:

Will the Texans take the electrifying Johnny Football? Courtesy of NY Times.com
Will the Texans take the electrifying Johnny Football?
Courtesy of NY Times

Johnny Football would immediately bring excitement to the city of Houston and its deep football roots. He is “box office” and can perform at a very high level. Manziel fits the mold of the new generation of QBs that can extend plays with their feet, a deadly weapon for those who know when to slide and avoid injury. He can also throw, racking up 4,117 yards last season, good for 9th in the country. He also held the 3rd highest passer rating at 172.9 only below Bryce Petty and heisman winner Jameis Winston. In the AFC South with the emergence of Andrew Luck and with the Jaguars presumingly drafting a quarterback whether it be Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles, the Texans need someone who can put points on the board. Johnny is also a Texas kid born and raised, so the pressure of playing under the most football-centric state shouldn’t faze him. There have been some questions about Manziel’s height as he measured below six feet tall, but he does have big hands to grip the ball in inclement conditions, a good sign for NFL quarterback prospects. Some also question Johnny’s dedication to football due to his antics last summer when he partied with various celebrities such as Drake and LeBron James. Although his partying may seem immature, Johnny’s play on the field spoke for itself. As a fierce competitor, I believe he will realize the difference in preparation required for the NFL game compared to the college game and will spend more time in the film room, readying himself for NFL defenses. The Texans clearly need to take Manziel if they want to resurface as a playoff team. Look at the teams who made the playoffs this year, Denver, New England, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Cincinnati and San Diego in the AFC and Seattle, Carolina, Philadelphia, Green Bay, San Francisco and New Orleans in the NFC. All have one common denominator, an average to elite quarterback. Even if Johnny if average in his rookie year, I believe the Texans could make the playoffs with the talent surrounding him.

Why the Texans should pick Clowney:

Will the Texans take Jadeveon Clowney just like they did with Mario Williams? Courtesy of Sports Illustrated.CNN.com
Will the Texans take Jadeveon Clowney just like they did with Mario Williams?
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Jadeveon Clowney has been deemed the next great defensive end, drawing comparisons to legends like Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor. If the Texans take the so-called “next great defensive end” could you imagine him on one end of the line of scrimmage and JJ Watt on the other? That would be the most feared defensive line in the NFL without a doubt. Clowney is fast and is an athletic freak of nature at 6’6 250 pounds with long arms, he has the ideal frame to beat tackles off the edge. Drafting Clowney would provide the Texans with two defensive stoppers who could come after Andrew Luck twice a year. Although pressure on the quarterback doesn’t necessarily equate to wins, it can definitely alter game plans. Another reason why the Texans should take Clowney is  the safety of the pick. If Clowney would to fail and be a bust, it would be hard to see anyone criticizing the Texans for taking the supposedly next “Bruce Smith or Lawrence Taylor”. If Clowney reaches this potential, he would be one of the all time greats, a sure-fire hall of famer with impeccable credentials. Clowney is the safer bet but does he have the potential that Johnny does?

[ads]

Conclusion:

If I had to send in the draft card, I would choose Manziel. As the saying goes “scared money doesn’t make money” and I believe the Texans need to take the risk, however big it may be. Defensive ends, however talented they may be, don’t win championships, quarterbacks do. This is not to say that Johnny will win a Superbowl or even be an elite quarterback, but he would provide the Texans with the best chance to win a title.

Five Trades that Knicks should consider for Carmelo Anthony

By: Jon

 

With a week to go before the NBA Trade Deadline, February 20, the Knicks need to look at their current position. The biggest decision they need to make is whether to keep Melo on the roster and risk losing him to free agency or trade him and begin the rebuilding process. Although many felt that Melo would retire a Knick after he arrived in New York, the recent Knick struggles make fans worry that Melo will bolt this offseason to a team with more talent and a more optimistic future. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they have $50 million locked up in Andrea Bargnani, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. These three are vastly overpaid, which will make next season another tough year for Melo and the Knicks. If the Knicks trade Anthony, they will be looking for cap space, young talent, and draft picks. Since the Knicks do not have many future first round picks, they need to sign free agents at the end of the year. I have outlined 5 realistic trades that could give the Knicks more cap flexibility, young players, and picks. All of the trades are contingent on Carmelo Anthony signing a long term deal so that the Knicks can receive full value. Although next season will be a tough year, they will have money to sign big free agents like Rondo, Aldridge, Irving, Love, Marc Gasol, and other free agents that pick up their player options this season.

[ads]

Trade number 1:

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 9.50.41 AM

New York Knicks receive: Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Al-Farouq Aminu, and 2015 first round pick

New Orleans Pelicans receive: Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith

Why the Knicks would want this trade: If the Melo leaves, the Knicks would receive nothing for their best player. In this trade, the Knicks will garner a nice young player, a quality rotational player, minor cap relief, and a future first round pick. Although Gordon is not posting the same stats that he accumulated with the Clippers, he has a lot of talent and is still only 25 years old. This season, Gordon has been healthy. Although Gordon is not posting great numbers, he has not been given many shots because he is the third option on offense behind Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. However, his win shares are on pace to resemble his win shares during his best seasons. Also, it is well documented that he is not happy in New Orleans, which takes away from his effort. Gordon is set to enter his prime and should be an attractive option for other All-Stars to play with in New York. Along with Gordon, the Knicks will receive stretch forward Ryan Anderson. Ryan Anderson’s scoring numbers have improved during every season of his career. Before an injury this season, Anderson was averaging 19 points per game with 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 threes per game on 41% shooting from down town. Anderson would be a great role player on a playoff or championship team because he stretches the defense and can provide instant offense off of the bench. Although he is paid a lot, 17 million over the nest two season, he is a valuable player that the Knicks would want coming off of their bench during press filled situations. The Knicks will be gaining some cap space because they will be able to rid themselves of JR Smith’s horrible contract and Aminu will be a free agent after this season. The 2015 first round pick could be valuable for the Knicks because the rookies are cheap talent and the 2015 draft class looks pretty deep, although it is premature.

 

Why the Pelicans would want this trade: The Pelicans are a team on the rise and Carmelo Anthony could make them a legitimate threat in the West. Although the Pelicans are 6 games under .500, they have talent on their roster and one of the best young players in the NBA. This season, Anthony Davis has taken the biggest step forward of any player in the NBA. Currently, Davis is averaging over 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. Davis has the potential to be a player like Kevin Garnett because he has great athleticism, has the ability to score on offense, and plays great defense that will win him a Defensive Player of the Year award in the future. Along with Davis, the Pelicans have Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Holiday made his first All-Star team last season and is having another quality season this year. Tyreke has talent, but he has been unable to produce like his rookie season in the league. The addition of Carmelo Anthony will give the Pelicans another legit star to play with Anthony Davis. The duo has the ability to grow over the next few seasons, which will enable them to compete with the Thunder, Rockets, and Golden State. If Evans can return to his former form with the Kings, they have a chance to actually compete for an NBA championship. Also, if they can turn around JR Smith career, he could provide another weapon. The Pelicans may have a chance to sign Anthony because of the talent and opportunity that they could give him in the future.

 

Trade number 2:

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 6.07.41 PM

New York Knicks receive:  Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, 2015 first round pick, and 2017 first round pick

Washington Wizards receive: Carmelo Anthony

Why the Knicks would want this trade: Although the Knicks would not be receiving the same amount of talent in this deal, they will be given more cap space for the future and more draft picks. The center piece of this deal would be Bradley Beal. The second year shooting guard has a lot of talent and could be a future star in the league. After a strong rookie year when he scored nearly 14 points and shot 41% from the field, Beal has significantly improved this season while averaging 17.1 points, 3.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting a higher percentage from the field and over 40% from the three point line. Beal is only 20 years old and is on his rookie deal, which will enable the Knicks to sign other players to play around Beal while he grows into a superstar. The Knicks will be able to net two first round picks in the deal, which should prove to be beneficial as they rebuild and reshape the image of their team. Although neither pick will be for this draft, which has been labeled as one of the best crops in years, the draft picks should develop into at least rotational players, if the Knicks select the right players. The Knicks will gain two expiring contract totaling $15.5 million, which could help them sign a player this offseason. If the Knicks choose to save this money for the following offseason, they will have about $17 million in salaries which should give them about 40-50 to sign players in free agency. The Knicks could possibly sign max players in free agency, which could totally change the fortunes of their team.

 

Why the Wizards would want this trade: The Wizards have been an embarrassment and a horrible team for the last few decades. However, this season, they are showing signs of life because of John Wall. The fourth year point guard is becoming one of the best young players in the league and should become a superstar in the near future. This year, Wall is nearly averaging 20 points, 8.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds,  and 2.0 steals per game. However, Wall does not have another superstar player that could help him take the Wizards to the next level. Although Beal has talent, he is not a superstar yet. Anthony could be the player that pushes the Wizards from the 5th or 6th best team in the East to one that could compete with the Pacers and Heat. Anthony has never played with another player with the talent like John Wall. Wall is only 23 years old, which means his best basketball is still ahead of him. Along with Wall, Anthony would be reunited with Nene, who is a quality big man. Anthony would probably be willing to sign an extension with the Wizards because they have a good core and Washington is a big city where he can expand his brand. Also, he grew up in Baltimore, which is only 1 hour away from Washington DC. The Wizards would still be under the salary cap, which would enable them to sign another starter or quality player to help them contend with the other teams in the East.

 

Trade number 3:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 3.21.53 PM

New York Knicks receive: Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger, Luis Scola, Rasual Butler, 2015 first round pick, 2014 second round pick, and 2015 second round pick

Indiana Pacers receive: Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton

Why the Knicks would want this trade: Besides acquiring young talent, the Knicks can succeed by garnering more draft picks and drafting good players. The main piece that the Knicks would receive is Lance Stephenson. This season, Stephenson is competing for the most improved player of the year award. After playing well in the postseason last year, he has been great this year and does everything on the court to help a team win games and championships. This year, Sir Lancelot is averaging 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists while shooting over 50% from the field. Lance is only the fourth option on the Pacers, which makes his numbers even more impressive. Along with playing good offense, Stephenson is a great defensive player and ranks inside the top 8 in the league in both defensive rating and defensive win shares. Along with Stephenson, the Knicks would receive Danny Granger. Granger has an expiring contract, but the Knicks may be inclined to sign him to a low risk deal because of his past history and talent. After two years of irrelevance, he should be healthy and ready to become an All-Star again. Along with Granger, Scola is a very good player. The Knicks could use the first round pick to acquire more young players. If the Knicks are willing to be patient, they could draft two international players and stash them in the European Leagues until they are ready for the big leagues. In todays’ NBA, more second rounds picks are performing in the NBA. Also, international players, who were drafted in the second round, have a significant amount of value.

[ads2]

Why the Pacers would want this trade: The Pacers already have the second best record in the NBA, but that does not mean they do not need to improve. Although the Pacers have been great this season, they have shown vulnerability lately. The occasional problem with the Pacers has been their inability to score. If the Pacers add Anthony, they would be nearly unbeatable because they already have the best defense in the league. Although George has been great this season and has greatly improved his scoring ability, it has not been seen if he can consistently lead the Pacers and score enough points to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. Anthony would take a lot of pressure off of George down the stretch of games. Although the loss of Stephenson may slightly diminish their defensive metrics, they would still be a top three defense in the NBA. The Pacers could fit Anthony in their starting rotation because they could slide George to the two position. The Pacers would be able to put an extremely tall lineup, Hill, George, Anthony, West, and Hibbert, which would be difficult for opposing teams to match because they have athleticism, defense, offense, and versatility. The Pacers could also go to a smaller lineup by putting Anthony at the 4 to match other teams like the Heat or Nets. The addition of Felton will allow the Pacers to have another quality point guard, if Hill becomes injured or struggles. If the Pacers are willing to spend extra money because of luxury taxes, they will have a chance to be a dynasty because they have so much talent and physicality that other teams cannot stop.

 

Trade number 4:

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 4.19.11 PM

New York Knicks receive: Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Kris Humphries, and 2015 first round pick

Chicago Bulls receive: Carmelo Anthony and Phil Pressey

Boston Celtics receive: Carlos Boozer and 2014 Bulls protected first round pick (via Sacramento)

Why the Knicks would want this trade: The Knicks are almost totally devoid of young talent, but this trade would net them two young players. Taj Gibson, 28, and Jimmy Butler, 24, are two players that have significantly improved their games since Derrick Rose went down with his second knee injury. Last year, Butler showed his ability as a good two way player, who could become a quality starter in the future. Butler is strong, physical, and big, which allows him to play defense against any offensive player in the league. This year, Butler is averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 2.2 assists per game. If Butler was with the Knicks, he would be given more opportunities on offense to show his talents. Along with Butler, Gibson has taken a significant step forward this season. This year, Gibson is totaling 12.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. However, his numbers have dramatically increased lately because he has been given more time and touches during the game. Like Butler, Gibson is a good defensive player that could change the dynamic of the Knicks. The trio of Butler, Chandler, and Gibson would make the team more defensively oriented. This trade would change the team’s dynamic and attitude from a team that plays with more finesse to a team that plays physically and puts fear into their opponents. Along with the players, Kris Humphries’ expiring contract and the future first round pick will provide the team with more assets as they potentially build a championship team in the future.

Why the Bulls would want this trade: The Bulls may be able to get Anthony during free agency, which would make this deal unnecessary. However, if the Bulls want to guarantee Anthony and possibly make a run this season, they should make a trade during the deadline. Also, the deal will allow them to rid themselves of Boozer without using their amnesty and wasting $32 million. The Bulls will never be able to compete with the other powers in the NBA with just Derrick Rose. Although Noah is taking steps forward, he is not a superstar because of his limitations on offense. Although his passing skills improve his offensive value, the number of passing opportunities will decrease when Rose returns from injury. Also, the Bulls do not know whether Rose can return to his prior form. Anthony would take a lot of pressure off Rose to do everything on offense. The Bulls are constantly stagnant on offense, even when Rose is in the game. A second scoring option, who could shoot like Anthony, will open the lanes for Rose to drive and find cutters like Noah or shooters like Anthony and Dunleavy on the outside for threes or long jumpers. The addition would put the Bulls over the Pacers, who possess similar defensive intensity, but would not have the offensive skill to match Rose and Anthony. With Anthony, Rose, Noah, and Thibs, the Bulls could start their own dynasty again for the next few seasons. Although the Bulls will be losing young players and draft picks, they may not get another chance to acquire a top 15 player in the league again.

Why the Celtics would want this trade: The Celtics are in full rebuilding mode and will look to acquire draft picks through any means necessary. Although they would rather not have to surrender an expiring deal like Humphries for Boozer, who has another year and is owed $15 million, it is unlikely that they will sign any free agents this summer. With Boozer and Rondo, the Celtics will be at least respectable.

 

Trade number 5:

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 5.51.27 PM

New York Knicks receive: Emeka Okafor, Klay Thompson, Miles Plumlee, Archie Goodwin, 2015 first round pick (via Warriors), and 2014 second round pick (via Lakers)

Golden State Warriors receive: Carmelo Anthony, 2014 second round pick (via Raptors), 2015 second round pick from the Suns, and JR Smith

Suns receive: David Lee, Marreese Speights, and Jermaine O’Neal

 

Why the Knicks would want this trade: The Knicks would be receiving a lot of assets through this trade. The most prominent player would be Klay Thompson, a member of the ‘Splash Brothers’. Klay is a 24 year old shooting guard that has improved during each of his first three seasons. This season, Klay is averaging 18.3 points, 2.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 41% from the three point arc. Last season, Klay is third in the league in three pointers, but this season he is second in threes, behind his teammate Steph Curry. Last season, Klay was able to succeed during the playoffs, which made him more of a household name. This year, Klay is averaging more win share per 48 minutes than any other season in his career. With the Knicks, he could become more of a star and move out of the shadow of Curry. Along with Klay, Miles and Archie would be good players that the Knicks could use to rebuild. This season, Archie has not been given a lot of time to play. However, he is only a 19 year old rookie with a lot of talent. The Knicks could give him more time to play and improve. Plumlee has been given more time with the Suns and has significantly improved since last year. Plumlee is averaging 9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Plumlee is a young big that could develop into a strong physical player that the Knicks desperately need inside the paint. The future picks and cap space will help them develop more players and become a championship contender.

Why the Warriors would want this trade: Although the Warriors are 9 games over 500 and have a lot of talent, they are ranked 8th in the tightly contest West. The Warriors need more help if they are going to come out of the West and compete for a championship. The Warriors have been looking for a top 15 star over the past few off seasons. Although Curry has developed into a top 15 player, they could use another superstar to beat the Spurs, Thunder, Pacers, and Heat. Anthony will make the Warriors offense nearly unstoppable. Since it is impossible to double Curry and Anthony on offense, they will both have open shots or their teammates will be given more shots. The Warriors will be able to play smaller and quicker with Anthony at the 4 instead of Lee. Also the second round picks will enable them to either get young cheap players or acquire foreign talent and wait for the players to develop into quality NBA talent. Lastly, JR Smith will have less pressure to consistently score and be a number two like on the Knicks. Smith would be a fourth or fifth option, which will give him more shots and be a more consistent player with the Warriors. If Smith plays at his best, he could replicate Thompson’s production.

Why the Suns would want this trade: The Suns have surprised the NBA this season and could use more talent in order to make the playoffs and succeed. The Suns have been looking for more talent before the trade deadline. Lee would give the Suns a legitimate scoring option inside the paint. Also, the loss of draft picks will not be bad for the Suns because they basically have every other pick in the first round. This draft, they have the possibility to have 4 picks if they do not trade a pick. With Lee, Bledsoe and Dragic would not pressured to score as often from the outside. The extra offense skill will significantly help the Suns and improve their chances of making the playoffs.

 

Pics and stats from ESPN.com

[ads]

Derek Jeter’s Legacy and his Future Replacement

[ads]

By: Jon

 

5 time champion, 4th member of the core four, 3 top 3 MVP seasons,  2 is his jersey number, and 1 legend.

 

On Wednesday February 12, 2014, Derek Jeter announced on his Facebook page that he would retire after the 2014 season. Jeter’s impact will be felt on and off the field when he leaves the team after the season. Jeter is the 11th captain of the New York Yankees and will be a future Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 6 years.

Jeter’s Legacy on the Field:

The Flip Play against Jeremy Giambi Courtesy of MLB.com
The Flip Play against Jeremy Giambi
Courtesy of MLB.com

This season, Jeter will play in his 20th season and this will be his 19th season as the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees. Jeter is part of the new breed of shortstops that are bigger and have more offensive skills than the shortstops that played before the 1970s. When Jeter entered the league, he was compared to Nomar Garciaparra, who retired a long time ago, and Alex Rodriguez, who switched positions when he came to the Yankees. While Jeter never had the power like Ripken or Rodriguez, he had the ability to score runs, get on base, and have a high batting average. Although Jeter will be remembered for his intangibles and leadership skills, he is arguably the best shortstop since Honus Wagner, who retired in 1917.

Derek has a career batting average of .312 and an on base percentage of .381, which are impressive numbers from a position that normally does not provide offensive output. During his career, Derek has batted over .300 twelve times, scored 100 runs thirteen times, accumulated over 200 hits eight times (including leading the league twice), and stole more than 20 bases eight times. In terms of offensive production, Jeter has the highest offensive WAR of any shortstop in the modern era, which includes Cal Ripken, who many believe is the best offensive shortstop. Although Jeter does not have great power like Ripken, he hit over 250 home runs and has slugged .446 during his 19 years. Derek has the 10th most hits in MLB history and the most among active players with 3,316 hits. If Jeter can collect 119 hits, he will move into 6th place. If he can garner 198, which will be difficult and probably unlikely, Jeter can pass Tris Speaker for 5th place on the all time list. Jeter is currently ranked 12th in runs scored, but has the chance to move into the 9th spot, if he can score 73 runs during the season.

After Jeter flew into the stands Courtesy of ESPN.com
After Jeter flew into the stands
Courtesy of ESPN.com

Although Jeter’s offense has made him one of the best shortstops in MLB history, many people have questioned his defensive ability. Throughout Jeter’s career, many scouts and people in baseball have criticized his range and true value on defense. The defensive metrics do not favor Jeter. His Defensive WAR, -9.2, is the reason why he does not rate well compared to other great shortstops in MLB history. Jeter has posted a positive dWAR only 3 times during his career. Although Jeter does not have great range, he is one of the most sure handed shortstops in the league. Many managers and executives have noted that they would not want any other player, but Derek Jeter to make a play with 2 outs in the ninth. Although Gold Gloves have lost their value because many feel the selections are a popularity contest, he has won 5 Gold Gloves during his illustrious career.

Mr. November Courtesy of Newsday
Mr. November
Courtesy of Newsday

While the regular season has made Derek Jeter one of the best players in history, his postseason career has made him a legend and an immortal. Jeter has played nearly an entire season, 158 games, in his postseason career. Remarkably, Jeter’s postseason stats are similar to his regular season stats, which is rare for a great player. Jeter has batted .308 with 20 home runs, 61 RBI, 18 stolen bases, 200 hits, 111 runs, and played in 16 of the last 18 playoffs with the Yankees. He has also played in the most playoff games, which has allowed him to record the most at-bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, and singles. Jeter is additionally top five in walks, RBI, and home runs. Along with his great numbers, Jeter has had many great moments, the flip play, home run against the Diamondbacks, and home run against the Orioles. These moments validated his nickname as Mr. November and Captain Clutch. If the Yankees meet expectations, he could have a chance to improve his numbers and possibly reach his 6th championship before he retires from the game.

Legacy off the Field:

The 11th Captain of the Yankees Courtesy of the NineRoute
The 11th Captain of the Yankees
Courtesy of the NineRoute

Although Jeter has been at the center of attention since he won the Rookie of the Year and led the Yankees to their first title in 18 years in 1996, he has always said the right things and has never made a major mistake like others in the past. In today’s world with constant media involvement, it is likely we will never see another superstar succeed as much on the field while maintaing a perfect image off the field. As many have noted, Jeter is the perfect captain for the Yankees because he has the ability to absorb all the pressure while maintaining a stoic complexion. Many players look up to Jeter during difficult situation because they know he will not allow his nerves to overcome himself and affect his play on the field. Unlike Alex Rodriguez, who is a superior player and has more talent, Derek has the rare ability to slow down the speed of the game and perform at the highest and most pressure filled situations. Derek has been able to keep his personal life away from the media, which limits the amount of distractions on the team and him. This talent helps explain his crazy .321 average and .384 on base percentage in World Series play. Jeter has a great work ethic which has made him a better player and has inspired his fellow teammates to improve and exceed their expectations. It is interesting that Derek announced his big news on Facebook because many people didn’t even know he had a Facebook page since he rarely posts on Facebook. Although Derek will always be remembered for his skills and talent, he will mostly be remembered as a great person and teammate that helped his teammates win and succeed.

Awards:

2000 WS MVP Courtesy of Sportingnews
2000 WS MVP
Courtesy of Sportingnews

During Jeter’s great career, he has won numerous individual and team accolades, which adds to his legend. Derek Jeter broke out in his first full season when he hit .314 with 104 runs, 183 hits and won the Rookie of the Year in 1996. Although Jeter will likely never win an MVP, he has finished in the top-3 3 times and top-10 8 times. Derek has competed in 13 All-Star Games and was the first Yankee to win the All-Star Game MVP in 2000. He became the first player ever to win the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP in the same season in 2000. During his career, Jeter has won 5 Silver Slugger Awards at shortstop and won 2 Hank Aaron Awards in 2006 and 2009.

Future:

Will Troy Tulowitzki be the next star shortstop for the Yankees? Courtesy of ESPN
Will Troy Tulowitzki be the next star shortstop for the Yankees?
Courtesy of ESPN

Although the future for Jeter looks bright outside of baseball because he is well known and beloved by many, the Yankees may have a difficult time finding his replacement. Currently, the Yankees do not have any viable options on their current roster or in the minor leagues. Eduardo Nunez and Branden Ryan are no full time shortstops and cannot be the shortstop to replace the great Derek Jeter. In the minors, the Yankees tried to replace Derek by drafting CJ Henry and Cito Culver, but neither have shown the ability to make the Yankees’ roster in the future. The Yankees will need to find Jeter’s replacement outside the organization, if they want to continue winning and competing for Division Titles and World Series Championships.

If the Yankees want to continue spending money and draft picks this year, they could sign Stephen Drew to a long term deal. Drew is a competent shortstop who batted .253 with 12 home runs and 67 RBI. If Drew can return to his 2008 form when he hit .291 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI, the Yankees would hit a home run with him. However, Drew’s market is remarkably down and I do not think that the Yankees should sign Stephen Drew because he is not a very good statistical performer and will face a lot of pressure in New York. After this season, the Yankees can sign a shortstop because the class is pretty deep with talent. Currently, there are three shortstops that could play for the Yankees and provide quality production, JJ Hardy, Jed Lowrie, and Asdrubal Cabrera. JJ Hardy will turn 32 during the 2015 season and has been an All-Star twice during his career. Last year, Hardy had a very good season when he hit .263 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI, while winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award. Last year, Hardy posted a WAR of over 4, which is great. Hardy may cost about $30-$36 million over about 3 years because of his recent success. Another option is Jed Lowrie, who will be 31 during the 2015 season. Lowrie has been improving over the last few years since he has been given more playing time. Last year, Lowrie hit .290 with 15 home runs, 75 RBI, and a WAR of 2.8, but a OWAR of 4.3. Although Lowrie does not have a great glove, he can hit for a good average and should be considered by the Yankees next year. Lowrie will probably demand a contract for about 3 years and $21-25 million.  Last of these three is Asdrubal Cabrera, who will be only 29 during the 2015 season. After 2 consecutive quality seasons in 2011 and 2012, when he made the All-Star team and compiled a WAR of over 4, Cabrera had a horrible season last year. Cabrera hit only .242 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI. The Yankees should consider Cabrera next offseason because he will be cheaper than the other alternatives, unless he has a big year, and has more overall potential and talent. If Cabrera can return to his 2011-2012 form, the Yankees would have a shortstop that could bat .275 with 20+ home runs and 75 RBI while playing above average defense at shortstop. Cabrera is also at least 2 years younger than the other shortstops, which means the Yankees will be receiving him during the last of his peak years, unlike the other players. If Cabrera has another poor season, the Yankees may be able to sign him for a deal similar to Lowrie, which could be a steal.

[ads2]

If the Yankees want to make a splash and spend a lot of money through a free agent signing or a trade, they should go after Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, or Troy Tulowitzki. After this season, Hanley Ramirez will be a free agent. In 2015, Hanley will be 31 years old, but is coming off of a great season with the Dodgers. Although he played only 86 games, he showed that he still has the talent that made him one of the best players in the game with the Marlins. During his 86 games, Ramirez hit .345 with 20 home runs, 57 RBI, and 62 RBI while finishing 8th in the MVP voting. If Hanley repeats his performance this season, he will easily make over $100 million in his next contract. Ramirez will be a perfect fit for the Yankees because he would be an improvement at the position and could fit into the middle of the order. Hanley would be able to man the position for a few years before converting to 3rd base. Hanley is a great player and the Yankees should go after him hard next offseason if he makes it to free agency. If the Yankees do not want to sign a shortstop next offseason, they should consider making a trade for one. Jose Reyes is currently on the Toronto Blue Jays, but may become available if the team fails to meet expectations during the season. Like Ramirez, Reyes was limited to only 93 games, but was effective during his time on the field. Reyes, a four time All-Star, batted .296 with 10 home runs, 57 runs, 15 stolen bases, and 37 RBI.  Reyes’ injured hamstring from  last season inhibited his explosiveness and stopped him from stealing many bases. However, when healthy, Reyes has the ability to steal 40+ bases, collect 65 extra base hits, and bat around .300 at the top of the order. However, Reyes is due a lot of money over the next 4 years of his contract. If the Yankees trade for him during the middle of the season or at the end of the year, they will owe him at least $70 – $76 million dollars over 3 – 3.5 years. Since his contract is an albatross, the Yankees may be able to include lesser prospects in the deal.

If the Yankees want to go for the home run, besides Ramirez, they should attempt to trade for Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies shortstop. Like the other stars, Tulo has been hampered by injuries over the past two season, which has limited him to only 173 games. However, Tulo has shown that he is an MVP candidate and the best shortstop in the game, when healthy. In 126 games last year, Tulo hit .312/.391/.540 with 25 home runs, 82 RBI, and 72 runs scored.  Although some of his stats may be inflated because of Coors Field, he has the potential to hit above .300 with 25+ home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs, and slug .540. Like Reyes, Tulo has a ginormous contract. If the Yankees trade for him at the deadline, they will owe him at least $126 million over 6.5 years, plus they can exercise a team option which would push the deal to $136 million. If the Yankees are willing to eat the whole contract, they may be able to facilitate the deal, although their farm system is depleted. If they were to make a deal, they probably would have to part ways with Gary Sanchez, a pitcher, Nova or Pineda, and maybe another prospect.

 

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com and BaseballReference.com

[ads]