Monday, January 25, 2010

Can Jeter Reach Rose?

Lucas Vanderwarker brought up the idea over at LoHud as a guest blogger and Rob Neyer posted about it over on ESPN. Me? As much as I'd love to see him become the all-time hits king, I don't think it's gonna happen. Neither does Neyer, and since he's the expert I'll show you some of what he had to say.
According to Bill James' Favorite Toy method, Jeter has not established a measurable chance to break Rose's record. That said, he does have a six-percent chance of reaching 4,000 hits. Which leads to the obvious question: Is 4,257 hits really so many more than 4,000?

And the obvious answer: Yes. When you're 43 or 44, 257 is an awful lot of hits.

The other problem is one of context. It's not just incredibly uncommon for a player to collect nearly 1,500 hits after turning 36, as Pete Rose did. It's also incredibly uncommon for a player to play regularly or semi-regularly into his mid 40s, as Rose did. And of course he was able to do that because a) he played first base, and 2) he managed his own team for the last 203 games of his playing career.
He then brings up the fact that since the Yankees have both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira locked up in long-term deals, that when Jeter grows out of shortstop he'll likely have no position, at least not as an everyday player.
With the Yankees, anyway. Jeter's halo is such that some other organization might consider giving him 500 plate appearances at that age, just for the sake of having him around. But I don't see him taking a huge pay cut, and I don't see him playing for another team.

What strikes me as infinitely more likely is that his next contract runs for four or five years, taking him perhaps through his Age 41 season. As the years pile up, he'll transition to some sort of utility role and will leave the game with a great amount of grace.

I would absolutely love to see Derek Jeter replace Pete Rose in the record books. But it says here that he'll finish his career with 3,692 hits.
The only way Jeter can do it is if he defies the laws of aging. Some players have done, most needed steroids, but some have done it legitimately. Can Jeter? I have no idea, but like I said before I doubt it. Still, he's one of the greatest Yankees of all-time and will be the first with over 3000 hits, and that, in it of itself is pretty amazing.

What about you, do you think Jeter has a shot at breaking Rose's record?

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