Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman on Jeter (and his ilk):
- On a conference call with reporters, Girardi acknowledged that handling older players like Jeter would be an issue at some point, but he said that he would not rush to judgment based solely on Jeter’s age (36), his fielding ability or his batting average (.270 this season, 44 points below his career average). Girardi said he had not had any explicit conversations with Jeter or other aging players like catcher Jorge Posada about their roles.
“You have to watch the player and the days in a row and how that affects him,” Girardi said. “Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s not.”
Cashman was more direct, saying that older players were not worth keeping on a team just because they were popular or chasing personal records like home runs or saves. Ultimately, they must contribute on the field.
“We’re not going to be interested in retaining players because of future milestones,” Cashman said. “The stars don’t put fannies in the seats. Wins do. If it’s a bad team, people will stop showing up by July. They’ll go to the beach.”
(Granted, if future milestones aren't considered an asset, it's somewhat difficult to explain Alex Rodriguez's contract. It's been rumored that occasionally general managers don't get to do exactly what they want to do.)