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Updated: September 13, 2010, 12:24 AM ET

Postseason will offer barometer on Derek Jeter

Ravech By Karl Ravech
ESPN
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The Derek Jeter dilemma? Is it a dilemma? The greatest shortstop ever to wear a Yankees uniform is floating like a log in an ocean, adrift without any part of his game grounded.

If you are strictly a numbers person when it comes to evaluating a player's performance, then Jeter is sliding rapidly toward a retirement home off the coast of Italy as opposed to another four years living in a high-rise near the United Nations. There is a risk in making decisions solely on the numbers on the back of a baseball card, and Jeter is the flag-waving, card-carrying exception to the rule that says that once you reach 36 years of age and your numbers hit the skids like a car on a frozen patch of pavement, your career is over.

[+] EnlargeDerek Jeter
Matthew Emmons/US Presswire Ready to give up on Derek Jeter? Hold off until mid-October or so.

I hear people I respect say, "The Yankees have to re-sign Jeter" or "The Yankees should give Jeter whatever he wants."

I'm sorry, I was under the impression the Yankees have been doing that for a long time. Since he arrived on the scene in 1996, Jeter has earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million, and he has earned it, at least to the point that someone can earn that amount of money playing baseball. The Yankees are nothing if not business savvy. The organization pays a premium for players who help win games. The Yankees are marketed as effectively as any sports team in the world. The Yankees are, as an organization, more valuable with Jeter than they are without him. The Yankees know this, and so does Jeter.

However, if Jeter said after this season, "I retire", the Yankees would still play in front of 3½ to 4 million fans at home next season. The Yankees know they are the most popular, and thus more valuable, when they win. Seemingly forever, Jeter has been an asset in that department; he's not now, but does that mean he won't be again?

I don't think the Jell-O has been in the fridge long enough to make that decision. This is still a fluid situation, and given that the Yankees are going to the postseason again, let's wait to see how clutch Mr. Clutch can be.

Jeter's a .313 lifetime postseason hitter. His slugging percentage, his on base-percentage and his OPS in the postseason are just as impressive. Give me a chilly night in late October with the Yankees batting in the eighth inning, trailing by a run with two men on, and I still want Jeter at the plate. The ultimate proving ground is the postseason, and before I am willing to judge Jeter, let me see him in that setting again.

Karl Ravech is a host for "Baseball Tonight."

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