Derek Jeter is safely retired now. The Yankee shortstop received a memorable send off from the Yankees and every other team in the league as he made his final rounds in 2014. I am a veteran Yankee hater. I despise them, I just do. But individual players from those great Bronx Bombers teams 1996-2000 are hard to dislike. Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, even Tino Martinez purloined from the 1995 Mariners are all pretty admirable. At the top of the list, however is Jeter. Jeter is unquestionably a Hall of Fame hitter. I buy the evidence that he lacked some of the physical talent of many great defensive shortstops. But one thing you’ll never sell me on is that he wasn’t a very good defensive player. Brendan Ryan may have had the range and the arm when the Fielding Bible compared the two in 2012, but nobody topped Derek Jeter in baseball smarts. He is the smartest ballplayer on the field I’ve ever seen and that always allowed him to get the most out of his considerable talents. Pinstripes or not, Derek Jeter was a classy player and a winner. He made everyone around him better and I will miss him.
MLBTradeRumors announced the Mariners designated Corey Hart for assignment. Hart, you remember him? He was signed by Jack Zdurencik to be the big right handed bat to hit behind Robinson Cano and bring balance and right-handed thump to the line up. Hart was to play right field, a little DH, and a little first base. You remember, right? My personal belief is that this was a whole lot of delusional thinking on Z’s part and I said so last winter. Hart never got hot, was injured a bunch, really couldn’t play the outfield, and most importantly, could never hit the American League. He was yet another bargain basement effort to bring a legitimate power bat into the lineup. Coming off microfracture surgery in both knees, having missed all of the 2013 season, Hart could never get it going. His slash line was .203/.217/.371 in 255 plate appearances. Corey Hart is the poster child for the things that are wrong with the Mariners. He had skills that didn’t fit with this team. He’s a guy who once upon a time was a good player, hit 30 homers, was right-handed. But his greatest virtue was that he was relatively cheap. For what Hart accomplished you could buy a lot of bats and balls for his $6 million, and they’d be just as useful. Hart was 6’6″ of walking talking wishful thinking. With this year’s success on the field, the Mariners cannot afford any more Corey Harts.