With the retirements of Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, and the likely and probable retirement announcement from Mariano Rivera at the end of the 2012 season, Jeter will be the last man standing of the well-known and well-loved core-four.
Jeter stated that it will be awkward not having Posada around in spring training and during the season. They were best friends and had lunch together frequently during spring training in the past.
His struggles during the first half of the 2011 season were stressful for him and for his fans, but in Jeter's fashion he never gave up and his determination to succeed led to a .327 batting average for the second half.
Rumors of Jeter's demise and retirement were washed away as he silenced his critics.
When asked if he has considered retiring anytime soon, Jeter responded by saying, “If I ever think I’m not capable of playing the game at a high level, then I’d go home.”
He still has confidence in his physical playing abilities and has promised that he will know when it is time to hang it up.
Jeter is one of those elite athletes who is not only phenomenal at what he does, but he is a true gentleman on and off of the field. He is an unassuming man who never demonstrates an inflated ego. He is all about the team.
He has assured everyone that if he senses that he can no longer perform at the level that he expects from himself, he will know and he will retire gracefully.
Once Mariano Rivera does retire, Jeter will be the last of that generation of elite Yankees to remain. As highly-professional as Jeter is, standing on the field and being in the clubhouse without the other core-four will be difficult, and could create a sense of loneliness.
Those emotions could have an effect on his performance. He is still strong and will probably have a great 2012 season.
Only time will tell, and we all hope that he continues to perform like the Derek Jeter that we know. We just have to hope that he is able to accept the reality of retirement when the times comes so that he can go out on top.