Time To Change Position? Where Derek Jeter and 20 MLB Stars Might Land In 2011

Anthony BarattaContributor IFebruary 4, 2011

Time To Change Position? Where Derek Jeter and 20 MLB Stars Might Land In 2011

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    Derek Jeter could move to Center Field, before the end of his career. Who else could be moving positions?Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    A few weeks ago, Brian Cashman made headlines.  He made a comment, stating that when Derek Jeter's time at shortstop is over, he would be moving to center field.  It's almost unthinkable that the best shortstop the Yankees have ever seen might be vacating the position soon. 

    Even so, it's not uncommon to see a move like this.  For example, the legendary Mickey Mantle moved from center field to first base after years of abuse on his legs caught up to him. 

    Cal Ripken Jr., one of the most complete shortstops the game had ever seen, permanently moved to third base in 1997.  However, perhaps the most famous move for a player was Babe Ruth moving from pitcher to power-hitting outfielder. 

    Jeter will not be mentioned among the Yankee greats who patrolled center field; he will be remembered for what he has done at short.  It's interesting, though, to speculate where some of the younger players in the MLB might end up as their careers progress. 

    Here now are 20 stars that might be on the move to different positions before their careers are over.  

    Note: This list is not ranked in terms of how big of a star each player is. 

No. 20: Derek Jeter, Shortstop, New York Yankees

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    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    It's the most obvious one, so why not start with him? 

    Possible Destination: Center Field

    As stated before, General Manager Brian Cashman envisions Jeter's future in center field.  It seems almost poetic for Jeter to be headed to the hallowed center field.  Legendary names like Mantle and DiMaggio have already taken their place out there.  So why not Jeter?

    It's obvious to see, that Jeter is not the same shortstop he used to be.  He is now 36 years old and it's hard to tell how much more his body can take.  He plays such a demanding position at shortstop and may not be able to handle the strain (at least physically) much longer. 

    Center field would be much easier on his aging body, and it would open the door for youngsters Ramiro Peña or Eduardo Núñez to man short.

    The Yankees brass are high on Núñez's potential, so expect to see him taking Jeter's spot in the near future. 

No.19: Neftali Feliz, Closer, Texas Rangers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    A 22-year-old fireballer who turned heads at closer last season.  Neftali Feliz might be doing a different type of pitching in the future.

    Possible Destination: Starting Rotation

    This seems like the ongoing debate in Arlington.  Do the Texas Rangers try to convert Feliz from closer to starter?  Feliz had an outstanding rookie season, taking over the closer position after Frank Francisco proved ineffective. 

    Because of said success, it's hard to imagine why the Rangers are even considering this move.  Feliz notched 40 saves last season.  He dominated the opposition, posting a 2.73 ERA, with 71 strikeouts in 69 innings.  More impressive is the fact that Feliz held opposing batters to a sub-Mendoza .176 batting average. 

    This story is eerily similar to the Joba Chamberlain saga of 2008-2009.  The Yankees tried to move Joba into the starting rotation.  The results were disastrous as Chamberlain struggled to find consistency and may have ruined a once promising career.

    The Rangers have no real reason to make this move.  They should keep Feliz where he will benefit the team the most—at the end of games—not every fifth day. 

    However, should the Rangers make this move, Feliz needs to work on his secondary pitches.  He has a changeup and curveball to compliment his high-octane fastball.  He might need to develop one more pitch to finish out his repertoire. 

No. 18: Phil Coke, Relief Pitcher, Detroit Tigers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Coke did a good job for the New York Yankees in 2009.  He also performed decently in 2010 for the Detroit Tigers.

    Possible Destination: Starting Rotation

    The Tigers are short on rotation depth and Phil Coke could fill a back-of-the-rotation roleHe was a starter in the Yankees' minor league system, so he does have some experience in the job.  However, the Tigers must consider if it's worth weakening their bullpen.

    Coke has appeared in more than 70 games over the past two seasons which means he probably has the stamina for a starter's role.  Coke would likely fall in line behind Justin Verlander, Ricky Porcello and Max Scherzer in the rotation.  This would take any pressure off him as a no. 4 starter. 

    Coke may not be a great pitcher, but he certainly could be a nice no. 4 man for the Tigers with a very nice arsenal of pitches. Coke features a fastball and slider combination that can be murder on left-handed batters. 

No. 17: Adam Lind, Designated Hitter, Toronto Blue Jays

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Lind's power has impressed the Blue Jays.  Now he may have to show his fielding abilities. 

    Possible Destination: First Base

    Throughout the past two seasons, Adam Lind has become a major power force in the Toronto lineup.  He has been impressive in a designated hitter role, bashing 35 home runs in 2009. 

    He had another good power season in 2010, knocking out 23 homers.  Lind has knocked in over 70 runs in each of these seasons, and may have emerged as a solid no. 5 hitter in the Jays lineup. 

    Lind now faces the prospect of moving to a full-time first base position.  This means Lind will have to work long and hard on his fielding if he wants to stay an everyday player.  The Blue Jays have lacked a first baseman who can hit and field well, and feel Lind is just the man to do that. 

    Lind's transition may be rough at first.  Nevertheless, if he can make it work and keep hitting the ball out of the park, he could blossom into a very good player for the Jays. 

No. 16: Brad Hawpe, Right Field, San Diego Padres

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Brad Hawpe is a fine hitter.  However, there's no getting around the fact he is a mediocre fielder.

    Possible Destination: First Base

    Hawpe signed on with the San Diego Padres during the offseason.  The Padres will be moving him out of right field, and placing him at first base for the 2011 season.  Hawpe is a decent hitter with good pop and San Diego is hoping to get the Hawpe of 2006-2008 rather than the disappointment he has been since. 

    Hawpe has not played much, over the past few seasons.  However, when he has it's been an ugly sight for fans.  Hawpe has very limited range, and in the outfield can let singles get into the gap for extra-base hits.  The Padres organization and fans will be spared that as he takes over first base after the trade of Adrian Gonzalez.

    Hawpe has the potential to be a steal for the Padres if he can turn his career around.  Should he put up the numbers at the plate and just play good defense, he should put the Padres in good position for a playoff run. 

No. 15: Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    He's first base, third base, left field...He really can play everywhere. Kevin Youkilis will continue to be a force, despite his position.

    Possible Destination: Third Base

    The Boston Red Sox have a first baseman—it's not Youkilis.  Youkilis is moving back to third base after what seems like forever at first for the Red Sox.  It really does not matter where he plays, but he seems destined to finish his career at third.

    Finally the Red Sox franchise player has a position he can call his own.  Youkilis always seems to be moving around the diamond for the Sox.  Every year he seems to be playing yet another position and still helps his team find ways to win. 

    The fact is, Youkilis is a very good baseball player.  He can play both corner infield and outfield positions and will DH from time to time.

    Now he mans the hot corner where he should add another Gold Glove to his collection. 

No. 14: Michael Young, Third Base, Texas Rangers

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    No surprise to see him on this list...every year he's playing somewhere different

    Possible Destination: Designated Hitter

    Reports surfaced early this offseason that Young would be moving to DH in 2011.  This move was made to make way for the addition of Adrián Beltré.  It's hard to comprehend how Young continues to produce good numbers without a set position on the Texas Rangers.

    Young moved into shortstop after the trade of Alex Rodriguez and refusal of Alfonso Soriano to change positions.  Young stayed at short until young phenom Elvis Andrus was called up to the Major Leagues. 

    Now, the Rangers are asking him to move out of the field completely.  Beltré comes in off of a fantastic season and is expected to deepen the lineup and play a solid third base.  

    Young still manages to hit at a .290-plus clip despite all these moves.  If he can make DH work, he might be the most versatile player in the MLB. 

No. 13: Daniel Murphy, First Base, New York Mets

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    It seems like the Mets are trying everything they can to get Daniel Murphy at bats. 

    Possible Destination: Second Base

    Though his natural position is third base, it's unlikely the Mets will be vacating that position in the future.  Murphy has stated that he wants to try second base for the 2011 season. 

    The Mets really like Murphy, or at least his bat.  His fielding has left something to be desired, and the Mets have tried him at multiple positions.  First base doesn't look like it is going to work out either. 

    That leaves the Mets in a tight spot.  They can either trade Murphy or try him at second and hope things work out.  As stated before, they really like Murphy a lot so the latter seems more likely.

    If his fielding continues to struggle, Murphy may be on his way out of New York. 

No. 12: Jason Bay, Left Field, New York Mets

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Bay fizzled in his first season with the Mets.  Could his future lead him out of the outfield? 

    Possible Destination: First Base

    It's unlikely, but Jason Bay could make a move to first base.  He's a solid fielder, and still a threat at the plate, but his range is steadily declining. 

    A move to first could rejuvenate Bay.  He might be able to produce the numbers the Mets want out of him after he signed that lucrative deal in 2009.  However, it's not likely to happen.

    The Mets signed Bay to be their everyday left fielder.  They are not likely to give that up after one bad season. 

No. 11: Prince Fielder, First Base, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Prince most likely is out of Milwaukee after this season.  The next uniform he'll wear is a mystery, but not the position

    Possible Destination: Designated Hitter

    Prince's greatest strength is his hitting.  His fielding can be ugly to watch sometimes.  He's at the end of his contract and it seems unlikely the Brewers will be able to keep him.

    If he is not traded before July 31st, Fielder may find offers from multiple American League teams.  His swing is tailor madefor a designated hitter.  Thus, he will likely be signing with a team that can offer him this option.

    As the saying goes, "Like father, like son."  Prince will likely bolt out of Milwaukee and head for the smaller ballparks of the American League. 

No. 10: Hanley Ramirez, Shortstop, Florida Marlins

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    He's starting to become the player everyone knew he would be.  Would a move be of benefit?  It's hard to tell.

    Possible Destination(s): Right Field, Center Field, Third Base

    Hanley has all the tools to really make an impact in the coming years.  Ramírez is coming off two very good seasons in Florida and it seems unlikely that the team will try to move him out of shortstop. 

    However, Hanley continues to frustrate the Marlins.  His fielding has been less than stellar.  He has had 26 errors combined over the last two seasons, leading to some speculation the Marlins may move him. 

    Like Jeter, Ramírez will not be playing shortstop forever.  It might just be time to try him out at a new position and see how he does.

    Any outfield position would be a good fit for Hanley.  If all else fails, they can always move him to the Hot Corner.  He has the range and arm to fit any of these positions.  and it's all really a matter of how much Hanley is willing to move. 

No. 9: Alex Rodriguez, Third Base, New York Yankees

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    A-Rod is well on his way to breaking the career home run record.  However, to prolong his career he might consider a position change.

    Possible Destination: Right Field

    Jeter is on the move to center, so why not move A-Rod to right?  They've been playing next to each other for the past six seasons so why not finish out their tenure the same way? 

    Rodriguez saw a steady dip in his home run production in 2009 and 2010.  The time might be here to move A-Rod to right.  Rodriguez still possesses a strong, accurate arm and reads the ball well off the bat.  He had no problem moving from short to third, so moving to the outfield might not be too much of a problem. 

No. 8: Jorge Posada, Catcher, New York Yankees

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    He'd never admit to it, but Jorge Posada is all but finished at catcher.  The signing of Russell Martin has begun the transition.

    Possible Destination: Designated Hitter

    Jorge has seen his defense almost completely fall off the map.  Ever since his shoulder surgery (2008), Jorge has not looked like the player he once was behind the plate.  It seems that no matter, who is on the mound, base runners are taking liberties running on him.

    The Yankees brass are high on two prospects who will be taking over catcher.  Jesus Montero is said to have the biggest upside of any prospect in their system, however, Austin Romine is looking to make a push to the big leagues and Francisco Cervelli is already in the Major Leagues. 

    With so many talented prospects on the way, another Yankee legend looks to be on his way out. 

No. 7: Andre Ethier, Right Field, Los Angeles Dogers

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Ethier seems to struggle on defense.  He may be a great hitter, but a position change is not out of the question. 

    Possible Destination: First Base

    It seems difficult to stomach with Ethier being such a great hitter.  However, his defense needs a lot of work and he's supposed to be in his best years. 

    It's hard to figure how Andre can get better defensively.  He seems to struggle reading the ball off the bat, and if he hasn't figured it out by now, it's unlikely he ever will.  This is why the Dodgers might consider moving him. 

    Andre is still, a great hitter.  A move to first, would not change his hitting prowess and would improve the Dodger defense. 

No. 6: James Loney, First Base, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    If Andre Ethier will be moving to first, what will the Dodgers do with James Loney?  He's a good defensive first baseman but does not hit enough to stay.

    Possible Destination: Corner Outfield

    The Dodgers organization are big on Loney.  He's a solid first baseman with a good glove and decent speed.  However, with a possible move from right field to first base for Ethier, Loney will need a new position. 

    The corner outfield spots seem to be a good spot for Loney.  As stated before, Loney is a good defender and those skills could pay dividends in a new position.  

No. 5: Chris Coghlan, Left Field, Florida Marlins

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Marlins feel that Chris Coghlan is on the cusp of greatness.  Dan Uggla is on his way to Atlanta and Florida needs a replacement.

    Possible Destination: Second Base

    Coghlan could make up a solid middle infield for Florida.  He has all the tools to be a great player and might be on the verge of having a breakout season.  His natural position is second base, and after two seasons behind Dan Uggla he can finally go there. 

    Coghlan has been moved around a lot during his first two seasons, but now he has a solid idea of where he will be for the future.  Does it mean he's going to hit .350 and make all the plays at second? No, but he will turn some heads around the Major Leagues. 

No. 4: Matt Joyce, Right Field, Tampa Bay Rays

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Rays, finally, have a position to fit Matt Joyce. 

    Possible Destination: First Base

    With Carlos Peña now off to Chicago, the Rays have a huge hole at first base.  Joyce might be the answer for the Rays without having to test the trade market.  With an outfield logjam, Joyce might be trading an outfielders glove for a first baseman's mitt. 

    Joyce has not notched enough playing time over the last few seasons for the Rays to make an educated decision on his future.  Now that first base is open, this is Tampa's best chance to do so.

    When Joyce gets playing time, he has shown the possibilty of being a major threat.  If he gets enough playing time, the Rays may see have a potential sleeper force in their lineup. 

No. 3: Micah Owings, Starting Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Owings will still try to pitch, however, he might be able to help Arizona in a much different way. 

    Possible Destination: First Base

    Just like Rick Ankiel, Owings has disappointed as a starting pitchers.  Speculation abounds that Owings days are numbered in said role.  The question is: where does he go next?

    Rumors have surfaced that Owings is headed to first base.  The move doesn't seem too surprising since Owings played first base in high school.

    Obviously, this is a far cry from that time for Owings.  However, if he can make it work, Owings might be a big bat for the Diamondbacks in the future. 

No. 2: Rickie Weeks, Second Base, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Earlier in his career, Rickie Weeks drew comparisons to a young Gary Sheffield.  After eliminating the bat waggle, Weeks put together a good 2009 and even better 2010.  In the near future though, the Milwaukee Brewers might be moving him off second base.

    Possible Destination: Left Field

    As stated before, Weeks had a very good 2010.  However, his fielding has been less than stellar since coming into the MLB.  Every season, Weeks seems to be leading the league in errors and it only seems like a matter of time before he leaves the infield.

    If he does leave, the question is where does he play?  The answer: left field.  Left field is a much easier position to play and could prove to be a good fit for Weeks.

    Moving Weeks would be in the Brewers best interest.  He could pick up the position quickly and continue to dominate with his bat. 

    If Weeks does move to left, and has another strong season, that Brewers lineup sure would look scary. 

No. 1: Ryan Braun, Left Field, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Ryan Braun is among the best players in baseball today.  So how could he be on this list?  His hitting may be top notch, but his fielding continues to suffer.  He is about to be moved out of his yet another position.

    Possible Destination: First Base

    It seems weird that even though he is a five-tool player, Braun has continues to struggle in left.  He has great range, which allows him to cut down balls in the gap, a strong throwing arm and ranks near the top of the league in assists every season. 

    However, he always seems to be at the top of the league in errors as well.  The Milwaukee Brewers thought they were doing a service to Braun by moving him to left.  However, it seems to have backfired on them and bad. Now they find themselves faced with a dilemma, where to move him next.

    With the impending departure of Prince Fielder, they might try to fit Braun at first.  They've already tried him at two positions, why not one more?  Maybe the third time will be the charm.