Derek Jeter: Is He Nothing More than a Paper Captain?

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees leads off first base in the first inning against Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox on May 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Derek Jeter Defending Jorge Posada, But Did He Do the Right Thing?

Derek Jeter is the face of the New York Yankees.

He has brought multiple championships to the most historic and prolific franchise in all of sports and in the process, became the captain of the team.

That isn't a title that's easy to bear or live up to, yet Jeter has been a model citizen through it all.

Think about all that has happened since he came to the Yankees. We're talking about George Steinbrenner's erratic behavior, the acquisition of Alex Rodriguez and a falling out between the team and Joe Torre.

Throw in an ugly contract dispute and shots fired at his new home by management, and you've got a lot of stuff to deal with while trying to be a productive baseball player.

Jeter has struggled and so has the team of late. On Saturday, it blew up as Jorge Posada, one of the most tenured members of the team, reportedly refused to play after being dropped to ninth in the batting order against the Red Sox.

Posada apologized, but as far as the captain is concerned, no apology was necessary.

Per Buster Olney of

According to sources, Yankees management was surprised and frustrated by what Jeter said -- particularly in his standing as captain -- even after Posada acknowledged that he was wrong in his actions Saturday and apologized to manager Joe Girardi.

The catcher-turned-fulltime DH, who is struggling at the plate -- he's hitting .165 and remains hitless against left-handed pitching -- was dropped to the ninth spot in the batting order for Saturday's game and asked out of the lineup because he felt disrespected.

Jeter, who is close friends with Posada and described him on Sunday as someone he regards as a brother, repeatedly deflected questions about Posada's actions, and said there was no reason for Posada to apologize to teammates for declining to play. The team's front office was so angry with what Posada did that they considered releasing the veteran immediately.

Look, if you're the captain of the team, you cannot be adding fuel to the fire in a situation like this, especially when the Yankees were in the process of being swept by the hated Boston Red Sox.

Jeter knows better than most how aggressive the New York media can be, and defending Posada, even if they're great friends, is a mistake and a needless distraction at a time when the Yankees are going through a rough patch.

He may support his friend, and that's fine, but the last thing you want to do is give the media a story. Jeter should have just shut his mouth and toed the company line, something I think would have happened had there not been such bad blood between the captain and the front office this past offseason.

Jeter is not on the best terms with the Yankees at the moment and honestly, I don't blame him. Do I think his desires were a bit much? Yes, but it doesn't give the team the right to drag him through the mud to try and prove a point.

As it pertains to the elder statesmen on the team, particularly Jeter and Posada, there's a lot of discontent and it's not hard to see why. The Yankees haven't done a great job of managing either situation and it's starting to spiral out of control, both behind the scenes and in the media.

What Jeter did was wrong, and as a captain, he should know better than that, but when you cut to the heart of the issue, it stems from what the Yankees did to him at the negotiating table.


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