Through just 46 games in 2011, Derek Jeter is off to arguably his worst offensive start in his career, batting just .255 with a .310 on-base percentage and a .632 OPS.
The Yankees captain, who is just 24 hits shy of 3000 (all with the Yankees) signed a new three-year, $51 million deal that will keep him in pinstripes for at least the foreseeable future.
The deal also includes an $8 million player option for a fourth year.
In his age 36-39 seasons, it will be nearly impossible for Jeter to live up to his salary of an all-star caliber player.
No matter his performance, however, it'd be difficult to see the Yankees ever pulling him out of the lineup altogether (e.g. Jorge Posada).
With that in mind, let's take a look at some predictions for Derek Jeter's next (and maybe final) two seasons.
Data Courtesy Of:
Jeter owns a .313 batting average for his career. He has hit .300 or higher in 12 of his 15 completed seasons of play.
When he finished 2010 with a .270 average, it was the first time Jeter had failed to hit .300 since 2004 (.292).
Jeter has had a high average throughout his career because he has always been a line drive/hard ground ball hitter.
He owns career marks for balls in play of 19.9 percent for liners and 57.4 percent for grounders.
Those numbers say 11.2 percent and 68.6 percent respectively this season, suggesting that there might be something wrong with Jeter's approach.
If he can figure out exactly what that is, hitting .300 one more time is a pretty realistic goal.
Derek Jeter has recorded over 200 hits in a season seven times. The last was in 2009, when he hit .334 with 212 hits.
His highest total was his 219 hits and .349 average in 1999.
Reaching 200 hits requires durability and a high spot in the batting order.
One factor is controllable, the other is not. The fact that Jeter has reached 600-plus at bats in 11 of his 15 seasons (and 580-plus in 14 of 15) suggests that neither will become a problem.
Correcting his current .282 batting average on balls in play, compared with his .354 career mark, might be.
If he can manage to either hit .300 or amass 200 hits, say next season, the questions surrounding Derek Jeter will go from "What's wrong with him?" to "How long can he keep going?"
With 2,976 base knocks, Jeter is currently 29th all-time in hits.
If he can get his hit parade going again for a few more years, Jeter could stand to crack the Top 5 all-time and pass Tris Speaker (3,514).
I'm sure this was already on his list of personal goals.
Whether he has deserved them or not, Derek Jeter has won five Gold Gloves at shortstop for his career, including the American League's most recent two.
Yankee fans like to point out Jeter's sky-high fielding percentage. He only committed six errors in 2010 and eight in 2009.
However, this is largely a by-product of beneficial home score keeping, due to Jeter's lack of anything resembling even average range for his position.
Even still, if he keeps posting high-fielding percentages, then Jeter may continue to win what may be the biggest popularity contest in sports.
What would a Gold Glove and 200 hits in the same season bring for Derek Jeter at this point in his career?
Maybe his first MVP. At his age, he'd likely be the oldest first-time winner of the award, but that isn't very likely to happen.
Instead, Jeter can hope to once again place in the Top 10 for voting, which he has done seven times in his career (once at second, twice at third, once at sixth, three times at 10th).
The closest he has ever come to winning one was in 2006, when he fell by just a few votes to Minnesota's Justin Morneau.
A postseason MVP might be far more realistic for Jeter than one in the regular season.
If he can manage to get the Yankees back to the World Series, and play well, Jeter could become the first two-time World Series MVP since Reggie Jackson and just the fourth in history (Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson).
Jeter is one of the greatest performers in the history of postseason play, posting a .309 average and .850 OPS with 20 homers and 17 steals.
A second World Series MVP might cement his status as the greatest playoff performer in baseball history.
Derek Jeter is a winner and a leader because he is a team guy first.
That being said, I expect that he will offer to switch positions and move to DH or the outfield at some point during his current contract.
The most important thing to Derek Jeter is probably winning as many rings as he can at this point.
If the Yankees fail to win a title this year, Jeter might make an offseason proposal that he be used in another capacity.
I doubt that any change is actually made, however.
There is also the possibility that Jeter never breaks out of the current funk he is in.
The AL East is more loaded than ever this year, with four legitimate teams who probably all deserve to make the playoffs.
With the difference in talent so marginal among those teams, any two (or one if they beat each other up bad enough) of the four could emerge from the division.
If Derek Jeter continues to struggle and the Yankees miss the playoffs for the next two years, I don't know if he'd come back for that final season.
Derek Jeter has always seemed like a Yankee lifer—and not just until he retires.
I suspect that we will see Derek Jeter with the Yankees, in some capacity, for nearly the rest of his life.
He has always bled blue and white pinstripes, and I don't suspect that anything about that will change, even after he hangs his cleats up for the final time.
Jeter is one of the highest paid players in baseball history, and I suspect that he will use some of his money to re-invest in an ownership stake of the team after he's done playing.
I could also see the Yankees grooming him as an advisor or even a general manager down the line.