July 5, 2011

When should Joe Girardi bite the bullet and move Derek Jeter down in the order?

Yes, I have more Derek Jeter commentary from Tyler Kepner’s column I alluded to earlier this morning.

As usual, Kepner penned an excellent piece. He didn’t dance around the tough Jeter lineup question, and he also acknowledged Joe Girardi’s points about keeping him as a leadoff hitter.

“I think people sometimes manage short term,” Girardi said. “When [Brett Gardner] was in the leadoff spot and wasn’t hitting, everyone wanted me to move him out of the leadoff spot.”

As Kepner later mentioned, Jeter isn’t just going through a cold spell; he hasn’t hit like the 3,000-hit Jeter since 2009.

Fans would never exonerate Girardi if he moved Jeter down in the lineup, or even benched him, before he gets the last six hits he needs to reach the major hitting milestone.

The Yankees play two more with the Indians this week before returning home for a four-game series with the Rays to conclude the first half. That means Jeter needs to average a hit per game to reach 3,000 on the nose before the All-Star break. Girardi will hope Jeter hits the milestone quickly if he starts plaguing his suddenly hot team.

After watching the Yankees win 14 of 18 games in Jeter’s absence, I think Girardi is just waiting for a few days after Jeter reaches the milestone before moving him down in the order.

What about you, when do you think Girardi should move Jeter down in the lineup?

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