The saddest news yesterday was the story that prized Cuban SS prospect Adeinis Hechavarria decided to go to Toronto over the Yanks because of concerns about PT due to Jeter's looming contract extension. Clearly this means that the Yankees should cut ties with Jeter now since he is a black cloud hanging over the future of the organization, but does it also mean that Adeinis Hechavarria is a moron?
I mean, think about it. However long Jeter signs for, logic would dictate he isn't going to spend all that time at shortstop. Shit, it's still a miracle the guy is playing the position as well as he is at this age. I was as happy as anybody to see him rebound defensively last season and finally earn a Gold Glove, but I certainly don't expect him to repeat or improve upon this numbers this year and in the next few. The Yankees know this and Jeter knows this, so it's sure to be discussed this offseason when his contract negotiations start and a plan will begin to be put in place for Jeter to transition to another spot in the field as his ability to play shortstop well finally dwindles.
And as good as this kid may be, I find it hard to believe Hechavarria is going to come in and play out of this world right off the bat at shortstop. As good as Cuban baseball is, it still isn't the Major Leagues; the kid is going to have to get used to the Major League game and to Major League pitching. Shortstop isn't exactly a position where you just slide in seemlessly and light the world on fire, and not for nothing, but I don't hear anybody comparing Hechavarria to Hanley Ramirez or even Jeter himself. Those 2 are arguably the top 2 shortstops in the game and even they had to pay their dues and spend time working their way up through the Minors before they were ready to be full-time Major League shortstops. So you have to expect there will be a learning curve associated with Hechavarria becoming a quality Major League shortstop, even if it is an accelerated one.
Now he could have signed with the Yankees for $8.5 million, by far the most they've ever shelled out for what equates to a rookie player, spent some time in the Minors learning the ins and outs of the game, taken over at age 24 when Jeter gracefully moved to the outfield, and become the NEW JETER!!! He would have been the most talked about player on the most widely recognized, successful team in the history of American sports in the biggest media market in the world. After his rookie year he would have made up the extra $1.5 million that the Blue Jays offered him in endorsements! And then some!! It's a story so good that Disney would be jumping all over it after he hit his first game-winning home run.
Now I fucking suck at baseball, but if you told me that was my future in 3 years I would walk into my office tomorrow, squat on my boss' desk, and drop a hot one right in his coffee cup. But little Hech was too worried about playing right away and so he took more money and the earlier guaranteed starting spot. I applaud the kid's confidence, I really do. But to give up a shot at playing for the greatest team in the history of baseball at a position that has been manned by one of the 3 greatest members of that team in its history just doesn't make sense to me.
Maybe he likes the Toronto night life, I don't know. Maybe he's seen the problems that past Cuban defector Jose Contreras had in the Big Apple and doesn't think he can handle the pressure. But whatever the case may be, I hope Hechavarria does well in the Majors and then comes to his senses by the time his first Blue Jay contract is up. Because by then the Yankees will definitely need a shortstop.