Series preview: Derek Jeter’s last stand


Fresh off a finish for the ages in Derek Jeter‘s last home game in The House That Steinbrenner Built, the New York Yankees travel to Fenway Park in Boston for a three-game set with the Red Sox to finish up the 2014 campaign. Both teams are eliminated from the playoffs and are playing for nothing but pride at this point. Oh, and Jeter plans to grab a few at-bats as a DH this weekend.

For the final time in 2014, I checked in with Billy Brost of Yanks Go Yard for some perspectives on The Captain and the team moving forward:

BSI: There’s been a lot of talk about where Jeter resides in the hierarchy of all-time Yankee greats. Where does he rank, in your opinion?

YGY: Every generation has their great Yankee. Obviously it started with Ruth and Gehrig, moved to DiMaggio and Berra, through Mantle and Ford, through Munson, Reggie and Mattingly. Jeter is right there. I believe he’s top 10 all-time. Just based on that list alone. It’s tough, because how do you rate the greatness of a Yankee? Is it the ring count? Is it personal accolades? I mean, Mattingly was the gold standard at first base for half a decade, and is still considered one of the top defensive first basemen of all-time. Problem is, he has no rings. Jeter, on the other hand, has enough for an entire hand, but has never been considered a great defender, nor was he a power guy. He was just perfect for the time in which he played.

BSI: I heard on a recent Boston broadcast that Jeter has only played one game his entire career for which the Yankees were eliminated from postseason contention (the final game of the 2008 season). With the Yankees eliminated on Wednesday, this series means nothing but goodbye. How will 2014, admittedly marred by injuries, sit with Yankee fans?

YGY: I think Yankees fans have been upset for quite awhile. Wednesday’s elimination was anti-climatic. Everyone knew it was coming, but hoped against hope that it wouldn’t. Too many personnel mistakes by the front office, several questionable calls by Girardi throughout the season, and the lack of healthy, serviceable players with large contracts, all combined to sink the Yankees’ ship early on. The season will go down as one of disappointment. Three of the Core Four have been sent into retirement under the theme that was the antithesis of what (they) meant to New York, which is playoff and World Series baseball. Disappointing doesn’t begin to cover the magnitude of what the past two season’s failures mean to fans.

BSI: Does Brian Cashman, who made a series of low-risk transactions this year that couldn’t get the Yankees over the hump, have something to prove in the offseason? Will he be given the ability to pay top dollar, and do you think he needs to make a splash?

YGY: Many believe this whole mess is Cashman’s fault. I think he’s partially to blame, but I put more of the onus on the Steinbrenner sisters, who can’t decide whether they are going to spend to bring the best talent to the Bronx, or if they are going to try and save money. Brian Cashman has a Titanic to clean up this offseason. The only question is, will the shackles be off and the wallet open or will he have a “budget?” I think you’ll see another set of garbage heap signings (like Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson) and perhaps one or two big name free agents (Jon Lester, Nelson Cruz).

Your pitching matchups:

Friday  at 7:10 PM ET: Steven Wright (0-0, 3.38) vs. Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.67)

Saturday at 1:05 PM ET: Joe Kelly (5-4, 4.15) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 2.47)

Sunday at 1:35 PM ET: Clay Buchholz (8-10, 5.31) vs. Michael Pineda (4-5, 1.93)