Let me start by saying that I really like this Web site and it offers a LOT of great information. However, it often turns into a Yankee-bashing forum, especially one Derek Jeter. Lately, it seems like almost a majority of threads on this site morph into at least one Derek Jeter bashing. So, while he's certainly not a perfect player, he's a damned good one, and I am here to try to make a fair assessment of his career.
Let's start with defense:
* I agree that he's not a great defensive shortstop, especially going to his left. He does, however, have good range to his right, has an excellent arm, and is great catching shallow outfield popups. He is generally reliable when he gets to the ball. Overall, I'd call him a bit below average, but not nearly as bad as depicted here.
* He doesn't deserve any Gold Gloves. That I agree with.
* Oddly, the most famous plays of his career are DEFENSIVE plays: the flip to get Jeremy Giambi, the amazing relay throw to get Timo Perez at the plate in Game 1 of the 2000 WS, the catch running full speed and diving into the stands, to name a few.
* I advocated him moving to CF or 3B to accommodate A-Rod, who is the better SS. If it was he who insisted on playing SS instead of Torre or A-Rod requesting to move, then his leadership skills take a hit. However, there is no evidence of that, at least none that I have seen or heard. I think he would have been a terrific CF with his speed, arm, and apparent acumen to track fly balls.
His offense numbers are very good (from baseball-reference.com):
* In 10 full years,
* 314/386/461, 7 .300 years, 9 .370 OBP years, 7 .450 SLG years
* 9 years of 100 runs
* 3 years of 20 HR, 6 of 20 SB
* 1936 hits, including 4 200 hit years
* 1999 (easily his best year): 349/438/552, 134 runs, 219 hits, 24 hr, 102 rbi, 19 sb, 91 bb
* Postseason (through 2004): 110 games: 306/380/456, 77 runs, 14 hr, 42 rbi, 15/18 sb
2005: 21 ab, 333/348/619, 2 hr, 5 rbi, sb
The fact that his postseason numbers mirror his regular season numbers says a lot because of the stiffer competition and highly pressurized atmosphere that is the playoffs. Ask Barry Bonds (245/433/503 vs. 300/442/611, no WS titles).
His similar batters include 5 HOF players (Arky Vaughan, Travis Jackson, Tony Lazzeri, Lou Boudreau, and Jackie Robinson). Interestingly, Ray Durham is his most similar batter, a guy I've always thought is UNDERRATED.
* Alex Rodriguez: Jeter is not A-Rod. No one ever has been, so it's not fair to A-Rod to even make the comparison.
* Miguel Tejada: He doesn't put up Tejada power numbers, but he's a different offensive player than Tejada. Is Tejada's career 280/338/477 really better than Jeter? On the other hand, Tejada is the better defender. Let's call it even, at worst.
* Nomar Garciaparra: His numbers are outstanding, even after the last couple of years: 320/367/544. Honestly, those are brilliant. I don't care if part of it was Fenway. His defense always appeared to be shaky to me, especially his erratic arm. His Range Factor was above average, but his reliability was very shaky. Another factor is his durability, which is definitely a factor. At his best, I would say Nomar was the better overall player, but I wouldn't say he's had a better career.
In closing, I would agree that he is probably not worth the $18 million that they pay him, but that is besides the point. He is an average defender at best, but he is an excellent offensive player and excellent postseason performer. He seems to have an instinct (why the hell was he over there on the Giambi flip?!?) that is unmeasurable. He is a terrific baserunner and leader. The overall package is of Hall Of Fame quality.
You can certainly make the argument that he is the 2nd best SS of this generation, and that ain't too shabby.
Take care and have a nice day! :-)