Astros’ shortstop Carlos Correa is one of the biggest names on the 2022 free agent market. The two-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year is fresh off the first Gold Glove of his career. With several rumors linking Correa to the New York Yankees, it was only a matter of time before comparisons to another Gold Glove-winning shortstop, Derek Jeter, started popping up. Correa may appreciate those comparisons on the offensive end, but he certainly doesn’t care for the comparison on the defensive end.
Correa doesn’t believe Derek Jeter deserved any of his Gold Gloves. Jeter won five of them throughout his career (2004-06, 2009, 2010), but Correa believes none were warranted, and as great as Jeter was — well-deserving of being one vote shy from a unanimous Hall of Famer — I have to side with Correa on this one.
For one, Derek Jeter won all five of his Gold Gloves between the ages of 30 and 36. That’s pretty cool, but advanced metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games give Jeter a rating of -5.9, which ranks him 21st out of 24 qualified shortstops during the same years he won his Gold Gloves. He had a 7.7 defensive WAR in that span, good for 18th. He racked up -92 Defensive Runs Saved in that span, dead last. Oh, and he also recorded 210 Out of Zone plays during that span, which despite Jeter missing only 47 games over those seven years, still ranks him 16th out of 24. He did not have the range, hands, or anticipation of some of the game’s elite defenders, but he made some cool plays and had big moments on big stages, so I guess he’s above criticism, right?
I’m not taking away from all the great things Jeter did. He’s one of the best to ever play the game, but he was not great at the 6. Alex Rodriguez was a better shortstop. The man won two Gold Gloves at the position with the Rangers, but unlike Jeter, Rodriguez won his while playing great defense. He posted 8 Defensive Runs Saved his final year in Texas en route to his second Gold Glove. That metric is more than double the highest mark of Jeter’s career (3, 2009).
Even Brian Cashman didn’t want Jeter to play shortstop for the final few years of his career. He wanted to move The Captain to the outfield, and if it hadn’t been for a huge change in Jeter’s training regimen, we probably would’ve seen a different man wear pinstripes to the left of second base for the final few years of Jeter’s career.
The only problem I have with Correa’s comments is that it’s a little bit ironic that Correa calls Jeter undeserving of his Gold Gloves when Correa participated in a cheating scandal to help them win a World Series. Was the championship unearned? Ehhhhhhh, maybe. They were really good either way, but I can see the argument for why some people might consider his World Series ring “unearned.”
Do Correa’s comments mean that it is now a Yankees fan’s sworn civil duty to keep Correa away from the Bronx? No. If you wanted him to be a Yankee after the sign-stealing scandal was revealed, then there’s no reason these comments should dissuade you from wanting Correa, and even that is a poor reason to not want him in pinstripes given that the Yankees are dealing with their own sign-stealing scandal, which has yet to be proven, but looks more and more legitimate with every shred of news that gets released on the subject.
Correa said something semi-poor about one of your favorite childhood players. Boo hoo! I’ll play a sad song for you on the world’s smallest violin, or press ‘F’ for you on the world’s smallest keyboard — depending on what generation you’re part of. It’s time to face facts, Jeter wasn’t the greatest shortstop to ever grace a diamond. He wasn’t even close. Correa’s comments are not an indictment of Jeter’s character. They are facts, and Correa would almost surely be a better defensive player than Jeter was should Correa signs with the Yankees.