Potential Suitors For Derek Jeter

Let’s indulge ourselves for a minute and play a game. Imagine, if you can, that Derek Jeter is not going to re-sign with the Yankees this winter. As hard as that is to do, let’s try to figure out which teams would have interest in Mr. November if the Yankees let him walk.

I’ll spare you the details on Jeter, since we’re all familiar with his track record, but here are the essentials. He is hitting .280/.343/.394 this year with 12 steals in 16 attempts. The four-time Gold Glover restored his defensive reputation last year, when he posted an above-average UZR/150, but UZR doesn’t like Jeter’s defense so far in 2010.

Jeter, perhaps the most marketable player in baseball, figures to reach 3,000 hits at some point in 2011. He’s also as durable as it gets; he averaged 152 games from 1996-2009 and is on pace to play just as many times this season.

There's absolutely no reason to expect Jeter to leave the Yankees, but here’s a look at the teams that would have interest in Jeter if the Yankees do not re-sign him. For the purposes of this piece, we’ll assume that Jeter wants to play shortstop, not left field or third base. 

The Rays (Jason Bartlett, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez), Red Sox (Marco Scutaro), Blue Jays (Yunel Escobar), Indians (Asdrubal Cabrera), White Sox (Alexei Ramirez), Angels (Erick Aybar), Rangers (Elvis Andrus), Phillies (Jimmy Rollins), Mets (Jose Reyes), Marlins (Hanley Ramirez), Brewers (Alcides Escobar), Cubs (Starlin Castro), Dodgers (Rafael Furcal), Diamondbacks (Stephen Drew) and Rockies (Troy Tulowitzki) all have shortstops under team control for 2011.

Christian Colon, the Royals’ first-round selection in this year’s draft (fourth-overall) may move from short to second eventually, but the Royals still don’t seem like a fit for Jeter. Neither do the Pirates and Astros, who aren’t in win-now mode.

Again, it's virtually impossible to imagine Jeter signing anywhere but the Bronx, so this piece is mostly for fun. But if he wanted to test the free agent market, Jeter would be able to choose from a number of legitimate suitors.

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