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Derek Jeter And St. Louis Cardinals Connected In Free Agency For Wrong Reasons

If I may indulge, for a Hot Stove moment, in needlessly obscure writerese: Derek Jeter would be a wrong fit for the St. Louis Cardinals for the exact reasons Phil Rogers thinks he would be a right fit for the St. Louis Cardinals. Don't get me wrong: The Cardinals need an infielder who can hit, and Derek Jeter, for all his struggles last season, can still hit, even if he's only barely still an infielder.

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But Phil Rogers thinks the Cardinals should sign Derek Jeter because he's good enough to mention in the same pennant-chasing sentence with Albert Pujols, a building-block, a winner, etc. And that overrating—the kind that comes, justifiably, with playing for the same, incredibly successful team one's whole career—is what will keep the Cardinals from being able to afford him.

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If this guy's name were anything else—if he had been a journeyman, or even just played someplace else—the Cardinals would probably be negotiating a deal right now. But I'm not sure if the actual Derek Jeter, the one who's being endorsed for name value as much as anything else, would agree to being moved to second base in favor of Brendan Ryan and being replaced for his defense in the late innings. All that Yankee baggage, among other things, is what will finally keep Jeter an overpaid Yankee legend, instead of a solid, market-priced everyday player someplace else.