Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why the Yankees don’t need a captain

Once New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter retired, there was a general sense of who might take on the role of captain and it's been discussed on the beat? Is it a player on the roster already? Or is it someone who will come up through the system? One thing is for sure, there is no need to jump from Jeter immediately to another named captain.

This isn’t to say the job Jeter did was not helpful. Rather, he would be the first to say the role was somewhat of a figurehead thing; in that there were others on the team who stepped up as active leaders on and off the field during his time as captain.

There are enough veterans on this team that they should be able to keep a steady clubhouse. From CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran there is a host of players with plenty of experience on the roster.

Notice, I strayed from Alex Rodriguez. I know some young players will still flock to him, but he’s not exactly the guy I’d emulate and certainly will not be in the conversation between Yankees’ brass when/if the time comes to name a new captain.

For 2015, I would expect McCann and maybe Gardner to assume the perceived role of clubhouse leader. But, I suspect Sabathia will have the ear of the pitching staff, along with David Robertson if he returns, and some guys of Latin American descent will gravitate toward Beltran.

This is a good thing. I do not think a team needs to hand out the title. There are many teams that don’t bother and even when Jeter was captain, there were others who were vocal enough on the field and in the clubhouse to be considered leaders as well.

Of the guys mentioned, they each have a different personality which melds well with the others. Gardner and McCann are emotional. Sabathia and Teixeira portray a calming influence. Beltran is the elder statesman who’s experienced success at each of his stops.

Since the Yankees are going to try to infuse some youth into the roster next season, it will be imperative that the rookies have teammates to look up and who want to lead. I don’t think that will be a problem with this club. In fact, I think the distribution of leadership will be welcomed instead of everyone deferring to one man.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In.