He's not always been the worst like he was in 2007, so soon the Yankees may have to find him a new position or suffer because of it.
But as important as defense is for shortstops, Jeter is perennially one of the top all-around shortstops. Why? Offensive production.
He steals you some bags, he's a captain (for the tiny intangible aspect), and he's got a 122 OPS+. That's the number to examine.
That's better than HOFers Tony Lazzeri, Joe Cronin and Lou Boudreau (the latter two shortstops), plus should-be HOFer Barry Larkin. It's better than Dale Murphy and Dave Parker, Harold Baines, Chili Davis, Gil Hodges, Paul O'Neill, Andre Dawson, Darrell Evans, Cliff Floyd, Don Baylor, Cecil Fielder, Pat Burrell, Andres Galarraga, Bob Meusel, Carlos Beltran and Pete Rose, to name a few.
All but Rose were considered power hitters, some top-10 players (and MVPs) during their best years. Granted, none of the non-HOFers played short, but how many of those guys are remembered as much for their defense as their way with the stick? Dawson. That's it.
All I'm saying is, rip Jeter for his fielding, but don't pretend like he's getting paid (or played) on the basis of it. He could turn into Ozzie Smith with the glove, but if he hit like Ozzie, people would do backflips. And not in the jovial, Ozzie-loves-baseball sort of way.