Derek Jeter is no longer a professional baseball player. There. We said it.
While it's a reality we've all got to get accustomed to, no one is feeling that vacancy more than Yankees fans -- who spent two decades admiring No. 2 at the No. 6 position.
But now, fans can rest assured knowing that there will be a human person wearing pinstripes and positioned between second and third on Opening Day. That human person is now former D-back Didi Gregorius.
The Yankees acquired Gregorius in a three-team deal that will send pitcher Shane Greene to the Tigers, who will send pitcher Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba to the D-backs.
Reds special assistant Kevin Towers was the GM of the D-backs when they acquired Gregorius back in 2012. Towers had spent time within the Yankees organization and was lucky enough to have been able to scout The Captain back when he was a high school kid in Michigan. When he sent right-hander Trevor Bauer to the Indians in exchange for Gregorius, he had this to say about the Dutch shortstop's makeup and potential:
A handful of months after Towers made those comments, Jeff Sullivan looked to verify the validity of the comparison and found that while Gregorius and Young Jeter are obviously two different players, they might be able to provide similar value to a franchise looking for a permanent fixture at baseball's most difficult fielding position.
Gregorius himself is a great admirer of The Captain. Maybe one day some young player will give him the same kind of artistic tribute that he gave Jeter earlier this year:
Image courtesy @DidiG18
But obviously taking over for Jeter is a lot to ask of a young player -- something of which Yankees GM Brian Cashman is well aware:
Two years after joining the D-backs and drawing the Jeter comparison, the Bronx Bombers are hoping that Gregorius can fill The Captain's special edition commemorative spikes. Literally.