Yankees Claim Jeter Off Waivers… Yes, Really

He was always bound to be a Yankee someday. With a name like that, how couldn't he be? It's finally happened: Jeter Downs — yes, named after New York Yankees Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, will now get to don the pinstripes that his childhood hero wore. The Yankees have claimed Jeter Downs off waivers. 

Downs was a former top prospect for, ironically, the Yankees' arch-rival Boston Red Sox, after they acquired him in the infamous Mookie Betts deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

But Downs never lived up to the hype of being a first-rounder (2017, by the Cincinnati Reds), and after a number of transactions, and just 44 major league at-bats, he's now wound up with the team of his namesake. 

He's batted just .182 in those minimal major league appearances, and just .238 with a .755 OPS in over 500 minor league games over six years. 

Ironically, though, and quite fittingly, his first and only big league homer came... where else, but in Yankee Stadium, back in July of 2022, against the Yanks in the 10th inning of a game while he was with the Red Sox. 

A middle infielder (naturally), Downs can play shortstop, second and third base. He says his mother named him Jeter, even though his father was a Red Sox fan. “I’ve idolized (Derek Jeter) my whole life,” Downs said. 

Now, if he can perform well enough, he'll have a chance to prowl the same infield that his hero did for so many years. 

Photo: Jamie Germano/Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK