Derek Jeter is retiring after 20 years of MLB service with the New York Yankees. Jeter's legacy doesn't have to be stated, as he is one of the most polarizing characters in all of sports the last two decades, right up there with his employer, Michael Jordan. With just over 20 games left in his career, (unless the Yankee's make a miraculous playoff push) who will carry that Jordan brand torch in baseball after Jeter retires?
Along with Jeter, only three other players sponsored by Team Jordan, all of which are in the twilight of their careers. Those players include 34-year-old CC Sabathia, 33-year-old Carl Crawford, and 35-year-old Jimmy Rollins, all of which have been underperforming the last few years whether it be due to age or injury. With Jordan's baseball members on the way out, there is no young talent under their roster to take the Jumpman into the next decade of the sport and continue to build the Jumpman brand.
While there are other players in the league who wear Jordan cleats on occasion, (including Orioles infielder Manny Machado) none carry the marketing weight needed to become the next face of the brand.
The most obvious pick is Mike Trout. Currently signed to sister company Nike, the MVP already has his own signature cleat, so chances of him donning the Jumpman logo are slim to none.
Another appropriate choice is Andrew McCutchen, the 27-year-old 2013 NL MVP, 4x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger champ, and Gold Glove winner that has had equal success off of the field thanks to a partnership with New Era and a cover spot on MLB 13: The Show.
McCutchen can help grow the sport of baseball in urban areas by joining on with Jordan, as a recent report showed that just 8% of the MLB's players are African-American. McCutchen could usher in a new wave of players, as the next generation looks up to him as a role model who came from a similar background, and grown into one of the game's best players.
Jordan Brand has many options to look it when they consider their baseball campaign moving forward, but something about McCuthen that just seems right for the Jumpman. Maybe he's got the "it" factor everyone talks about, or maybe it's because he's such a down to earth person in all his interviews, (much like Jeter) that just makes the marriage seem like a match made in heaven.
Now the question is up for debate. With Jeter and the rest of the Jordan Brand baseball family on their way out, who do you think the Jumpman should sign to usher in the next generation of players? Is he currently playing, or is Jordan just sitting back and patiently waiting until the next superstar just falls into their lap.
Danny Mitchell is a freelance writer from New York and contributor to Sneaker Report with an unwavering passion for the Knicks, sneakers, golf, and vintage 90′s gear. Find him on Twitter @dmitch_23