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“They Aren’t Paying Jeter, They’re Paying Off Jeter.”

[ 12 ] December 5, 2010 |

That’s pretty much right. And yet, given that it’s not actually going to prevent the Yankees from signing anyone they really want, and that there aren’t exactly a lot of young championship-quality shortstops lying around, they might as well.

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  1. TT says:

    My mancrush on DJ knows no limits, but this is absolutely the MLB equivalent of one of those crappy Hollywood lifetime achievement awards. At least the BBWAA had the good sense not to fall prey to this kind of thinking when awarding the 2009 AL MVP.

  2. JRoth says:

    The absence of obviously more attractive options is what made this relatively easy for Cashman. Jeter could of course continue to decline, in which case this hurts, but if he merely replays 2010 3 more times, with WARs between (say) 2.5 and 3, he’ll be more valuable than 2/3 of the SSs in the league (overpaid per win, of course, but the Yanks can overpay). The biggest risk is that someone desirable (and young) comes available for 2012, and Cashman’s in a bind. I don’t think using Jeter as a UT is especially realistic.

  3. JRoth says:

    BTW, if I were to project, my gut tells me that Jeter’s not actually in a linear decline (although he surely could be; the fact that his numbers dropped more or less continuously for more than half of 2010 isn’t a great sign), and that he’ll be significantly more valuable next year: well over 3 WAR, maybe approaching 4 (his average over the past 4 years is 4.2 WAR). If the decline is then linear from there – say 3.5, 3, and 2.5 – then the Yanks pay $48M for 9 WAR, which is too much, but there are certainly worse contracts held by teams with less ability to carry them.

    IOW, I don’t think that it’s a good baseball contract, but I bet it’s a bit closer than how people are treating it. It’s almost certainly better than a good half of the FA contracts the Yanks have signed over the past 35 years.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I do think people aren’t paying enough attention to the facts that 1)Jeter was an excellent player just one year ago and 2)has been very durable. Admittedly, Trammell was outstanding in his age 35 year too, but by that time got hurt every year. Yount had his last good year at age 33; Biggio had his last outstanding year at age 31. Jeter still might age like those guys, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet a lot on it either. As with Rivera, it’s dangerous to assume that players who have already demonstrated unusual aging patterns will suddenly demonstrate typical aging patterns.

    • Bill Murray says:

      well as long as you don’t take in Jeter’s defense you get a decent WAR for Jeter last year.

  4. wengler says:

    That fourth year player option was the smartest part of this contract on the Yankees’ part. By making it half his current salary they basically are daring him to walk after 3 years so they don’t have to be put in this situation again.

  5. c u n d gulag says:

    I’m surprised. I was expecting another meeting of the “He Man’s Jeter-hating Club.”
    Yes, he’s going to be overpaid. But, who would you rather have at SS? As Yankee fan I’ll take Derek over Uribe.*

    I don’t know if he’s in a linear decline either, JRoth. I think he’ll bounce back to .300 or above in ’11. I’ve beem watching him his whole career, and this past season he looked absolutely horrible at the plate, swinging at crappy first pitches all of the time. Everyone saw that, and when he couldn’t fix it, they threw even crappier ones. I even joked that they ought to change Shepards classic, “Numbah 2. Derek Jeter. Numbah 2,” to “Numbah 4-6-3. Derek Jeter. Numbah 4-6-3.”
    I think, when he got off to a really bad start, he pressed. He had an awesome ’09, and then, in his contract year, he saw tens of millions going down the tubes. He’s not used to pressing, and he did it badly.
    As a Yankee fan, I’m glad he’s back, and that he’ll get his 3,000th hit in pinstripes. And that’ll be more hits than anyone ever playing SS. And no, he’s no Wagner, or Ozzie, the opposite sides of the spectrum – not even close. He’s just Jeter. And he’ll be a first ballot HOFer.

    *I’m one Ynakee fan who’s tired of all of the spending. I really don’t want Lee for what they’ll have to pay for him. Or Crawford either. I want to see younger players. Besides Jeter, of course.

  6. Bart says:

    The more sub-.270 hitters the MFYs field over the next three years, the better.

  7. Epicurus says:

    The Yankees didn’t (just) pay for his on-field performance, his mere presence on the roster is worth a lot. It’s all intangible “good will” but he would not have found that with any other organization.

    • Bill Murray says:

      so Jeter’s intangibles only work for the Yankers?

      • JRoth says:

        It’s not as weird as it sounds. If Jeter shows up in Pittsburgh, all the presence and professionalism in the world wouldn’t overcome the “WTF is he doing here?” vibe. He’s so indelibly a Yankee that I think that would be true at nearly every destination – certainly if he became a Red Sock, that mind-bending fact would overwhelm any possible intangible impact he himself could provide.

  8. CJColucci says:

    The Yankees knew from day one that they would be overpaying Jeter, judged strictly as a baseball player, for general business reasons, and their initial offer showed that. They came up from it far less than I thought they would. He’ll probably have another decent year at short. Then if A-Rod moves to DH/back-up 1B the following year, Jeter can move to third. When does Elvis Andrus become a free agent?

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