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Lupica: Yankees should open purse strings for Jeter

Oct 10, 2010, 8:38 AM EDT

If you listen closely enough, you'll hear all sorts of reasons as to why the Yankees should not pay impending free agent Derek Jeter an exorbitant amount of money this offseason. First and foremost, they don't have to. No other club is going to hand a major...

If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear all sorts of reasons as to why the Yankees should not pay impending free agent Derek Jeter an exorbitant amount of money this offseason. 

First and foremost, they don’t have to.  No other club is going to hand a major contract to a 36-year-old shortstop with diminishing skills offensively and defensively.  Jeter, a stellar .314/.385/.452 hitter throughout his career, batted just .270/.340/.370 in 663 at-bats this season.  He had an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -4.8.  Oh, and he’ll be 37 in June.

But none of that matters to the New York Daily News’ Mike Lupica.  He thinks Jeter should be awarded whatever he wants — up to $20 million per year over four years.  Why?  Because he is “the kind of Yankee” that “everybody still wants the Yankees to be.”

Jeter is going for his sixth World Series ring with the Yankees. He has
become the iconic Yankee of his time in New York, is regarded as one of
the great winners of his time, in any sport. More than that, Jeter is
the Yankee brand they sell with both hands - class, history,
excellence - and has been since the winning came back to the old
Stadium.

Those are all great things, sure, but why not approach the situation with a little business sense?  A former general manager told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York last week that Jeter is worth no more than $12 million over the next two seasons — as in, $6 million per year.  That’s probably a bit of an overreaction, but it’s not really that far off.

  1. Chris W - Oct 10, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    The Yankees’s 2010 payroll was 206mm according to http://host.madison.com/article_c3d96dfa-4182-11df-baa7-001cc4c03286.html. The team with the 15th highest payroll (Braves) had a payroll of 84mm. That means the Yankees pay their players ~2.5x what the median payroll team pays their players. That means relative to payroll, to pay a player worth 6mm 15mm isn’t absurd. Of course that’s still not 20mm, but I also understand the Yankees spend precipitously more than other teams on scouting and development, so their actual payroll directly related to their baseball talent is probably even higher proportioned relative to the league than 2.5x. Anyway, I guess I’m just pointing out that paying Jeter wouldn’t be completely insane for the Yankees considering how their spending works.

  2. Paper Lions - Oct 10, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    I’m not sure how interested Yankee fans will be in seeing Jeter hit .250 with no power and play horrible defense. While they may refrain from booing for a while, they won’t be that patient. Add a $20M/year price tag, and it won’t end well.

  3. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 10, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    $20M for four years is fine. Oh wait, $20M PER YEAR for four years, hahahahahhahahaa

  4. Brien@IIATMS - Oct 10, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    This isn’t that hard to figure out; Lupica wants the Yankees to pay something outrageous so he can keep working digs about the payroll into his columns about the Yankees.

  5. Tall Paul - Oct 10, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    I’m a Derek Jeter fan (although not a Yankee fan) and you’re right! hahahaha

  6. Pisano - Oct 10, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Ditto , I love the guy , but he is on the way down . Yankee fans love him , but they want results . I’d say a two year contract with a middle of the road money value . He will probably hit between .250 – .275, and he has lost some range . If they offer him 2 yrs. @ 20 to 25 mil. he better jump on it. One other thing , he struck well over 100 plus times this year , not a sign of a player on his way up .

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 10, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    But why, Lupica is a Mets fan, and those jokes/columns practically write* themselves.
    *unless they get Alderson, then I’m worried they might turn around the franchise.

  8. Old Gator - Oct 10, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    The classy thing for Jeter to do would be to go out on top. Retire, marry the next available Miss Universe, settle down and dwindle into the graying eminence and “ambassador” for the game everyone expects he will become anyway while revising his Cooperstown speech. I wouldn’t want to watch him decline into mediocrity over the next few years. I saw that happen to Willie Mays and who knows how many others. It ain’t pretty.

  9. JBerardi - Oct 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    The entertaining thing for Jeter to do would be to hang on for dear life, Pete Rose style. Then the rest of us get to enjoy rationalization theater (leadership! LEADERSHIP!) from Lupica and the rest…

  10. mustbechris - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    “Because he is “the kind of Yankee” that “everybody still wants the Yankees to be.””
    overpaid, underperforming, well past his prime…that kind of yankee?

  11. jkorn1818 - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    he was banged up all season, give the guy a break. he will be just fine. Look at his numbers in 09, and a ring. skills dont diminish that quickly. mustbechris, who is your teams SS? let’s see how he bats in the playoffs. Jeter will be just fine. Drew, what exactly do you do for a living aside from blogging on a few sites?

  12. Ultimate Yankee Fan - Oct 11, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Couldn’t agree more with Pisano. Two (2) years $25M total is more then fair. After that if the Yankees want work on 1 year deals or offer him some sort of personal services contract which I’m sure they will do anyway to keep him in the organization. If the Yankees make him that kind of offer he’d be foolish not to take it. First where else is he going to go and second I think it might tarnish that image of his and make him look a bit on the greedy side if he were to turn down that type of offer. Yankee fans love him, but they love the Yankees more and they want the Yankees to win & succeed more then any one player.

  13. TheBuzzOnNY.com - Oct 11, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    The funny thing, based on his fielding percentage, he may win the Gold Glove again this season. And he will get 4 years $80-100 million from the Yankees. Obviously, his numbers are starting to decline, but he will have a better year in 2011 then he did in 2010.

  14. Trevor B - Oct 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    If the Yankees really wanted to give something good to Jeter without looking like fools giving him $20 million a year they could/should include Yankee ownership options in the contract for Jeter. We all know Jeter is interested in ownership and this would keep his pretty face under the Yankee label for years to come after his playing is gone.

  15. YANKEES1996 - Oct 11, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Even more than Mike Lupica, Derek Jeter knows what his market is and what the Yankees will offer to keep him in pinstripes. I tend to agree that a two year deal in the area of $10 to maybe $14 million should do it. I do not want to see Jeter hang’em up right yet but the day is unavoidably approaching. He is most assuredly the most popular Yankee player of the last several generations and will never be forgotten, but lets not sacrafice the future just to keep the Cap’n around when he can no longer play. I am betting however that this year may not be a good yardstick to measure by on whetheer or not he can still do the job, a couple of years ago everyone was torturing him over his defense and he changed his off season workout routine and came back even better than before. Jeter can still play and he is not the worst SS in the American League or even in baseball for that matter. I don’t want to see his departure from the Yankees resemble the departure of Bernie Williams I can certainly tell you that. I really do not think we have to worry about that happening to tell you the truth. Jeter has always been classy and conducted himself in a respectful manner, I am pretty sure when it is time he will bow out gracefully and fade into “Yankee History”.

  16. V... - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    I may be wrong… but knowing the kind of guy Jeter is (or at least appears to be)… I would NOT at all be surprised, if he didn’t want a raise, but just to continue at his current pay-scale…
    I think he would rather they spend that extra money on another big name starting pitcher next season… Jeter has plenty of money, and not that many years left… All he has ever really cared about was winning… not the status of being the highest paid player…

  17. DiamondDuq - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    “Those are all great things, sure, but why not approach the situation with a little business sense?”
    Craig, the Yankees and “a little business sense” don’t belong in the same sentence (as long as we’re talking about baseball operations)! They paid Carl Pavano $40 million over 4 years for essentially nothing. Money is not an object for the Yankees and $80 million over 4 years is more than reasonable for a team with their history of spending for a player who sells more merchandise than any other in all of baseball, is the iconic player of his generation in all of baseball and an all-time great not just in all of baseball but for the Yankees, which is probably a bigger deal, especially to the Yankees. He’ll get his money, there’s no legitimate reason for him not to, not even all these apples-to-oranges excuses why he’s not worth it, the Yankees play by their own rules not the same rules as everyone else and 27 world championships (at least for the next month) say their rules work fairly well for them. You don’t disrespect icons or unnecessarily diminish their stature, at least classy organizations don’t do that to their own.

  18. V... - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    He’s not done yet… He’s not even in a heavy decline yet… He’s going to play until he’s 40 is my guess…
    And he’s banging Minka Kelly who was just voted Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive, 2010… so miss universe can find another multi-millionaire to try to get half his crap from…

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