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Potential Jeter deal: three years, $45 million?

Oct 25, 2010, 11:35 AM EDT

Derek Jeter triple

That’s what Joel Sherman is floating in this column.  The overall thinking is fairly sound: the Yankees will overpay what he’s really worth to some degree because it would be embarrassing for everyone involved if some other team made a competitive offer, but they’re not going to do what a lot of us figured they might do a few months ago and try to make this into an A-Rod-Lite kind of contract. That thinking, of course, was based on the notion that Jeter’s 2010 would look a lot like his 2009: highly effective and age-defying. And that certainly didn’t happen.

I think the $45 million line is a safe one, by far. I can’t think of a single team not named the New York Yankees who would believe that Jeter brings anything close to that kind of value to the table, even if the deal specifies that Mystique and Aura get their own hotel suites on road trips.  This isn’t the “oh noes, the Yankees have to keep Jeter!” world we thought we’d be living in a few months ago. Now it’s simply a matter of him being more valuable to the Yankees than anyone else, and the need for everyone to resolve the situation with dignity intact.  That shouldn’t be too hard, and I’d be shocked if a deal wasn’t done by December 1st.

  1. Kevin S. - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    I actually don’t think that’s a terrible overpay. He was more or less a league-average shortstop this season, but you also can’t just ignore the fact that last season was MVP-caliber. You would probably have to still project his true talent level to be that of an above-average player, and while we’d expect that to decline going forward, he should still give a reasonable return on that. You worry about the possibility of him falling off a cliff, but the terms are short enough that the Yankees can absorb it (unlike A-Rod, who would tax even their resources).

    • Kevin S. - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:04 PM

      Math attack here, so look away if you don’t agree with it. Using a 5/3/2 weighted average (of the most commonly used weighting schemes, this one does Jeter the most disservice), Jeter’s true talent level is that of a 4.1 WAR player (for someone with Jeter’s playing time, average would be 2.5 WAR). Figure a half-win decline per year (standard) going forward means he projects to be worth 9.3 wins over the life of the proposed contract. On the FA market this year, teams wound up paying roughly $3.9 million/marginal fWAR. To make things simple, assume low inflation for the next three years, say the market pays $4 million/win on average through 2013. Given those assumptions, we’d expect Jeter to be worth $37 million over those three years. I think my estimations were reasonably conservative, so we’d say the Yankees are giving Jeter a couple million a year in goodwill. That’s fair.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:40 PM

        One more thing, supporting the idea that Jeter is probably better than 2010 showed. His BABIP this year was nearly fifty points off his career mark. You could say we’d expect that to go down as he aged… but his xBABIP was much closer to his career mark than what he actually posted. If we turned those outs into hits at the ratio of singles to doubles Jeter posted this year, Jeter gets an extra 14 singles and 4 doubles, making his triple slash line .297/.364/.403. That would have placed Jeter third in OBP and fourth in OPS among qualified shortstops this year, and people would be talking about a more gentle decline that still leaves him among the best hitting shortstops in baseball.

  2. BC - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    That isn’t outlandish. He’s the face of the franchise, and you’re getting him for what, about a $6 million per year pay cut? Three years is probably about right. Maybe eventually you make him into a Paul Molitor DH type, he could probably play longer than 3 more years. Still runs well and doesn’t get hurt often. You’d figure he’d hit better at a later age if he didn’t play the field.

  3. pisano - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    The Yankees are in a tough spot , the guy is in decline , but the fans love him . Everyone knows Yankee fans love you as long as you produce , but Jeter didn’t produce this year and it doesn’t look like this was an off year it looks like the end is near . I say out of gratitude offer him 2 yrs. @ 15 mil. take it or leave it . His range has diminished , he strikes out way too much , and his BA is plunging . Like I said the fans of the Yankees will let him hear it if he doesn’t produce .

  4. skyjo - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Dave Cameron and The Fans already came to this conclusion 6 weeks ago.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/contract-crowdsourcing-results-derek-jeter/

  5. Charles Gates - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    The money Jeter gets is irrelevant. His production will fall well short of the dollars he earns regardless. Marketing milestones, aura, and ‘True Yankee’ stuff makes sense in the Bronx (only).
    The real issue is the number of years in Jeter’s contract.
    A two year deal at $30MM per year is a better deal for the Yankees than a 4 year deal at $10MM per season. Cashman has to be scared about Jeter’s production in year 2, let alone 3 and potentially 4 if Jeter demands it. We all know the money will be silly. The magic is in how Cashman can structure the duration.

  6. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Will Jeter’s aura and mystique be sold separately? Can I buy majority ownership in his mystique? I may be in for a few aura stocks as well.

    • Jonny 5 - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

      Why, when you could just buy all his mojo? Jeter Mojo must be a glorious thing. He won’t need it now that he’s all tied down now….

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:36 PM

        Hmmm, not sure he’s selling it, but I haven’t checked Craigslist in awhile. I usually steal the mojo of others anyway, so I guess I just gotta wait until the Yanks come back to Chicago for that slice of delicious Jeter mojo.

  7. bigharold - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    I love it when NY sports columnist take time out of their busy schedule to negotiate those really tricky contracts for the local sports teams and their players. It not only saves time and gets these contentious issues out of the way. It gives them a head start when they decide it was a bad deal after all then they can quickly set about ripping the team for being stupid and the player for being greedy.

    Let’s understand something, the Yankee need Jeter more than he needs the Yankees. The Yankees are about image, tradition and pride. Not to mention wealth. How are they going to explain to their fans that they let Jeter walk over money, the one thing they have in abundance? The Yankees would essentially be shooting themselves in the foot on an unheard of profound scale if Jeter ends up wearing a Rays or O’s cap. I’m sure the Yankee brass have already begun planning the various marketing blitzes for his 3000th hit as well as every other milestone he has even a reasonable chance of attaining. Considering the way Jeter has comported himself during his career and what he now represents to the Yankees and ultimately their fans, who value tradition as much as anything, he most certainly has the hammer in the negotiation.

    That being said, frankly I don’t care what contract they give Jeter. I won’t see an increase or decrease in either ticket prices or concessions dependent upon whether Jeter is signed or not or at what cost. People will say that if you aren’t talking about Derek Jeter he’d get paid a fraction of what the Yankees will eventually give him and likely get nothing more than a one year deal. And, that assessment is spot on accurate. The thing is, we ARE talking about Derek Jeter!! We are talking about tradition, image, pinstripes and pride. We are talking about the face of the franchise of the New York Yankees. And, all that matters.

    Will the Yankees give him too much money and likely too many years, .. YES! Should they, .. Yes. Can they afford it, .. ABSOLUTELY! Case closed.

    • Jonny 5 - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:40 PM

      “That being said, frankly I don’t care what contract they give Jeter. I won’t see an increase or decrease in either ticket prices or concessions dependent upon whether Jeter is signed or not or at what cost. People will say that if you aren’t talking about Derek Jeter he’d get paid a fraction of what the Yankees will eventually give him and likely get nothing more than a one year deal. And, that assessment is spot on accurate. The thing is, we ARE talking about Derek Jeter!! We are talking about tradition, image, pinstripes and pride. We are talking about the face of the franchise of the New York Yankees. And, all that matters.”

      Since when did winning games become secondary? You said all that but fail to mention anything about performance. As if it’s a non factor……. Concession and ticket sales is the concern? To Be clear. The Yankees do not need Jeter for either. They don’t need a 300th hit. They don’t need mediocre performance out of high paid players. Ny is doing this to pacify stooopid fans who don’t know what they wish for when wishing for Jeter to remain in NY.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

        3000th hit. I left off a 0.

      • bigharold - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

        Who aid winning was secondary? The emphasis here is what’s it going to cost the Yankees in terms of dollars and years. If those are the concerns, I don’t see the problem. From a money stand point the Yankee can afford it so pay them man and let’s move on.

        If it’s production we’re talking about that is a larger concern but not one that seems to be the main issue here. But, if you look at production, until this year Jeter has been fairly consistent. At his age the Yankees need to pay attention to see if this year was the beginning of the decent to a 265 singles hitter or was it just a bad year. I’ve no doubt that Jeter will start to show the signs of age during the coming contract it’s merely a question of will it be manageable. Will they need to put him in the DH role, (assuming that would help), or move him to another position, ( I can’t see where any position is open that would be easier on him). I’m pretty confident though that both the Yankees and Jeter will eventually address these issues as well and it will find it’s way into the contract. Perhaps some type of opt out golden parachute that Jeter can call it quits and keep most of his contract as some sort of life time personal services arrangement. In the end though, I can’t foresee Jeter sinking to the .245 level and sticking around just for the pay day. I think he’ll go out like DiMaggio and call it quits.

        Regardless there will be people, especially sports writers, which will say he was paid too much. So what it’s not their money. It will very likely be true but that’s OK with me. They’ll say he stuck around too long, perhaps that will eventually be true as well. But, hat still remains to be seen. And, as we are talking about Derek Jeter I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt until it actually happens.

      • pisano - Oct 25, 2010 at 2:24 PM

        Good post , you make alot of sense . In reality they should be looking for his replacement now . I think 2 yrs. at 15 mil. is more than enough for a guy that’s fading . The only reason I would give him that money is to appease the fans . Let him test the waters , he’ll find not many takers , ask Johnny Damon he should have taken the Yankees offer .

  8. jfk69 - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    15 million a year is what he is worth only to the Yankees
    Saves face on both sides. Hell look at how Babe Ruth ended up. AND JETER IS NOT THE BABE

  9. klbader - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    It is nice for the Yankees that they can afford to lock up the face of the franchise by paying possibly above market rate for a player who is past his prime. Compare that with many small market teams who lose the face of their franchise because they can’t pay the market price during that player’s prime. That fact just seems like further proof that the advantage of the yankee’s financial strength isn’t in the talent they can afford but rather in the mistakes they can weather.

    • bigharold - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:55 PM

      News Flash: The Yankees have a lot of money.

      And, in other news water is wet and pizza is tasty.

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