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What can we expect from Derek Jeter at age 37 and older?

Nov 29, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers, Game 6 Getty Images

The fundamental difference between Team Jeter and Team Yankees people (note: I’m assuming these “teams” exist, because the media is obsessed with such things in today’s discourse) is perspective.  Team Jeter seems to be looking backwards, at all of the things Jeter has accomplished and all that he means to the New York Yankees.  Team Yankees looks forward and has trouble seeing how Jeter can possibly be worth $20 million a year at age 37 and later. Heck, even that $15 million seems steep.

Today Howard Megdal shows us why.  He looks at the top five 37-year-old and older shortstops of all time, and wonders if Jeter has a chance to be worth his contract going forward. The short answer: don’t count on it.  Of the top five, one is Honus Wagner who, as perhaps the greatest player of all time, should probably not form the basis of comparison. Three played, long long ago.  The fifth is Mike Bordick, whose offensive production was low to begin with, making his “improvement” after age 37 a relative proposition at best.

I can’t see Jeter joining that group. Even if he does, I can’t see him transcending them.  Hold the line Yankees. Stick with your $15 million offer. See what happens.*

*Yes, I realize they won’t do this, but a boy can dream.

  1. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Team Jeter seems to be looking backwards, at all of the things Jeter has accomplished and all that he means to the New York Yankees. Team Yankees looks forward and has trouble seeing how Jeter can possibly be worth $20 million a year at age 37 and later

    Don’t forget that many of us in the “looking forward” camp also acknowledge that Jeter was paid very handsomely for his prior service, to the tune of almost $200M and the 3rd richest contract in baseball history.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:08 PM

      Also, sweet Jesus, Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari has a $51MAAV contract? Damn these guys are playing the wrong sport.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_sports_contracts

      • ditto65 - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:18 PM

        Ferrari actually paid him $17,000,000 (I like to show the zeros) NOT to race in 2010. $17,000,000?

  2. yankeesfanlen - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    The continuing adventure………continues.
    The money IS on the table- Does Cash have a partner.
    Back to Bestbuy.com

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    What can we expect out of Derek Jeter at age 37 and older? Marco Scutaro numbers at best; Ramon Santiago numbers at worst.

  4. Lukehart80 - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    It doesn’t change the basic point (that’s there’s almost no way Jeter is worth whatever contract he winds up signing), but those comps seem to have been based strictly on hitting, otherwise I’d expect to see Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel on there, both of whom had a couple seasons of advanced age in which they could still bring an above average glove and decent base-running to the table.

    Using bWAR, Omar is 3rd for SS from age 37 on, Ozzie is 4th. Neither had (or is having, in the case of Vizquel) anywhere near enough productivity.

    Only Wagner and MAYBE Appling played well enough to merit the contract Jeter is going to get.

  5. Kevin S. - Nov 29, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    The only thing I would argue is that Jeter likely underperformed his true talent level last year, so that while that would likely continue to decline, if it’s a gentle decline, his nominal production should positively regress next season. I think the most optimistic projection of Jeter’s production going forward still makes the Yankees’ offer Jeter-friendly, but we knew there was going to be goodwill built into this contract. Hold the line is right.

  6. Jonny 5 - Nov 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Derek Jeter annoys me more than the cowbells in TB. More than Scott Boras during the off season. More than the little pull ring that likes to break off sealing my carton of OJ. More than being in a traffic jam for 45 minutes just to find out it’s a rubberneck delay caused by idiots looking in the opposite lane because there’s a fender bender.

    I really hope the Yankees don’t budge an inch.

  7. Ari Collins - Nov 29, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    To be fair, most projection systems have him bouncing back some next year, somewhere in the .290/.360/.400 range. Even with poor defense, that kind of production at short has gotta be worth $15 million.

    Of course, it’s the years after 2011 that we’d expect him to really start to decline.

    • daninkatonah - Nov 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM

      By way of raw comparison:
      2010 slashes for middle infielder Player X: .291/.358/.381.
      Player X = Mark Ellis (33 y.o.)
      Feel free to offer him $15M…

    • uyf1950 - Nov 29, 2010 at 4:57 PM

      To be fair don’t most projection systems factor in past history to come up with future production? I’d be just as interested to know what those same “production systems” predicted in 2009 for Jeter’s now past 2010 system. My guess is not one of them accurately predicted is lackluster 2010 season.
      I’m going to go out on the limb and say that their 2011 prediction is about as valuable a tool as their 2010 prediction was. Which is to say it’s of no value.

      • Ari Collins - Nov 29, 2010 at 6:00 PM

        Well, those projection systems did call for him to decline from his ’09 performance, although not as much as he did. More importantly, a projection system being off for one year of one player doesn’t mean it’s not pretty dead on, on average. That’s like saying that, since most PEOPLE didn’t project Jeter to hit so bad this year, that our guesses for how he’ll do next year have no value whatsoever. But if you want to figure out how much he’ll be worth next year, you gotta start somewhere, and projecting based on his age and past performance is a pretty good start.

  8. uyf1950 - Nov 29, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    For anyone interested there is an incredibly good piece on the Jeter/Yankees situation. For those interested here is the link:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/new-york-yankees-derek-jeter-needs-to-suck-it-up-and-sign-deal-112910

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