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Derek Jeter wants to be an owner. That won’t be an easy trick.

Jun 3, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

jeter getty Getty Images

We’ve heard rumblings about this for years, but on Sunday Derek Jeter reiterated his desire to own and/or run a baseball team someday. Via the New York Post:

“That’s the next goal, buddy . . . Calling the shots, not answering to someone, that’s what interests me. I’d like to think I would be good one . . . I’d probably be a little bit more behind the scenes than the Boss,” he said. “But I learned a lot of things from the Boss.”

It would have to be hands off because any ownership interest Jeter could get in any team would likely be a pretty small minority interest. I mean, yes, by baseball player standards Jeter is rich, but by baseball owner standards he’s not. One of the worst-run franchises in all of professional sports, subject to a somewhat disadvantageous arena deal, is selling for over $2 billion. Jeter’s entire net worth is likely ten percent of that. Tops. At best he could head up an investment group to buy a baseball team, but barring a decidedly disinterested group of investors, he’d likely have less actual power than anyone in it.  At the very least he’d answer to them.

How about some role with the Yankees? If it’s an ownership interest, well, good luck having any power at all. Over the past 40 years the Steinbenner family has taken increasing control of the team, buying out the original group of investors who went in with old George back in 1973 when he held only 51% of the team. There are still a handful of those people around, but their share in the team is shockingly small. They get tickets and swag and meet-and-greets out of it in addition to any profits the Steinbrenners choose to distribute (they may choose not to) but they certainly have no say anything. Maybe the Steinbrenners float Jeter a piece like that as a goodwill gesture, but that sure as heck ain’t ownership.

I feel like the best Jeter could do if he really were to call the shop would be to get into baseball operations. Maybe an apprenticeship deal where he learns the ropes he does not yet know — and really, he may know more than we know; we don’t know that much about Jeter as a person — and eventually turn into a GM or team president type. Over years he gains some power and maybe a bit of equity in a team like Billy Beane has. I feel like that’d be a much better deal and a much more substantive position than being a figurehead for some billionaires.

  1. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Owning a team and owning a MLB team are two different things. Plenty of ex players own minor league teams and are quite happy with it. Maybe Jeets has his sights set on the bigs, but maybe he’s perfectly content with a franchise or two in the minors.

    • stex52 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Very good point. Owning two successful minor league teams in Texas is what has gotten Nolan Ryan job offers with the Rangers and Astros. Those are valuable properties for a major league team to tack on.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        Same thing for Cal Ripken. He owns three teams, a stadium, a youth camp, has a major tournament, a radio show and the list goes on. He’s set himself up really nice to a good run to purchase the Orioles if Angelos ever were to sell. (He’s mentioned wanting to be part of a group if that ever does happen.)

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    It’s my understanding that if Jeter were to ask Steinbrenner to hand over the keys to the place, he would have no choice but to oblige. Unwritten Rule pertaining to team loyalty in the era of self-interested dollar-sign chasing ballplayers or something.

  3. Jason @ IIATMS - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    He doesn’t need to be the PRIMARY owner. But he could be, bear with me haters, the FACE of a franchise while deeper pockets fork over most of the loot. He wouldn’t have a majority share, but he could be impactful, which, if I had to guess, would be a goal of his. Sure making a healthy ROI would be nice, but I’m projecting my thoughts that what he really wants is to have an active role in decisions and direction.

    See also: Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners.

    • gigab0t - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      See also: Jay Z (for like, a month)

  4. buggieowens - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Craig underestimates the power of the Jeter gift basket.

  5. ningenito78 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    There’s a lot of assumptions that Jeter hadn’t made some really good investments.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      Jeter is worth about 200 million, he can make all the best investments in the world, it’ would be a monumental task to turn his 200 million into a billion.

      • largebill - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        Actually, turning 200 million is not as difficult as you might think. Consider the rule of 72. Rule of 72 says take your rate of return and divide it into 72 and that will tell you how many years it takes to double an investment. If you’re getting 3% on a CD that would double in 24 years. 6% in diversified mutual fund doubles in 12 years. 12% in a growth fund doubles every 6 years. My guess without any accusations of insider trading is Jeter may have gotten some good advice and beaten that 12% by a considerable margin in the last few years. It would not be shocking to find out he has grown his holdings to close to a billion. Especially if the 200 million figure is just his baseball salary. He isn’t in as many commercials as Peyton Manning, but he’s been in his share. Also, he has never picked up a wife to help him spend his money. I don’t care how much he spends on gift baskets, a wife costs more in the long run.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        You’re crazy if you think Jeter is worth nearly a billion

    • cur'68 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      If anyone of the Yankees was making good investments its Alex Rodriguez. He’s well on his way to real estate tycoon status. His real-estate company, which he founded in the mid-2000’s, Newport Property Ventures, owns 6,000 rental units (and manages an additional 6,000), which generates a lot of income. From all reports (the likes of Warren Buffett no less) Alex Rodriguez is a shrewd and deliberate businessman with a long game that includes a diverse portfolio (car dealerships, gyms, real estate). Buying an MLB franchise might be within his grasp someday…providing he is allowed in the club, of course.

      • bronxbomber213 - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        Interesting I didn’t know that about him not to that extent! He won’t be allowed I’m sure haha

      • cur'68 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:18 PM

        Who knows? By the time he’s in a position to buy-in the league could be very different. The rich have very different rules than the ones you and I enjoy…still…I doubt they let him in.

  6. rathipon - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    I’m sure he could secure plenty of financing.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      He plays the stock market the right way.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Jeter has made around $300MM in his career from baseball alone. Add in endorsements, fragrances, ad campaigns, etc and he has probably earned $320-350MM. Let’s assume he invested decently and spent reasonably, he could be worth $500MM.

    The Tampa Bay Rays (in Jeter’s current home town) are currently valued by Forbes at $485MM. The Miami Marlins, still in his home state, are valued at $500MM. The Dodgers, at #2 behind only the Yankees, just sold for $2B a mere 2 years ago. I don’t think it is accurate to assume that $2B is entry level by any means.

    This is all the loosest of math, but it looks like Jeter could own himself a pretty significant chunk of a team if he can find an owner looking to get out. Or find a commissioner willing to force an owner, like Loria perchance, out.

    • indyralph - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Even the loosest of math needs to account for the fact that Jeter needs to pay his most dear Uncle Sam 45%, and his oldest friend Casey another 7%.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Aw cmon, if Mitt Romney pay 14.1% to dear uncle sam, I have to imagine Jeter did better than 45%. (Enter gift basket writeoff joke here)

        While critics of Jeter’s defense usually focus on his range, most will admit that he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. This is a handy skill in the market, so perhaps he has beaten my estimates. At any rate, I think he could be in a good position to purchase a significant share of either Florida franchise if there were to become available.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Jeter has made around $300MM in his career from baseball alone.

      Per bref he’s made $265M, but he’s also lost a ton to taxes and agent fees. He’s not married nor has any children (that we know of), so it’s not like he’s got a ton of deductibles. I bet his cash flow is a lot less than we think.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        I looked at Cot’s, and maybe I miscalculated some bonuses. Not sure. Even at $265, that is a good chunk of change, and I would guess he has done well with some of his other endeavors.

        You bring up a good point though. I doubt the future Mrs. Jeter will be a checkout girl from the Piggly Wiggly. Perhaps the ex-Mrs. Tiger Woods has an eye on #2. That would make for some serious purchasing power.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        Hmm, I guess bref doesn’t pick up signing bonuses? Looking at cots I get about $285M with signing bonuses.

  8. El Bravo - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Shoulda done more endorsement deals…a la MJ. Look at that guy. He gambles away Jeter’s net worth every year.

  9. steelpenbucs87 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    I wonder if Jeter could find himself in a situation similar to Lemieux with the Pens. In all likelihood it wouldn’t be with the Yankees, but he could certainly be the face of ownership, with a guy with a bunch more money willing to play the banker (a la Burkle with Pittsburgh).

  10. sdelmonte - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    it’s a good time to bring out John McMullen’s quote from his time as a limited partner in the Bronx: “There is nothing more limited than being a limited partner of George Steinbrenner.”

  11. coryfor3 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    He is never going to be able to own the Yankees that’s for sure. There is a very select number of people who are capable of doing that. If the Clippers are going to sell for 2 billion, what do you think the Yankees go for? I believe the Clips got an inflated price due to a variety of odd reasons. I don’t think that’s the price to compare for other teams necessarily but I gotta think the Yankees are probably demanding more.

  12. shanabartels - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    I think Craig has a valid point. What we know about Derek Jeter, going by statements he’s made on the record countless times over the years, is that he has zero interest in coaching or managing (i.e. relatively low-paying, relatively time-consuming and demanding, basically thankless) jobs after he retires, but he has said many times that he could see himself owning a team. So let’s parse that.

    Reading between the lines a bit, being a GM or team president is something in between those two, obviously. And it’s something I don’t recall Jeter ever discussing as having crossed his mind. I think Craig is right that Jeter probably doesn’t have the kind of dough for a significant stake in a major league franchise — and yes, I say major league lowercase because I don’t only mean baseball — and maybe he has to hear some people say no to him before he realizes that minority owners don’t get to call the shots.

    As a GM or team president, you don’t have the awful travel demands and the same stupid questions every day from the same reporters (no offense to my beat writer friends, your jobs are very important!) and the relentless responsibilities of a manager. But you probably still get a lot of late-night emergency phone calls about injuries, roster moves, trades, and so forth that Jeter probably doesn’t want to deal with.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that with all due respect to my childhood hero Mr. Jeter, it sounds like he just wants to own fancy things and kick back his feet and enjoy being wealthy without having to grind it out on the field every day anymore, and yes, he has earned a happy and fulfilling retirement. I don’t begrudge him that. But he will have to figure out that being a multimillionaire and being a billionaire are two different things. He’s not a billionaire yet, and he may need to consider dealing with the late-night “So-and-so just broke his leg, what do we do now?” phone calls before dabbling in owning a team.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Totally off topic, but when I tried googling “Derek Jeter Net Worth” I reached the website celebritynetworth.com ($185MM according to them).

    More interestingly, I saw that they list his ethnicity as African-American. Which, I have always known to be at least half-true, but still seems strange to see in print. I just can’t remember a time when he has spoken up, been asked about or mentioned in connection with any issues concerning race, or blacks in baseball or anything like that. I suppose part of his bullet-proof public image is simply not getting involved in controversial topics, but it does strike me as odd. With players like Rollins, Hunter, Phillips, Sheffield etc being so public in their opinions that Jeter (at least as far as I know) never entered the fray at all.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      Jeter studied at the Michael Jordan “Republicans buy Nikes too” School of not saying anything controversial.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        I looked for this quote a while ago, and it’s not clear that Jordan said it. He did endorse a later Jesse Helms opponent, though, and he also endorsed Bill Bradley when he (Bradley) ran for President. I think. Citations needed.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        It does seem odd, considering the media were lap dogs for Jordan that we can’t find a physical source for that quotation. Unfortunately it’s pre-internet days so most of that stuff is just old newspapers scanning old documents into databases.

        Whether he said it or not, he was never one to stick his neck out like Lebron did when Lebron called for Sterling’s head, or the team photo in hoodies for Trayvon Martin. Jordan did speak out against Sterling later, but (correlation/causation) after people made such a big deal that he didn’t say anything.

  14. fissels - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    I think Jeter would make a great manager, if he could take the cut in pay

  15. 4cornersfan - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Craig’s analysis is pretty realistic. However, I would not count Jeter out as a hands-on owner of a MLB team at some point. He is not the type to abandon his goals and has considerable influence in NY and elsewhere. I can see a scenario where he puts together a financial group to buy a team that gives him control of the team. Remember, this is Derek Jeter, a guy who managed to remain universally liked and respected while having great success in a very competitive sport and business for 20 years. My guess? He controls the Yankees within 5-10 years. The Steinbergers are more interested in money than tradition and it looks like the Yankees are in for a spell of hard times.

  16. tmc602014 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    You can’t count Jeter out – he may find a way. But I wonder how he’d deal with superstar demands? Let him go like Yankees did with Cano or overpay like Yankees did with Jeter?

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      Jeter overpaid? Useful pawns for the rich would thumb you up.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:12 PM

      Let him go like Yankees did with Cano

      How is getting outbid by over $60M “letting someone go”?

      • Reflex - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:13 AM

        They could afford the $60 mil, so yes they let him walk in favor of inferior options who have all dramatically underperformed Cano this year. I posted this before, but I’ll put it here for reference.

        Ellsbury: 0.7 bWAR/$21 million
        McCann: 0.1 bWAR/$17 million
        Beltran: 0.4 bWAR/$15 million

        Combined: 1.2 bWAR/$53 million

        Cano: 1.1 bWAR/$24 million

        I’m being generous and not including Soriano’s -0.8 bWAR and salary here.

  17. mazblast - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    If Jeter were to have any position with or equity in a major league team, it would have to be with the Yankees. Like Magic Johnson supposedly being part of a group that wanted to buy the Clippers, he is so identified with one franchise that one could legitimately question any move he’d make while owning or working for another. Do you really think he’d be above suspicion if he owned a piece of or worked for, say, the Mets or Red Sox?

    If he really wants to own a team, he can easily do what Cal did and buy a minor league team or two or three. I don’t see that happening–not nearly enough glitz or glamor involved. Even franchises like Brooklyn or Staten Island would be too far from the spotlight for him. Could you imagine him owning Grand Junction, Northwest Arkansas, or Billings?

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