• Klapisch: Could Teixeira Bump Jeter?

    Posted by on December 29th, 2008 · Comments (24)

    Via Bob Klapisch:

    At this time next winter, Derek Jeter will be approaching the end of his 10-year, $189 million contract, which has already left the Yankees vexed as to how to proceed. The debate centers on the question team officials have been putting off forever: Is there life after Jeter?

    It might seem premature to wonder out loud, but with Mark Teixeira now in pinstripes, the Jeter era may well begin dwindling. Of course, the captain still is enormously popular with the fan base, and he’ll always be the link to the early days of the dynasty. But Teixeira is about to become the most valuable star in the Yankee family.

    He is, after all, younger and more productive than Jeter; the numbers aren’t even close. Teixeira is more stable — both on and off the field — than Alex Rodriguez. And the first baseman already has a built-in reservoir of good will in greater New York after having blown off the Red Sox in the 11th hour of his negotiations.

    And it won’t hurt that he’s a near-lock to hit 30-plus home runs while driving in 100 or more runs.

    Unless Teixeira breaks down from a massive case of big-market jitters, and there’s nothing to suggest he will, he’s about to become the centerpiece of what’s become the best Yankee team (on paper) in a decade.

    Of course, that transfer of power was supposed to happen in 2004 when A-Rod became a Yankee. He wasn’t just going to bring the Bombers back to their glory days of the late ’90s, he was supposed to whisk Jeter off the stage. That scenario quickly turned to vapor, as Rodriguez has staggered through a series of postseason failures, and the Yankees have yet to win a championship, or even get out of the first round, on his watch.

    But at age 34, Jeter’s footprint in the offense has never been smaller.

    You know…of all the players to have 1,800+ career hits with the Yankees (and there have been 11 such players to date), the only men to ever play for a major league team other than the Yankees at the end of their career have been Yogi Berra (with the Mets) and Babe Ruth (with the Braves) – and both of those situations were somewhat ‘joke’ cases. Would the Yankees, ever, dare allow Derek Jeter to finish his career with a team other than them?

    How strange would it be to see Derek Jeter playing for the Detroit Tigers in 2011? Nah, it could never happen…could it?

    Comments on Klapisch: Could Teixeira Bump Jeter?

    1. KingBen
      December 29th, 2008 | 10:42 pm

      This joke of an article has nothing to do with Jeter really. Jeter will get the same Rivera type deal and then go year to year like Pettitte if he’s closing in on 4,000+

    2. BILLSTYLE
      December 29th, 2008 | 10:48 pm

      Isn’t baseball still a team game? What’s with all this talk of bumping someone out of the spotlight, or “whisking them off the stage.” Why don’t they all play together, and win a championship?

      What this article does do well is question whether Jeter gets an increase in salary after next season. I’m not sure I’m even qualified to tackle this subject, but I’ll say Derek Jeter is a Yankee for life.

    3. jmeisner
      December 29th, 2008 | 11:02 pm

      Would the Yankees let Jeter leave New York? No, they would not, but they really should act like they would. As long as Jeter stays healthy over the next two seasons and averages at least something like .290/.350/.400, count on him asking for an absolutely ludicrous contract from the Yankees. My guess is that he’ll demand to be signed through the same age that A-Rod is signed through with over $20 million a year. In other words, he’ll probably want six years and around $125 million. The sick thing is, you know the Yankees are going to give it to him, but I just wish that Cashman would for once show some sort of negotiating prowess and not overpay. It’s so obvious that when 2014-2016 rolls around we’re going to have an outrageously old, $50 million a year left side of the infield, with .270/.350/.500 at third and .270/.320/.380 and no defensive range at short. Oh well, whatever. Let’s just win a couple championships before we have to deal with that mess.

    4. MJ
      December 29th, 2008 | 11:10 pm

      I know I’m in the distinct minority here but, for once, I’d love it if the Yanks cut the sentimentality aspect out of their decisions and just let Jeter walk. He can’t field his position at all and unless 2008 turns out to be a total fluke and he bounces back in 2009, his offense is now getting to the point of league average.

      I know it’ll never happen because that’s not how the Yankees do business but I wish they’d start realizing that paying 36 year olds for feats accomplished a decade ago is no smart way to run a business…

    5. David
      December 29th, 2008 | 11:24 pm

      I’m with MJ. He said it better than I could.

    6. Joel
      December 30th, 2008 | 12:16 am

      Jeter’s ZR last year was right about league average, from what I recall. And The Captain was well above league averages for a SS in every offensive category.

      I think a 4 year $85 million extension sounds about right.

    7. Justin
      December 30th, 2008 | 8:12 am

      He can’t field his position at all and unless 2008 turns out to be a total fluke and he bounces back in 2009, his offense is now getting to the point of league average.
      =====================================
      This, as Joel notes, is just wrong. Jeter’s not a good defensive shortstop, but he’s not nearly as bad as he’s been made out to be. And he’s still an excellent hitter. Last year just looked bad by comparison. In other words, Jeter’s spoiled us, and so his decline looks worse than it actually is.

      The fact is, Jeter is still in the upper-tier of shortstops. I mean, can you really name five shortstops you’d rather have over the next five years? Ramirez and Reyes, obviously. Hardy, Escobar, Drew maybe. But I wouldn’t really count on of those latter three to necessarily be better.

      Clearly, Jeter’s getting old and he could fall off the cliff. But I wouldn’t count on it. And I wouldn’t be too anxious to try and replace him. Good shortstops aren’t all that easy to come by, let alone hall-of-famers.

    8. Justin
      December 30th, 2008 | 8:15 am

      And, obviously, the Yankees aren’t going to let Jeter walk anyway. So debating the merits of doing so seems kind of pointless in the first place. This Klapisch column is just filler. Newspapers need print even when there isn’t any news. And blogs need posts even when there isn’t anything to blog about. That’s not a criticism of anyone; it’s just the way it goes.

    9. MJ
      December 30th, 2008 | 9:11 am

      I think a 4 year $85 million extension sounds about right.
      ————–
      Wow. A 40 year old shortstop making $20M+. That’s Yankee generosity.

    10. MJ
      December 30th, 2008 | 9:18 am

      I mean, can you really name five shortstops you’d rather have over the next five years? Ramirez and Reyes, obviously. Hardy, Escobar, Drew maybe. But I wouldn’t really count on of those latter three to necessarily be better.
      —————–
      You wouldn’t count on JJ Hardy, Yunel Escobar or Stephen Drew to be better than Jeter within the next five years? It could certainly be argued that they were already better than him in 2008!

      The point isn’t if they’ll ever be better than Jeter was in 1999 or if they ever join Jeter in Cooperstown. The point is that I don’t see how the Yanks can honestly believe it’s in the best interest of the ballclub to commit to a 36 year old shortstop that has clearly declined.

      Do I have his replacement in mind? No, not right now. But the Yanks have the next two seasons to figure it out. A little less sentimentality would do the front office a lot of good in this regard. They can try to find Jeter’s long-term replacement or find a one-year stopgap measure. I know they won’t, but I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

    11. AndrewYF
      December 30th, 2008 | 11:27 am

      I wouldn’t bet on Yunel Escobar being better than Jeter, but the rest of them are an easy bet.

      Although I’m not sure that Stephen Drew will remain at shortstop. He’s dreadful there.

    12. jmeisner
      December 30th, 2008 | 11:39 am

      Ha, you guys wish it’s going to be four years and $85 million. That would be fine, similar to the “thank you” contracts the Yankees gave Posada and Rivera. Jeter is going to demand to be signed through age 42 (since that’s what age A-Rod is signed through), and he’ll want over $20 million a year. It’s going to be ridiculous, and the Yankees are going to pay him. It has nothing to do with what performance they expect out of him over that period, it’s just a branding issue. Jeter is critical to the Yankees brand, so they’re not going to let him go.

    13. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      December 30th, 2008 | 12:02 pm

      And assuming you win a couple in the next few years, y’all should enjoy it. After that, I’ll be enjoying another era of old, decaying, former stars clogging up the roster. Posada, Jeter, A-Rod, Teix, Sabathia. I’d include Mo but I just can’t be sure anymore that he’ll ever decline. ;)

      Of course its true that they can always just swallow the bad contracts and reload with more over-priced free agents. But where will that leave the payroll? 250 million? 300? Will look even worse when no other team has broken 165 million.

    14. Justin
      December 30th, 2008 | 12:29 pm

      You wouldn’t count on JJ Hardy, Yunel Escobar or Stephen Drew to be better than Jeter within the next five years? It could certainly be argued that they were already better than him in 2008!
      ===========================================
      I know they were all better than Jeter in 2008. I chose those names for just that reason. They were it–the five shortstops who were unequivocally better than Jeter in 2008. And now go look at what they’ve done for their career so far. And then compare it to what Jeter’s done in his career.

      I think people are forgetting just how good Jeter is. Since 2005, Jeter has averaged an OPS+ of 120. That includes his subpar 2008. Between them, Escobar, Drew and Hardy have never had a single season that good. Not one. Granted, they’re young and entering their primes, while Jeter’s old and entering his decline. But it is not at all a sure thing that Jeter’s next five years will be worse than theirs.

      So, my point is, even as he declines, Jeter is likely to be a better than average shortstop. That’s probably not worth what he’s going to get paid. But it doesn’t matter, because he’s going to get paid. And it doesn’t really bother me. Because, for one, it’s not my money. And, for another, I’m not convinced the Yankees would be able to find a worthwhile replacement anyway.

    15. Justin
      December 30th, 2008 | 12:33 pm

      It has nothing to do with what performance they expect out of him over that period, it’s just a branding issue. Jeter is critical to the Yankees brand, so they’re not going to let him go.
      ===========================================
      Maybe you’re right, but if so, so what? If Jeter’s making the Yankees gobs of money, and he surely is, why shouldn’t he get paid for it?

    16. MJ
      December 30th, 2008 | 1:06 pm

      compare it to what Jeter’s done in his career.
      ———–
      Who cares what he’s done in his career? I don’t want to be paying for feats accomplished 10 years ago. That’s just not sensible.

      By no means am I forgetting who Jeter is and how great he was for a period of time. But that’s really not important enough when deciding to give a 36 year old man a contract that will pay him $20M a season when he won’t be a top-5 player at his position and hadn’t been in a few years.

      Point is, we can love Jeter and thank him for the great times but we can’t just give in to him just for sentimentality’s sake. I know the Yankees will, but I’m using “we” as the much smarter folks who comment on this and other sites whose insight often doesn’t seem to permeate through the thick skulls of management.

    17. Justin
      December 30th, 2008 | 2:05 pm

      Who cares what he’s done in his career? I don’t want to be paying for feats accomplished 10 years ago. That’s just not sensible.
      ==============================
      Well, we clearly just disagree here. But I’m not talking about what he did ten years ago. I’m talking about what he’s done over the last few years. Next year will be interesting. If he bounces back, I think we have to see 2008 as a fluke. If he doesn’t, well, I might be more inclined to agree with you. And so might the Yankees, actually, though probably not.

    18. jmeisner
      December 30th, 2008 | 2:38 pm

      Maybe you’re right, but if so, so what? If Jeter’s making the Yankees gobs of money, and he surely is, why shouldn’t he get paid for it?

      ———

      You’re absolutely right, and I wasn’t arguing that overpaying Jeter relative to his performance is unwarranted, I was merely pointing out that it will happen. However, while it may be a fair arrangement, I still find it annoying, and I’m sure many of you would agree with me. The type of fans who frequent blogs discussing metrics such as RCAA and zone ratings tend to be the fans that care more about winning and rivalries than the “brand” of the Yankees, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, I enjoy watching the various phases of the storied careers of Yankee greats unfold as much as the next fan, but I care about winning too much to be okay with having a $50 million, 83 year old left side of the infield in 2016.

    19. Raf
      December 30th, 2008 | 3:39 pm

      but I care about winning too much to be okay with having a $50 million, 83 year old left side of the infield in 2016.
      ———–
      A lot can happen between now and 2016.

    20. MJ
      December 30th, 2008 | 3:44 pm

      A lot can happen between now and 2016.
      ———–
      Certainly. But that’s not a good enough reason to bring Jeter back if the performance doesn’t truly warrant it.

      Yankee fans would get over Jeter not being on the team in 2011 if they had to. I’m not saying the Yanks would let that happen but I’m saying that it wouldn’t end the world if the Yanks decided drop the sentimentality for once and make the right baseball decision with their old fart players.

    21. jmeisner
      December 30th, 2008 | 5:53 pm

      A lot can happen between now and 2016.

      ———–

      Indeed, but not a lot of good can happen when a team has an insane amount of money on the books for aging players. Either the team is going to be overpaying or, in the event of a trade, they’re going to be subsidizing player salaries for other teams.

    22. John ONeil
      December 30th, 2008 | 6:48 pm

      when I saw the title to this post about Tex bunping Jeter, I was not thinking of him supplanting Jeter as the face of the franchise. My first thought was “where are they going to stick Jeter after the finally acknowledge he can’t play SS anymore.” If he maintains some semblence of his pace, he will be a legitimate threat to get to 4K hits. The Yanks will want to find a place for him to do that. Pete Rose was moved to 1st at the end of his career to get him past Cobb. With Tex, that isn’t an option. Can he play left field?

    23. RollingWave
      December 31st, 2008 | 4:33 am

      as a baseball decision, I think they should let Jeter go after 2010 and throw everything they got to trade for Hanley Ramirez . sentimentally that be tough though.

      but we’re still 2 years from that decisision, so we’ll see.

    24. Raf
      December 31st, 2008 | 9:42 am

      Certainly. But that’s not a good enough reason to bring Jeter back if the performance doesn’t truly warrant it.
      —————
      Point was that it’s kinda premature to be concerned about Jeter & Rodriguez manning SS & 3B in 2016. They could suffer career ending injuries, they could retire, they could move to other positions, they could be traded, someone could come up through the minors, another FA could become available, so on and so forth.

      A lot can happen between now and Opening Day 2016.

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