• Derek Jeter, Then, Now & Tomorrow

    Posted by on November 20th, 2010 · Comments (13)

    First let’s see what Keith Olbermann has offered this week on the state of Derek Jeter –

    As the fine folks at Baseball Prospectus noted before the 2010 season began, Derek Jeter was in new territory. Even with eleven .300 seasons notched into his bat, there just wasn’t any indication that any shortstops aged 36 or over – unless their names were Honus Wagner – were going to produce anything but a long walk off a short pier. The nearly 400 ground balls Jeter generated in 2010 were not a statistical anomaly. They were the expected outcome of a lifetime of swings and stats and the ravages of time.

    That was the point one of the umpteen coaches and advisors who worked with Jeter during the season tried to get through to him. That was the hard undeniable fact that he was so deftly sidestepping with the answers about insufficient upper body strength. Age, not laziness on the weight machine, adds that half-second to your swing. Age, not sloth, turns those little flares over the heads of the second baseman and shortstop into smothered balls skittering into their gloves. Age, Mr. Jeter, comes for us all.

    And think about $45 million over three years, which is the Yankees’ offer my friend Joel Sherman is hinting at in the newspaper, and what the latest set of grisly projections from Baseball Prospectus is suggesting (you’ll only be able to get 301 plate appearances in the third year of that prospective deal), and think of the market out there for 37-year old shortstops and realize that it is not an insult and not lowball and is in fact predicated on mutual loyalty and respect and the nauseating possibility of having to say “Now batting for Pittsburgh, the first baseman, Derek Jeter…”

    Ouch.  Next, let’s look at some stats of recent players (meaning seasons since 1996) to find someone who was “like” Jeter last season. First, via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

    Seasons from 1996-2010, where AGE BETWEEN 36 AND 37
    PLATE APPEARANCES >= 600 and RCAA <= -10

    PLAYER                        YEAR     ISO      PA      RCAA      OWP
    1    Joe Carter               1996     .222      682      -14     .428
    2    Marquis Grissom          2004     .171      606      -12     .432
    3    Joe Carter               1997     .165      668      -21     .375
    4    Craig Biggio             2002     .151      655      -11     .440
    5    Paul O'Neill             2000     .141      628      -16     .412
    6    Cal Ripken               1997     .132      686      -10     .442
    7    Miguel Tejada            2010     .112      681      -12     .428
    8    Derek Jeter              2010     .100      739      -15     .426

    And, here’s some more from B-R.com –

    Rk Player OPS+ PA Year Age Tm G R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB BA OBP SLG
    1 Joe Carter 77 668 1997 37 TOR 157 76 143 30 4 21 102 40 105 8 .234 .284 .399
    2 Craig Biggio 88 655 2002 36 HOU 145 96 146 36 3 15 58 50 111 16 .253 .330 .404
    3 Kevin Millar 89 610 2008 36 BAL 145 73 124 25 0 20 72 71 93 0 .234 .323 .394
    4 Cal Ripken 89 659 1998 37 BAL 161 65 163 27 1 14 61 51 68 0 .271 .331 .389
    5 Miguel Tejada 90 681 2010 36 TOT 156 71 171 26 0 15 71 30 67 2 .269 .312 .381
    6 Derek Jeter 90 739 2010 36 NYY 157 111 179 30 3 10 67 63 106 18 .270 .340 .370
    7 Paul O’Neill 92 628 2000 37 NYY 142 79 160 26 0 18 100 51 90 14 .283 .336 .424
    8 Cal Ripken 93 686 1997 36 BAL 162 79 166 30 0 17 84 56 73 1 .270 .331 .402
    9 Jeromy Burnitz 94 671 2005 36 CHC 160 84 156 31 2 24 87 57 109 5 .258 .322 .435
    10 Joe Carter 95 682 1996 36 TOR 157 84 158 35 7 30 107 44 106 7 .253 .306 .475
    11 Craig Biggio 96 717 2003 37 HOU 153 102 166 44 2 15 62 57 116 8 .264 .350 .412
    12 Ryne Sandberg 96 621 1996 36 CHC 150 85 135 28 4 25 92 54 116 12 .244 .316 .444
    13 Marquis Grissom 97 606 2004 37 SFG 145 78 157 26 2 22 90 37 83 3 .279 .323 .450
    14 Omar Vizquel 99 651 2004 37 CLE 148 82 165 28 3 7 59 57 62 19 .291 .353 .388
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 11/20/2010.


    The name that jumps out the most here to me is Craig Biggio. But, then again, that’s what I said in August as well – that Jeter’s season in 2010 was a lot like Biggio’s season in 2002.

    Now, in terms of “image” value, you can make the case that Biggio and Jeter have a lot in common too.  Both were/are the “clean boy/leader” poster-children of their organization and are/were well respected throughout the game.  And, both – Biggio in 2002 and Jeter in 2010 were/are “nearing 3,000 hits and certain Cooperstown induction” icons for their teams – and, yeah, they’re both “home grown” talents who never played for anyone else but the teams who drafted them.  Oh, and, for the most part, both manned the keystone in the infield.  Therefore, to me, these two really are perfect comps.

    So, how did Biggio do after 2002?    By most sabermetric measures, he was a “league-average” performer (thereabouts) for the next three seasons – and that’s it.  And, while he was still playing past that, at ages 40 and 41, mostly to get 3,000 hits, he should have hung them up after the 2005 season.  And, I’m sure this is what the Yankees are thinking about when it comes to Jeter – and that’s why they don’t want to offer him more than three years on his next contract.

    Now, will $15 million a year for three years be enough?  I doubt it.  Not when the team is paying A.J. Burnett $16.5 million a year and they paid Javier Vazquez $11.5 million last season.  We all know that Jeter has a ton of pride – maybe too much – and will not take a salary that close to what the Yankees paid too crap pitchers last season. 

    And, this is where it gets tricky.  Derek probably wants closer to $20 million a season – especially if the Yankees are only going three years on an offer.  But, no other team in baseball will pay him that much – or can afford to pay him that much.  So, Jeter has very little leverage here.  And, in my opinion, he’s probably going to be lucky to get the Yankees to come up to $18 million a season, in any offer.

    Man, this thing could take a long time to get done…and, wouldn’t it be something if it does turn out, in the end, to be something like Olbermann suggests?  Granted, I don’t think it will be the Pirates.  But, what if a team like Red Sox, Mets, Angels, Orioles, Tigers or Cubs offers Jeter a “pillow contract” like the one Boston gave Adrain Belte last season – say, one year for $19 million.  Would Jeter take it?  And, if he did, what would that mean to his relationship with the Yankees in the future?

    Comments on Derek Jeter, Then, Now & Tomorrow

    1. EHawk
      November 20th, 2010 | 11:07 am

      Steve…Stop trying to read the tea leaves. I think this story is getting blown way out of proportion by the media because it sells papers. Its just an initial contract offer and a fair one and not insulting at all to Jeter. Sure he might ask for the Moon but he will end up taking something like 3 years and 53 million. Yanks might tack on a 4th year option for another 10 mil with a buyout but this will get done and the chances it doesn’t are close to nil.

    2. redbug
      November 20th, 2010 | 11:11 am

      If the Yankees don’t go at least $20 million a yr for 3 yrs, I’ll be ticked. They haven’t minded negotiating against themselves in the past – see Arod, even CC. No team offered CC more than $100 million. The Yankees gave hin $160. I don’t recall the #’s, but the Yankees paid Johnny Damon far more than the Red Sox offered. $16.5 per for AJ?? Please.

      Now all of a sudden they want to play hardball? With all people but Dereck Jeter? Give me a break.

    3. JeremyM
      November 20th, 2010 | 12:40 pm

      Personally, I think the Yankees can’t let previous mistakes with A-Rod and so forth influence this contract. The alleged offer is more then fair.

    4. Raf
      November 20th, 2010 | 1:11 pm

      redbug wrote:

      No team offered CC more than $100 million. The Yankees gave hin $160. I don’t recall the #’s, but the Yankees paid Johnny Damon far more than the Red Sox offered. $16.5 per for AJ?? Please.

      The circumstances between the deals are a bit different. Sabathia (27) was an ace, Burnett (31) got a minor bump from his previous deal due to other teams bidding on him. Vazquez (34), mentioned in the opening, was working on a deal given to him by the White Sox. Damon (31) came along at a time when Bernie (36) was for all intents and purposes done (like Jeter may be?).

      Jeter’s 36 years old, coming off a poor season. The Yankees aren’t playing hardball with him, at least not yet.

    5. JeremyM
      November 20th, 2010 | 1:47 pm

      Didn’t Anaheim admit that they were going to get pretty close to the deal CC ended up getting? I think it’s a little disingenuous to think he would not have gotten offers over a $100 million. And with CC, the Yankees really couldn’t afford to not have him on, so it’s not a fair comp.

    6. November 20th, 2010 | 2:38 pm

      Mike Francesa spent some time on his show yesterday mentioning players the Yankees have overpaid for who did little or nothing but steal the money. We all know the drill, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, A.J., the usual suspects. Mike’s point, Jeter has done a hell of a lot more for the Yanks than any of those guys so 53 million is a good starting point. This argument does not resonate with me at all. So what, there is an expression that covers all this, throwing good money after bad. This is business. Jeter has made over 20 million a year between his contract with the Yankees and outside endorsements over the last 10 years. Now we are looking forward, not back. What is the prospect of a 37 year old fulltime shortstop being worth 53 million plus over the next three years. There is no money on the table that comes close to this, in fact, we’re not even sure any other team would be willing to do 20 million for two years. Can you imagine a scenario where one year into the contract we have a player now clearly in decline, not being able to effectively play his position and being on the hook for two more years of the same. I can not only imagine that scenario but think it is a very real possibility.

      Why not try something like this, a three year gentlemen’s agreement deal, hopefully Jeter and the Yanks trust each other at this point. Terms of the deal, 21 million a year for each of the next three years, a 5 million bonus for reaching 3,000 hits (this is as sure a thing as you can get), and a 5 million bonus for 3,500 hits. The catch, the contracts are written one year at a time. With the bonus a sure thing his pay next year would be 26 million. If each party wants to go ahead with a deal for 2012 the pay would once again be 21 million. If each party wanted to go ahead with year three, again 21 million for starters plus a 5 million bonus would be there if he reaches 3,500 hits (not likely, but not impossible).

      Again, the Yankees or Jeter could pull out at the end of each year but if both parties stay Jeter would have the potential to make 73 million over three years.

    7. November 20th, 2010 | 2:46 pm

      The Red Sox already have Marco Scutaro under contract for $6.5 million next year. Why would they pay Jeter $19 million, for worse production (yes, Scutaro’s numbers were slightly better than Jete’s)?

      The Mets have Jose Reyes under contract for $11 million next year. Why would they pay Jeter $19 million, for worse production (yes, Reyes’ numbers were slightly better than Jeter’s even though he spent 30+ games on the DL.)?

      Jeter’s value is as a Yankee icon. If he goes elsewhere, people will see that all this “intangible” hooey is just that. And if he goes anywhere else for a few extra million, his value is tainted, too. After all, this is the guy his acolytes say would play for free, he loves the Yankees so. Reality is that jf he goes elsewhere, he becomes Brett Favre Jr.

    8. OldYanksFan
      November 20th, 2010 | 4:41 pm

      @ Joseph Maloney:
      Ummmm… excuse me but…. ARE YOU F’N INSANE?!?!?!?!
      $68m for what might amount to 7 WAR?

    9. November 20th, 2010 | 5:47 pm

      @ lisaswan:
      Just to play along, the Red Sox could move Scutaro to the bench or third. And, the Mets could shop Reyes.

    10. November 20th, 2010 | 6:18 pm

      @ OldYanksFan:

      You either didn’t read the whole proposal or you are not understanding the proposal. The agreement is only for one year and that’s for 21 million with a 5 million bonus for the almost certain 3,000 hit. What comes next is a second year at 21 million if the Yankees want to do it and if Jeter wants to do it. There is no penalty if the Yankees decide they want to go in a different direction, and there is no penalty for Jeter to indicate he wants to shop his services. If both parties want to sign up for a 2012 the money has already been agreed upon, 21 million. Same process for year three.

    11. Scout
      November 20th, 2010 | 8:27 pm

      The Yankees have already mishandled the situation by ignoring Jeter’s actual market value and, if any of the reports are correct, beginning with an offer far above market value, both in terms of years and money. Most of the commentators above seem to think that a three-year deal was the correct starting point. I disagree. The place to start was two year and a reduction from his previous salary. I cringe at what this team will look like three and four years down the road, with too many aged and overpaid players and too little roster or salary flexibility.

    12. jay
      November 21st, 2010 | 11:29 am

      Therefore, to me, these two really are perfect comps.


      Take a look at Barry Larkin – I think you’ll find him to be an even better comp in terms of performance in his mid 30s. He’s also a SS, so the defensive trajectory is something you can look also.

      And don’t forget, there are people out there who hang their hat on the idea that you should never underestimate hall of fame talent. I mean, it’s probably not prudent because of what we know with how difficult it is to maintain offensive production let alone defensive production at a premier defensive position as you approach 40, but if Jeter blew all the projections away, would it really surprise anyone? He is an historically great player.

    13. mwach1
      November 21st, 2010 | 5:29 pm

      “Now, will $15 million a year for three years be enough? I doubt it. Not when the team is paying A.J. Burnett $16.5 million a year and they paid Javier Vazquez $11.5 million last season.”

      this is ridiculous. Well, they paid Marcus Thames $900,000 last year and he was terrific, so I guess if they offer a contract to Crawford or Dunn, it should be less than market value because they got great production for far less before…

      when they gave Burnett his contract, the Braves were offering him roughly the same deal. the Yankees contract was a fair market value contract. I know this point has been beaten to a pulp, but do you believe any other team will come close to 3 years/45 million??

      Because the Yanks have made mistakes with contracts before is not a reason for them to purposefully do so again. sheer insanity

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