I also have to completely agree with this comment by “an executive from another club”:
“I’m pretty blown away that it even came to this level. This is a Hall of Famer. This is the face of the franchise. It just usually doesn’t come to this.”
Agreed. I know the team wants to hold the line on salaries and there’s a very big part of me that applauds this attempt. However, to choose Jeter as that guy to stick it to strikes me as misguided and disappointing. I would never endorse a blank check policy in a situation like this, but I never would have conducted this as transparently as the Yanks organization has done thus far. This public spat is embarrassing for all sides. Don’t tell me “it’s just business” anymore; it’s gotten way too personal to be “just business“. Someone needs to gain some sense soon and put an end to Al Jeterzeera.
As I said a week and a half ago, the Yanks should come out with a statement like this and begin a press embargo until Jeter signs, somewhere:
“The entire Yankee organization desires to keep Derek Jeter in pinstripes his entire playing career and for the rest of his post-playing life. We have the utmost respect for Derek’s contributions to this organization and we will be forever grateful for his service. He is and has been everything we want our organization to represent. We remain optimistic that a mutually beneficial agreement will be reached as soon as possible. We will have no further comments until that time.”
Has Jeter declined? You betchya, but as Mark noted here, there was very little room to go up after his 2009 season:
The other argument against Jeter receiving that much money is his “declining performance”. Well, that’s true. He did play worse in 2010 than 2009, but I don’t think anyone expected him to repeat his 7.1 fWAR season. Almost anything is a “declining performance” from that. But Jeter recorded only 2.5 fWAR this past season, and it was his lowest ever, including his rookie season. However, if you look a little deeper, there are reasons to believe Jeter will be better next season with the most obvious being his .307 BABiP, which is almost 50 points below his career norm. In other words, he was highly unfortunate in a season that he couldn’t really afford to have one. 2007 was pretty close to an “average” season for Jeter, and he racked up 3.5 fWAR that season. That also included a nasty -17.9 UZR rating that he hasn’t neared in the past three seasons, and you could make the argument that even a -8 rating would leave him with 4.5 fWAR, which sounds more accurate.
And as Larry noted in the comments:
You have to consider marginal as well as absolute value. Jeter’s 2.7 fWAR was still third best in the American League for shortstops, and it’s probably 2.7 more than Nunez could produce. I don’t see any position on the field that the Yankees could afford to upgrade (other than Cliff Lee in place of Javy) where they could add 2.7 wins to the team.
This stupid game of chicken needs to come to an end. Now.
The Jeter and Pujols contracts will not just be an exercise of baseball executives pushing on a string. Both the Yankees and Cardinals owners are business artisans. They will create a new threshold for baseball contracts, beyond A-Rod, whether the money ends up being less, the same, or more. They’ll give a pull on the string that tugs at the heart of the modern day value of fans’ devotion to two ballplayers who have their molds of greatness already taking shape. It’s just a matter of where the final bronze statue will land.