Wednesday, November 13, 2013

8 comments "Derek Jeter is Worth $12 Million to the Yankees Because He's Derek Jeter" Says the Lemming Media

I have no issue with the Yankees re-signing Derek Jeter to a one year contract for $12 million. It's their money and they can do with it what they want. I don't think it was a very smart move though. I like how the Yankees gave $12 million to Derek Jeter, after an injury-prone year where it isn't out of the question to wonder if he will ever be able to play something close to a full season again, and the media has ZERO problem with this. None. It's not that they think Jeter will bounce back, it's that he is Derek Jeter, so OF COURSE he deserves this much money. This is the same media that froths at the mouth about how Robinson Cano isn't worth what he will get on the free agent market, seem to be well-aware the Yankees seem to now have a budget, and are also aware the Yankees have an old team and that was part of their issues this past season. Giving Jeter $12 million (actually $12.8 million...not exactly sure how that number became the cap figure) is not a problem and he deserves it because of his past performance...which is always the best way to compensate a player for the upcoming year, not on current or future performance, but on past performance.

First, Bob Nightengale pats the Yankees on the back. 

The New York Yankees, desperate to slash their massive payroll below their self-imposed salary cap for 2014, plan to play hardball with everyone this winter.

Well, everyone except Derek Jeter.

And really, if the Yankees aren't going to play hardball with anyone then it should be the 39 year-old shortstop who played in 17 games and got 73 plate appearances the season before. That's the guy they should just give as much money to as possible.

And yes, I realize Jeter is worth more to the Yankees than any other team and the Yankees weren't going to not re-sign him, but now one questions the Yankees for being able to exercise his club option at $9.5 million and actually giving him a raise instead? No one thinks this wasn't the best move by the Yankees, even if it is only $2.5 million?

The Yankees will privately tell you they have no idea whether he can be an everyday shortstop any longer.

Brilliant move then. Completely defensible in every manner and there is no need to even question it for one second.

They have no clue to whether he can still be a productive hitter.

They should have given him $15 million then.

He missed 145 games.

And he hit .190.

So what do the Yankees do?

They give him a raise, of course.

I'm not saying lowball the guy, but he isn't playing much longer in the majors and $9.5 million is still really good compensation for Jeter coming off a season where he played 17 games. Jeter signed the contract that said the team had a club option at $9.5 million, so why waste $2.5 million and give him a raise? Shouldn't this be a question some writer asks rather than just saying, "Derr..............he's Derek Jeter, so of course he deserves more money."

The Yankees had Jeter over the barrel this time. They could have merely exercised their club option at $9.5 million, and told him take it, or leave it.

Jeter, who knows he'll never play anywhere else, would have had no choice but to accept it.

He would have had a choice, but Jeter would have been kind of a dick if he demanded a trade because the Yankees exercised a clause in the contract he signed. 39 years of age coming off a season where he played 17 games doesn't give Jeter the most leverage to demand a trade.

Yet, after missing the playoffs for only the second time in 17 seasons this past year, with the harsh possibility that they will have an early vacation again after the 2014 season, it's no time to create bad will.

Call it the anti A-Rod sentiment.

So of course, it's A-Rod's fault that Jeter got a $2.5 million raise from his club option of $9.5 million. Of course it is A-Rod's fault. At this point, everything is A-Rod's fault. Global warming, the Holocaust, the conflict in the Middle East, the existence of Miley Cyrus, and anything else that can be thought of. All A-Rod's fault. Jeter isn't overpaid nor will he underperform his contract, but if he does, then it is A-Rod's fault the Yankees signed Jeter to that contract because A-Rod is such an asshole.

Yet, even if this $2.5 million bump costs the Yankees a middle reliever next season, it'll be worth every penny of goodwill.

Goodwill doesn't win games. If goodwill won games then the Blue Jays would be World Series champs because their spending spree a winter ago got them a lot of goodwill from their fans. It doesn't matter if the $2.5 million costs the Yankees a middle reliever because that can be blamed on A-Rod.

They couldn't afford another acrimonious salary negotiation with Jeter, 39, not after the open hostilities during the last talks in 2010, when he came off a 10-year, $189 million contract. They signed Jeter to a three-year, $51 million contract with a 2014 option.

Only in the case of Derek Jeter could an acrimonious salary negotiation not only leave zero stink on the player, but the next time the player's contract runs out, the media will say the team actually couldn't afford another tough negotiation with that player. Only for Jeter could the media believe the club actually owes him something after not immediately giving in to his contract demands three years ago.

They decided that even if this is going to be Jeter's final season, and tougher decisions need to be made to get below the luxury tax, let it be a peaceful one.

And if Jeter wasn't happy with the club option for $9.5 million on the contract he chose to sign, then why would the Yankees be at fault for this? Wouldn't this be a reflection on Jeter and how he is (hypothetically) demanding too much money coming off the season he had in 2013? Of course not. The Yankees need to appease Jeter because they wouldn't want him to throw a fit about "only" getting $9.5 million coming off a season where he played 17 games.

The man, after all, will become the most tenured player in franchise history the moment he steps onto the field in 2014. The 13-time All-Star has helped the Yankees win five World Series titles, and needless to say, make tens of millions of dollars.

Very true, but the biggest mistake a professional team can make is pay a player in the future for his past performance. It leads to dumb financial mistakes nearly every time.

In hindsight, Jeter should have shut himself down at the end of 2012 with his badly sprained ankle, but refused to stop playing, until it broke during the American League Championship Series against the Tigers.

That's Jeter.

Ah yes, that's Jeter. A-Rod was the epitome of selfish for working hard to re-join the Yankees, but that's just Jeter to play through an injury.

He had missed only 82 games in his career during his first 18 seasons, but his body finally gave out.

What a hero. This is, of course, why Jeter should be paid more than the value of his club option. It's not like he's been well-compensated during his career or anything. He's only made $253 million over his career. Healthcare costs to pay for that broken body is expensive.

This won't be Mariano Rivera retiring at the top of his game with a celebrated farewell tour.

This will be one of the greatest Yankees in history, retiring after the 2014 season, knowing that the time has come to put away the spikes for good.

I have a feeling this same thing will be written after this year. I have a feeling 2014 isn't Jeter's last year, but apparently Bob Nightengale is feeling nostalgic and thinks 2014 is Jeter's last season.

The Yankees realize this, and this $12 million contract is a farewell gift, thanking him for these past 19 beautiful seasons.

And really, when your best hitter is a free agent and the team desperately needs to acquire talent to get younger and less injury-prone players, why not make it rain by giving a 39 year old shortstop $2.5 million more than you are required to give him? It's not like the Yankees have other holes on their team to fill or anything.

It was the right move, and a classy gesture.

No need to question it at all.

Just don't expect him to play like a $12 million shortstop.

And of course because it is Derek Jeter, if he doesn't have to live up to his contract then one will care. Watch out though if the Yankees give Edwin Santana a one year deal for $12 million. If he has a 4.65 ERA and pitches 32 games, winning 14 of them then Bob Nightengale will be glad to say what a disappointment Santana is.

Now, the since-fired Danny Knobler will also marvel at what a great idea it was to give Jeter $2.5 million than the value of his clue option. I don't think Knobler was fired for writing this column, but he may have deserved to be fired for not even suggesting possibly this wasn't the best move by the Yankees.

The Yankees just signed him for $12 million.


Because he's Derek Jeter.

"Because he's Person X" is always great reasoning to overpay a player. What could go wrong? The Angels signed Albert Pujols for $200 million-plus. Why? He's Albert Pujols!

The new deal will actually give them a slightly higher Jeter salary for luxury-tax calculations, not a lower one.

And yet, there's no need to question this deal apparently.

So why do it, when the Yankees could have simply let Jeter exercise his $9.5 million player option for 2014?

Because he's Derek Jeter.

Repeating the same reason over and over doesn't make it more correct nor means something should happen due to the reason being repeated. Only Danny Knobler and a six-year old don't understand this.

Jeter and agent Casey Close worked out the new deal with Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner. And if Steinbrenner's goal was to avoid any of the acrimony that went along with Jeter's last negotiation with the Yankees, well, then maybe it was $2.5 million (the difference between the $9.5 million option and the new $12 million contract) well spent.

I get it, I really do. Jeter is a great player and a "true" Yankee (whatever that means). He's part of the "Core Four" and will be in the Hall of Fame. Still, being afraid of Jeter and any demands he might make isn't a reason to give him $2.5 million more than his club option is worth. He signed the contract that included a club option for $9.5 million. Imagine if the Yankees exercised a club option for Curtis Granderson and then gave him $2.5 million more than the club option because they were afraid of acrimonious negotiations. I can't imagine the media would just be okay with this without questioning why Granderson was going to demand more money. I also can't imagine the New York media wouldn't be willing to criticize Granderson for demanding more money in an offseason where the Yankees had a quite few holes on the roster to fill.

If Jeter was such a team player wouldn't he just be happy with $9.5 million so the Yankees could spend the other money to make the team as a whole better? After all, we've heard for 20 years what a team player Jeter is, so why would he cause acrimonious negotiations in this situation and why would the media not call out Jeter a little bit for squeezing a few more dollars out of the Yankees? If Jeter was going to throw a fit about only making $9.5 million (and that's the implication both Nightengale and Knobler have given), doesn't that make him a little bit selfish?

Even if Jeter can't play at a $12 million level (or any level) next year.

Which apparently is just perfectly fine. It's fine Jeter is overpaid, just don't call him overpaid because he's Derek Jeter.

Jeter maintained late in the season that he should be better after a full winter of recovery and work, but he maintained last winter that he would be able to play at his usual high level.

But why spend time questioning whether Jeter is worth $2.5 million more than his club option when that time can be spent sucking him off for the thousandth time? 

Medical people unconnected to his case have been skeptical that he can, and especially that he can play shortstop at an acceptable level on a daily basis. It can't help that Jeter will turn 40 next June 26.

No Danny, that probably doesn't help.

As the Yankees go through the rest of their winter, they'll certainly need to make sure they have a backup plan at short, in case Jeter can't make it or simply proves to be too immobile or too compromised by the ankle to handle playing shortstop.

So basically, re-signing Jeter to a $12 million deal rather than exercising his $2.5 club option was just dumb all around. This $2.5 million could have been used to help sign a free agent shortstop like Skip Schumaker, Omar Infante, or Nick Punto (he got $3 million from the A's). These aren't great options, but this money could have put to good use somewhere else. The Yankees are already looking to Infante as a backup plan for Robinson Cano. So the Yankees basically blew the money they could have used on a backup in order to make sure Derek Jeter didn't start an acrimonious negotiation over his contract...not that Jeter would EVER be acrimonious and do anything to hurt the Yankees team of course.

But as long as Jeter wanted to come back, the Yankees had very little choice but to say yes. He had that player option in his contract ... and he's Derek Jeter.

They absolutely should have exercised the option. I simply don't get why they gave him a raise. I'm sure someone has a good answer for me.

The Yankees could have held fast at the $9.5 million and risked a public relations problem, or they could work out a deal for a higher number they could accept.

They settled on $12 million.

It must be great to be Derek Jeter. You can come off a season where you only played 17 games, see your team exercise a team option in a contract you signed three years ago, have the team increase the value of the club option because they are afraid you won't like the monetary amount of the team option, and then the media doesn't blink an eye or in any way call you greedy or not a team player.

It seems like a lot, if you think of Jeter as a soon-to-be-40 shortstop with questionable health.

It doesn't seem like a lot. It is a lot.

It doesn't seem like much if you just think of him as Derek Jeter, the most popular player on a team where so many other stars are fading or departing.

But Jeter is one of those players on the Yankees team who is fading. He played in 17 games last year with an injury that, given his age, there is no guarantee he will recover from. Jeter could very well be fading, and yet, Danny Knobler acts like those injuries to Mark Texeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson didn't happen to Jeter at all. He wasn't injured last year, he just tried too hard to come back.

I think it is hilarious there isn't one peep from media members like Bob Nightengale and Danny Knobler about Jeter getting $12 million per year, even though they admit it probably isn't money well-spent. But alas, Jeter deserves it because he is Derek Jeter and because the Yankees don't want him mad at them.


Doby said...

Was the 9.5 million a club option or a player option? The first story says club and the second says player. If it's a player option and he opted to negotiate for a higher salary after only playing 17 below average games, that really says something about this "team players" ego.

Ericb said...

A-Rod could play shortstop.


Koleslaw said...

A-Rod should've been playing shortstop this whole time because (beating a dead horse here) JETER IS A TERRIBLE TERRIBLE SHORTSTOP.

I believe giving Jeter $12.8mil is a horrible idea.

"The Yankees realize this, and this $12 million contract is a farewell gift, thanking him for these past 19 beautiful seasons."

If that's really the reason why they're giving this contract to Jeter, that at least makes more sense than them thinking his hobbled, injured body can actually help their ballclub win games. I'd respect the Yankees if they'd come right out and say, "Hey, we know Jeter is old and slow and can barely play, but we want to reward him for years of his quality hitting."

Bengoodfella said...

Doby, nearly everything I read said it was a team option, but now that you point it out, but now I am reading it was a player option. I'm confused and I also read this:

So I may not have a point when it comes to saving money. I read it didn't affect the luxury tax and went with that assumption. Of course now I'm reading different.

So it was a player option I think and the Yankees rather than "force" Jeter to play for $9.5 million decided to give him a raise.

So I think I was wrong about some things in the article (which I have now realized), but it doesn't take away the larger point that the lemming media didn't defend the $12 million salary by saying how it saves the salary cap, but said it was for his service and all that other shit.

Eric, I'm up for it. I want to see it.

Koleslaw, I've beaten that horse before too. Now I'm even more angry at the lemming media because the Yankees seem to have had a really good financial reason to do the $12 million deal instead of letting Jeter trigger the player option, but neither writer mentioned this.

Koleslaw said...

Wouldn't a better idea from a financial/competitive standpoint be to just let him walk and find someone else to play shortstop
and play 40 games and hit .220 with 5 steals and 5 home runs from the leadoff spot which is probably what his broken body is going to produce?

I guess letting Jeter walk would piss off a lot of Yankees fans, despite it being a better baseball decision.

Koleslaw said...

Ben: This is unrelated to the article but since we're talking about baseball, what's your take on the whole Braves situation?

Bengoodfella said...

Koleslaw, I completely see why the Yankees have kept Jeter around. They can't let him play for another team and he could be productive if he is able to stay healthy. I thought it was silly to increase the offer and wasn't aware of the luxury cap ramifications.

I think it would be smart to have kept it at $9.5 million and then used the rest of the money for a quality backup at shortstop. I would imagine the Yankees will do that anyway, but I feel $2.5 million was wasted in going up to $12 million.

My take on the Braves situation is it makes sense to move, though I obviously don't like that taxpayers are having to foot some of the bill. Turner Field is sort of the middle of nowhere and there is a lot of development that was promised around the stadium and I don't think that ever happened. You have to take a bus there and all...but MARTA isn't going to run to the new site in Cobb County, which sort of ruins the point of having better transportation options to get to the stadium. So that's sort of disappointing.

Overall, it sucks they are moving so soon, but it makes sense they want naming rights to the stadium since their TV contract blows. As a fan, I'm not unhappy they are moving because it is closer to the fan base, but I'm sad because I'm not sure it's going to be easier to travel there from downtown Atlanta (where I usually stay to go to a game). I get why they are doing it though. They need money and the naming rights will get that for them.

If I were a Cobb County taxpayer I'm not sure I would be pleased unless this brings in money and business. The bottom line is the Braves weren't making as much money off Turner Field because it was leased and didn't involve naming rights and now they will own the stadium and get money to call it Coca-Cola Park or something like that.

Koleslaw said...

This whole thing just seems odd to me. Going from the city to the suburbs just sounds like a poor idea. I'm used to ballparks being in developed, commercial areas with shops and restaurants and what-have-you around. Has the land where the new stadium is going already been acquired?

I understand wanting to be closer to the fan base, but no mass transit options to get to the stadium? Maybe they have some other plan in the works they haven't revealed yet.