The Yankees are making a huge mistake in their dealings with their free agent shortstop. Derek Jeter has been the face of the Yankees since he won Rookie of the Year in 1996. He has helped them win 5 World Series Championships and has been a class act and has never done anything to embarrass the organization. So why are the Yankees treating him in such a classless manner?
Let’s start by looking at the stats. Jeter’s fielding has NEVER been a problem. The Yankees didn’t win this year because he couldn’t field his position. He made 6 errors in 151 games played. That is the FEWEST amount of any shortstop last year. I’m not saying he’s Ozzie Smith out there, but he is certainly more than adequate. Now let’s talk about his offense. All I heard during the Texas series was how good Elvis Andrus is. He had 18 extra base hits last year, 0 home runs and 35 RBI. As a matter of fact Jeter accounted for the most runs of any shortstop in baseball, 168. That is runs scored, plus RBI, minus HR. Jeter’s average was .270, which was a career low, but he is also a year removed from hitting .334 and coming in third in the MVP voting.
Now lets get into the Yankee front office. They paid A-Rod $33 million last year, Jeter has been here from the beginning of their run and has always produced in big spots. I don’t think anyone would argue he’s been one of the best clutch hitters in baseball, especially in the postseason. A.J. Burnett is going to make $49.5 million dollars the next three years so don’t tell me you’re worried about money. For Brian Cashman to say they are going to treat him like any other player is ridiculous. He is an iconic player in Yankee and MLB history. If you don’t believe me go check the numbers. He will be the first Yankee to 3,000 hits, one of 7 players to score 2,000 runs, currently 4th all time in OPS among shortstops, and the ones ahead of are Arky Vaughn, Joe Cronin, and Honus Wagner. Not exactly modern day players, as all of there careers were over by 1948. He is also the all time leader in hits by a shortstop. So back to Cashman’s statement we’re going to treat him like any other player, are you kidding? Then to tell him to try and look elsewhere. Jeter’s agent is right, this is baffling. They should have handled this quietly and given him 4 years $80 million, with an option for the 5th year. That would have made sense for both sides. But what do I know?
Before I go, I would like to take a minute to comment on Wallace Mathews article in the NY “Enquirer”. He states that Jeter asking for what he believes is an equitable contract will turn NY fans against him. If that’s the case then you weren’t a NY fan to begin with. He also brings up the price of going to a game, as if that price changes based on what Jeter gets paid. The Yanks are printing money with their television revenue and players salaries have NOTHING to do with your ticket price at Yankee Stadium. That is just an ignorant and uninformed statement, but I guess I should expect that from a newspaper that doesn’t require any actual facts to back up an article.