Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What should Derek Jeter get?

I appreciate all of the views I got for my anniversary post. 524 is great, my second best day ever. I asked for 1000 to receive a prize, so there will be no give away. I will have another contest soon.

Today, I am going to step away from the Twins for a second to talk about Derek Jeter. Jeter is having a terrible year by his standards and will be a free agent in the off season. Jeter's contract status is fascinating to me. Even though I hate the Yankees, how they do business is still interesting. Living in Yankee land does it to me.

Jeter is in the final year of a 10 year/$189 million contract that he signed before the 2001 season. says he has been worth 45.7 WAR in the 10 seasons. Fangraphs has been keeping salary value stats since 2002. His 2001 season is slightly better than 2008 so I used that salary figure for 2001. Anyway, he has been worth approximately $167 million. Not too much less than he has made on his contract. Given the Yankees endless financial streams, overpaying $22 million for their captain has not been a big deal.

Jeter has had a tough 2010 campaign. His OPS of .703 is the lowest of his career. His 1.7 WAR (wins above replacement) is the lowest of his career. His defense has fallen after he made adjustments the last couple years. At 36, he is no longer a great player.

Of shortstops, his .703 OPS ranks 10 in the majors. He ranks 13th in WAR. Jeter had a great year in 2009. He was 3rd in OPS with an .871 and 1st in WAR with 7.4. Jeter was decent in 2007 and 2008. He was 4th in OPS with a .840 and 8th in WAR at 3.5 in 2007. He was 9th in OPS with a .771 and 7th in WAR with a 3.7 in 2008 before having a near MVP season in 2009.

So, what can the Yankees expect from Jeter in the future? A guy like Roberto Alomar had a similar fall-off and played only one more season past 35. Cal Ripken had only one decent offensive season after his year 35 season. Robin Yount started to decline at 34, never achieving much after that. Many middle infielders have to change positions and/or they fall off dramatically.

What about recent Yankees? They gave Jorge Posada a 4 year, $52.5 million after 2007, in his 36th year. The two prior seasons he had an .867 & .970 OPS and a 4.9 & 6.4 WAR. Bernie Williams got offered only $1.5 million after having a .795 & .688 OPS in his 35th and 36th year. By this point Bernie was such a liability on defense, that his offense couldn't sustain him. Bernie was done.

What can the Yankees expect from Jeter? It appears he made some defensive strides in 2008 and 2009. Reports of better positioning, could be responsible for a couple better defensive seasons. Age probably eroded that away in 2010. Does Jeter have another adjustment at his SS defense? Is there a position that he could play in the future? An OPS of .703 will not work for the Yankees at any other offensive position.

So Jeter, as a starter for the Yankees, is a shortstop only. He is 36 and not close to elite in 2010. The likelihood of him being elite again is not great. It is reasonable to expect an offensive improvement in 2011 but he will probably continue to slide defensively.

Assuming he is re-signed, what to pay him? Fangraphs has Jeter's value at $6.9 million at this point in 2010. A $33.2 million value in 2009 when his defense/offense were at the top. The two years prior he was valued at $14.3 & $16.5 million.

Jeter is 36, he's been declining 3 of the last 4 seasons coming out of a great 2006. 2009 was a culmination of great offense and smarter played defense. Can Jeter do it again? If I were the Yankees, I'd offer Jeter no more than a 2 year deal. I'd either offer 1 year $15 million or a 2 year $24 million deal. This would account for some recovery towards 2007-2008 like numbers. This amount would be more than any other team would offer Jeter. The captain, Jason Varitek was offered much less to stay in Boston. His career was in steep decline and the Red Sox responded with a contract in kind. No one offered more.

People say Jeter deserves money and years as a measure of respect. Does he deserve to get paid for who he used to be? The Yankees have given old icons large contracts when they have produced and also cut bait with old icons. Being paid many more dollars in 2011 & 2012 than he was worth in 2010 shows this respect. As a Twins fan, I think it would be funny if the Yankees offered Jeter a huge deal because he is Jeter. The Yankees can afford the mistake, but it doesn't they should make it.


  1. I hope the Yankees bail on him and he goes to the Dodgers to play for Joe Torre and has a resiliant year.

  2. This is a fun article. Yankee blogs have folks insisting Jeter get $100 million over 4 years. Even Joe Posnanski used that figure, and he is usually a source of sensible baseball thought. There is no possible excuse for that. The guy is not worth $10 million a year. The offers you suggest should look pretty good to Jeter.
    It will be interesting to see what happens.

  3. I agree with you that Jeter is not the player he once was and in essence is not valued the same. Yet, you are judging solely on numbers and forget some of the intangibles that he brings to the team. For one he is still the captain and deems respect from his teammates. Second I would still consider him a clutch player and would certainly be a presence at bat in a big moment no matter what his stats at the time may be. I could continue but I will mention one last thing that isn't so called related to Jeter and his play on the field, rather what he brings off the field. If you remove Jeter from the team I guarantee you that fans will be upset, a large number fans at that. Yankees are always about keeping the fans and their egos happy, and that means bring a championship team to the table and make sure Jeter is part of that team. So what do you pay Jeter? A 4 year contract, if of course he wants that, and about $15-18 million/yr.

  4. i agree that someone so brilliant for so many years deserved some respect,and that 2010 was not his best season does not mean that he wont be the super star he is anymore,now to show some respect for him if he average 18.9millions x year and taking in consideration his age 36,i will offer him a short term contract of 50 mills for two years and them take it from there.

  5. I always hated people talking about Derek Jeter's intangibles, but I will acknowledge for the team, they're important. If he is a team leader (I hate the term captain, except for sports where a captain is noted in rules for various reasons), then there is value that would give him a contract beyond face value. Teams need veteran players, particularly ones who have been with the teams for a while to show the new guys the ropes, so to speak. (It's not necessary, but nice to have someone like that.)

    I'm not sure what numbers this translates to, but if the Yankees give him a reasonable amount more than his face value as a player, I'm okay with that. But the age factor is something that they need to account for, as well.

  6. What he should get is 8-10 million a year for 4 years. What he probably will get is 4 years at 80 million. What he won't get is anything over 20 million or 4 years. By the way, the Yankees need to think about making a run at Raphael Soriano if possible.

  7. compare him to ripkin
    he'll get his 3000 hits but i doubt he can hit 10 Hr's. they need a world class ss: a glove man
    $9m for one year.