Posted by Andy on November 9, 2010
Derek Jeter is going to get grossly overpaid by the Yankees. Multiple reports suggest that Jeter will receive a 3-year contract for $15 to $20 million per season. That would put him among the highest-paid players in MLB despite being worth just about 1 win above replacement last year. In each of the 3 previous years, he was worth an average of about 4 wins above replacement, still putting him well below to top echelon of players. (Albert Pujols has been worth about double that, for example.)
However, the Yankees don't have any other good options, other than bringing back Jeter on a big-money, multi-year deal. In brief, here are the reasons:
- He is the face of the franchise. He is the captain and the symbol of all of their success since 1996. Jeter makes more money in endorsements than any other athlete and his image cannot easily be replaced. Jorge Posada is already too old and ineffective as a player. Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera don't have enough face time on camera. Alex Rodriguez is not likable enough and has too much controversy. Mark Teixeira has been in the background to this point and didn't play well enough this season. Robinson Cano has a very low profile. C.C. Sabathia only plays every 5 days. If they lose the face of their franchise, ticket sales will absolutely go down, as will revenue associated with merchandising (Jeter jerseys, etc.) The Yankees will lose far more than $20 million per year if they don't bring Jeter back. Eventually, someone will replace him as the face of the franchise, but since there is no heir apparent, it would be better for Jeter's departure to happen via retirement than walking as a free agent.
- There are no star shortstops available on the free agent market. If the Yankees were replacing Jeter with someone like Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki, their fans would be much more receptive to Jeter's departure, viewing the move as a necessity given the circumstances. But if they now brought in Edgar Renteria or Cesar Izturis to replace Jeter--well that ain't gonna fly.
- Jeter is going to reach 3,000 hits, almost certainly in 2011 barring a significant injury. (He's currently 74 hits shy.) The Yankees want to take advantage of this event and the corresponding bump in TV ratings and merchandise revenue, rather than having him go to some other team to achieve the feat. Remember, no Yankee has 3,000 hits. Jeter is going to be the first.
So, you better believe it--Jeter will be back and will be grossly overpaid. Hopefully (for him and his team) 2010 was a bit of an aberration and he hasn't fallen quite that far just yet. In 2011, he has a decent shot to post another 3 WAR or so, get 3,000 hits, and then think about moving to left field.