The Derek Jeter dilemma


-In 2006 Mariano Rivera was injured, Derek Jeter disguised himself as Mo, notched 34 saves #DerekJetersImpact

-Derek Jeter has a standing offer to babysit Antonio Cromartie’s kids any day, any hour #DerekJetersImpact

-Derek Jeter’s intangibles can be seen from outer space #DerekJetersImpact

Just a sampling of some funny tweets by David Letterman Executive Producer/Head Writer, Eric Stangel.  (He’s a good follow at …LOVES sports)  Anyway, these tweets are just a small example of just how precarious a spot the Yankees find themselves in with the Jeter contract situation.  All he needed to do was hit 10 or 15 points higher, drive in 15 more runs or ground into just a couple fewer double-plays in clutch situations and the Yanks would have no problems with giving the Captain the fat contract he’s now going to command.   Not only that, but his 2010 numbers – .270, 67 RBI’s, 111 runs, 10 HR’s…each well below his career averages  – put the Yankees in a TERRIBLY strange spot.  They’re the only team that can possibly sign Jeter after a season like that, and based on his career impact (see above), they have to give him a sizable raise over his 2010 salary of $21-million (Cot’s Baseball Contracts, btw, is a freaking awesome site for baseball salaries).

Think about it, if he had a “Jeterian” season how attractive would his leadership skills and intangibles be to a team on the border of postseason contention?  Or, if a team like the Mets, Rays or Red Sox wanted to stick it to the Yankees, what better way than signing away the most iconic player of this latest Championship era?  But, his sub-par season makes that a near impossibility for any of those teams to justify.  So, we come back to the Yankees.  Like him or hate him, it’s nearly impossible to think of a more difficult decision to ever face Brian Cashman.  Would YOU want to be the GM who told Derek Jeter to take a hike?

But, if one Yankees insider knows his stuff, Jeter can simplify the Yankees quandary drastically.   Sweeny Murti, who does excellent work covering the team for the FAN, told me late in the regular season that he believes Jeter will hang up his Nikes long before he becomes Alvaro Espinoza.   I believe Sweeny, and nothing in Jeter’s past has demonstrated anything to the contrary.   If that holds true, Jeter will almost certainly retire rather than stick around, trying to play some other position to extend his career.

So, the answer is simple.  The Yankees need to offer Jeter a deal that is only a small raise over the $21-mil he made this past season, and for a long enough term to make it seem like the big raise so many fans (and Jeter’s agent Casey Close) believe the Captain deserves.  Let’s just say 6 years at about $23-mil per year.   The 6 years would take him through the length of Alex Rodriguez’s contract (talk about a bad deal), so on the surface the team would be taking care of the player who has given them so much.  And, when he feels he can’t give any more, Jeter can then take care of the organization that’s given him so much through his career, and take them off the hook for the remainder of the money.

Problem solved.   Let’s all go grab a beer or two – on Jeter, of course.