Derek Jeter's current contract will be up after the 2010 season. This is going to be the story of that off-season for sure. How much money will he make, what position will he play, how many years will they give him? There are so many questions to ask. Will they move him to CF or find another spot for him? I don't know.
This is from Joel Sherman's article earlier today:
In 21 months, or just 324 regular-season games from now, Derek Jeter's contract expires. At that point, the Yankees have to decide what to do with Jeter and Jeter has to decide what to do with the Yankees.
Jeter is extraordinarily protective of his public image, and the New York Yankees hardly want to be seen as disrespecting their captain.
But as we learned again this week with Torre, there are not many happily-ever-afters in these situations - and the issues and potential stress points with someone as beloved as Jeter only make the ticking clock toward November 2010 hover more ominously.
"I might not make 2011," Cashman said. "I am dealing with 2009."
That is the right public answer. But know this - Yankee officials already talk privately about dreading D(erek)-Day.
After all, what team official wants to tell Jeter he has to take a pay cut or has to move positions or - gulp - just has to move on? How would you like that on your baseball epitaph: You were the Yankee executive who told Derek Jeter thanks for the memories?
Of course, the alternative is not too appetizing either. Because kowtowing to Jeter's legacy by paying him lavishly and keeping him at short means tying yourself to a late-30s icon well beyond his expiration date.
As if the matter needs complications, Jeter will conclude his current 10-year, $189 million contract on the doorstep of 3,000 hits, a total never reached by a Yankee.
And, really, do we need complications? He is Derek Freaking Jeter. He is the very definition of Yankee. How do you explain being tied to Alex Rodriguez for 10 years, but cutting relationships with Jeter?
But how do you decide to make this a popularity contest rather than a baseball team? How do you decide to ignore all the obvious data that screams be heartless, even with Jeter?
Keep these facts in mind: The first season of a new contract would be 2011, Jeter's age-37 season. No team has won it all with a shortstop that old, and only one (the 1956 Dodgers with Pee Wee Reese) even reached the World Series.
Just two shortstops 37 or older (Honus Wagner and Luke Appling) have generated an OPS greater than .800 (minimum 300 plate appearances), and it was last done by Appling 60 years ago.
Jeter's offense already is trending the wrong way. Over the last three seasons, his OPS has gone from .900 to .840 to .771; his homers from 14 to 12 to 11; his steals from 34 to 15 to 11. What do you think his offense will look like in two years?
And how about his defense? Every statistical evaluation shows Jeter's range to consistently be among the majors' worst, and the scouting community pretty much confirms that.
By 2011, the Yanks could have either Jeter or just his future plaque at Monument Park play short; they will have about the same range.
Now imagine the 37-year-old Jeter side-by-side with the 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez. Or, better yet, if you are a Yankee pitcher, don't imagine it.
Even if the proud Jeter agreed to move positions, where would he go? The Yanks signed Mark Teixeira for eight years to play first. Jeter would not have the range for center. Would he have the offensive chops still to justify left or the defensive skills to adjust to second?