Derek Jeter’s 10-year, $189-million contract with the New York Yankees came to an end with the final out of the 2010 World Series. With that, thousands of clueless neanderthals speculated on his possible future.

Free agency now beckons the 36-year-old whose future now appears to be quite murky after coming off the worst offensive year of his illustrious career.

I suppose I should clarify the aforementioned statement. His future is only murky to those that are totally clueless in the way of the New York Yankees and Derek Jeter.

Consider this column an open letter to ANY buffoon, be them a professional writer or Red Sox fan, that actually wasted their time and mine by even speculating on Jeter’s future as anything but a Yankee or his ability to still play the game after an off-year.

Let the education begin…

At the ripe old age of 36 and coming off the worst offensive year of his illustrious career, Jeter is apparently done according to the self-proclaimed Einsteins of the web.

This of course is what Jeter’s detractors (mainly comprised of Red Sox fans, some Mets fans and the entire staff of ESPN, you know “The Red Sox Network”) want us to believe.

It’s interesting that when posting such a claim they forget to include the following about Jeter’s 2010 season:

A) Every player in every sport experiences a down year. Jeter apparently just experienced his.

B) Unlike players like David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa and others, Jeter’s offensive decline did not come in the wake of his being named as a steroid abuser. Yes, I omitted A-Rod because unlike the others, so far, his power outage seems to be due from injury. 

C) While it is true that some of Jeter’s offensive numbers were not “Jeter-esque” such as the .270 BA and leading the league in outs made, placing fifth in the league in grounding into double-plays they conveniently forget what he actually did do from a leadoff spot minus the bat of A-Rod and the slow bat of Texiera behind him for much of the season…

  • His 663 at bats where the most he has had since 2002 and second-most in the league in 2010.
  • He led the league in plate appearances.
  • His 30 doubles were three more than the previous season when he finished third in MVP voting, and were his most since 2007.
  • He drove in 67 runs from the LEADOFF spot, one more RBI than last season when he finished third in MVP voting.
  • He was 10th in the league in Times on Base.
  • He lead the league in fielding percentage at short.

Any other team, in contention or not, with a shortstop leading the league in fielding, scoring over 100 runs and driving in nearly 70 from the leadoff spot would be considered successful.

However, because the numbers were posted by Jeter, the world and seemingly his career, is coming to an end.

Excuse me if I don’t rush to get my affairs in order.

Now being realistic and objective, something Jeter detractors never experience, Jeter could very well be on a decline. His age suggests his best years are behind him. He has played a lot of games over his career and after 15 years, the opposition is going to find out how to pitch Jeter and defend against his hitting spray.

However, the decline of most athletes that have enjoyed a relative injury-free career as has Jeter experience the natural, imminent decline over a period of years. Jeter does not show that pattern just yet. If Jeter experiences a similar season in 2011 then the detractors might have something. Until then, it’s merely wishful thinking on the part of the currently clueless, jealous and jaded.

Jeter needs to move to the outfield. His defense is too poor and he is too old to move continue to play that position.

I really love this argument. Nothing makes a Jeter detractor sound more ignorant than this old chestnut.

Let’s just be quick about this one shall we?

  • Jeter led the league at short in fielding percentage.
  • Jeter’s FA combined with his offensive contributions, even in a “off-year” made him more valuable than most at his position.
  • Jeter’s strong accurate arm shows no sign of the advanced “age” that he is constantly tagged with.
  • Jeter is a student of the game and leader on the field. He knows how and where to position himself per batter and communicates this knowledge to those in the field with him. It’s called intangibles—this does not show up in the box score or on a stat line, but it is infinitely more valuable.
  • Jeter has a head for the game—when is the last time you saw Jeter make a “bonehead” play—he is a thinking man’s player that always make the ‘right” out.

To be fair, the range of Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano on either side along with the glove of Mark Texiera help Jeter, but that is what an infield is supposed to do.

The suggestion of speculation that Jeter needs to move to the outfield is a laughable one that clueless people that know nothing about baseball continue to make.

If Jeter is to be moved, and that is questionable, it would make more sense to move Alex Rodriguez to DH which would possibly help reduce what appears to be chronic leg and hip issues and move Jeter to third where his strong arm would feel at home and his range issue won’t be so much a factor.

The problem with moving Jeter anywhere is the Yankees do not have his replacement lined up (if you believe the Nunez stuff, I am laughing at you right now) so get used to seeing him at short for the next year or two.

Posada, Chamberlain, Burnett, one more starter and the pen are all more pressing problems than anything real or perceived about Jeter.

Still concerned with Jeter at short?

Ask yourself one question: How many games, regular season or playoff, has Jeter’s glove, arm or range cost the Yankees during his career?

What was that? That’s what I thought. You can collectively shut up now.

Jeter is not worthy 20-million dollars a year and is not worth what he expects or will ask for.

I love this one, I really do. I’m laughing at you.

1) It’s not your money, why worry? Save me the “the more money he makes the higher the ticket prices…” etc.  Is Jeter’s salary responsible for the rising cost of gas, milk, etc.? It’s called inflation. Look it up.

2) Baseball is a game that we played in little league. It’s a game that our kids play at the park. Jeter is a professional Major League Baseball player and Major League Baseball is not a game, it’s a business. The Yankees are the most valued franchise by far in MLB. In the first year of their new stadium, the Yankees NETTED $441 million. That’s after all the bills were paid, including the luxury tax, player and staff salaries, etc. Pretty successful enterprise I must say—and Derek Jeter plays a large roll in that profit.

Merchandise with Jeter’s name on it sells more than any other Yankee and quite possibly more than most players in the game. His continued presence in the lineup sells tickets. His pursuit of career and MLB milestones opens all kinds of opportunities for revenue. Jeter is a money-making machine and for the Yankees, the near $20 million a year investment has been well worth it.

3) Jeter is a private person and has never come out and revealed what he wants, expects or is willing to play for. What he has done is accepted what was offered.  No one, not professional writers or armchair hacks know what Jeter wants or is willing to play for. As for what he deserves, until you are running the Yankees and paying their bills opinions on his worth and value mean nothing more than what can be scraped off the bottom of his cleats.

In terms of advertising, merchandise, stature, reputation, image to the league, franchise and the game, Jeter, more so than many in the game, is worth every penny he has earned.

The Yankees need to think younger, and in order to land Cliff Lee the Yankees might need to dump Jeter and Mo.

I actually read that in a column right here on The Bleacher Report. Are you done laughing yet? Yes, it took me a while to stop too.

I won’t spend too much time on this because it’s so…Red Sox “stupid-esque.”

Jeter is a career-Yankee. He is this generation’s DiMaggio. He is 73 hits shy of 3,000 hits for his career, a feat few players have reached and one that no other Yankee in history has reached. It’s another revenue opportunity for the Yankees and Jeter is responsible for it.

Anyone actually speculating that Jeter will reach that milestone in another uniform is in need of immediate therapy and possible medication.

Mariano Rivera is still dominant in his roleregardless of age.

The idea that the Yankees would even consider dropping these two iconic, franchise players for any reason, let alone acquiring someone like Cliff Lee is amateurish speculation at best. It’s simply laughable.

Lee will be a free agent and if he want to play for the Yankees as much as the Yankees want him no other team will be able to outbid the Bombers for his services. The Yankees want to stay within a budget, but make no mistake about it, they have the revenue to get the job done without dropping their cornerstones to do it.

Will Jeter be in another uniform next season?

Yeah, I laugh at this one, too. While no one knows for certain because hey, sh!t happens, it’s very hard for a logical, forward-thinking, upright-standing non-low-browed human to picture Jeter in another uniform. Unless Minka likes to play dress up in the bedroom.

Bottom line people…

Derek Jeter is a Yankee for life. Anyone thinking otherwise is clueless, a disgruntled Mets fan or a wishful thinking, bitter Red Sox Fan. It’s laughable to think anything else.

If I had to guess, and why not, everyone else is…

Derek is not a “hang-around” type player—if he is not performing to a level that he feels he should play, he will retire mid-contract.

I see Derek getting $16-18 million per year for three to four years (taking him to age 40). Depending on how he performs will determine one-year contracts after that. He might even ask for percentages of profit or may accept less with a more incentive-laden contract.

As for next year, when Jeter once again hits over .300, the roaches, I mean his detractors, will return back under the woodwork.

Derek Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer that has played the game the way it should be played. Sabermatricians that churn out stats as to his fielding ability or lack thereof and anyone else that detracts Jeter are merely jealous that he does not play for their team of choice.

The man’s record speaks for itself.

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