Tag: Jorge Posada

MLB Spring Training: 10 Players Whose Slow Starts Are Nothing to Worry About

Spring Training is a great opportunity for teams to find out what type of talent they’ll have on their side as they prepare to embark on a 162-game journey.

Players are excited to get back into the swing of things, and the slates are wiped clean as every team is in preparation mode.

It’s hard to look too deeply into statistics during spring training, as this time is more often used to fine tune habits and learn how to work with new teammates.

That said, here are a few players whose slow starts this spring won’t likely be an indicator to their regular season successes.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch: New York Yankees’ Jesus Montero

We’ve tried to fill the offseason gap in fantasy baseball with our series of prospect reports, which started with Dustin Ackley back in early-December.

Now on the cusp of Spring Training starting (pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks), it is time to put a wrap on the prospect series so we can get right into the swing of things prepping for our, and your, fantasy baseball drafts.

We hope you enjoyed the series. Here is the last one, discussing New York Yankees’ catcher of the future, or perhaps DH of the future, Jesus Montero.

When is the best catching prospect in baseball not a catcher? When he’s a guy whose catching skills are a negative and he is better suited to play other positions that won’t hurt his team. Of course, a player this bad defensively, has to be a monster with the bat.

The best bat in the New York Yankees farm system belongs to Jesus Montero. The 20-year-old native of Venezuela is the real deal and will be a fixture in the heart of the Bronx Bombers batting order for the next decade. No one questions how well he’ll hit, they only question what defensive position he will play.

Montero has been a catcher throughout his minor league career, but he has some serious deficiencies at the position. He’s big and slow and can’t throw out base runners.

Of course, the Yankees have employed Jorge Posada at that position for the last 15 years, so they aren’t averse to starting a poor defensive catcher as long as he has a good bat.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Montero play a few games each week behind the dish while playing DH the rest of the time, but short of significant improvement behind the plate, it is hard to imagine him becoming the everyday catcher.

Montero could also end up playing the outfield in the near future and maybe first base somewhere down the road. At this point however, the Yankees are still working with him as a backstop, even if no one else in the free world sees him as such.

Montero’s bat is the real deal, but the Russell Martin signing and the move to DH for Posada means there’s no place for Montero in the immediate Yankee lineup. If Posada’s knees don’t hold up, Montero could get a call up this season. Otherwise, expect another season in triple-A, where Montero hit .289/21/75 last year.

Montero’s 2010 stats seemed like a setback after a torrid 2009 in high-A and double-A which saw him go .337/17/70. He started off slowly in triple-A, but caught fire in the second half hitting .340/15/43 from July to the end of the season.

Montero checks in at 6’4”, 230 pounds and has some serious power. He has room to pack on some bulk as he continues to physically develop. His bat will still play if he has to DH or play first base.

His OPS as a 20-year-old in triple-A was .870, so he has some ability. His walk rate increased slightly, but his strikeout rate increased significantly, so a little more minor league seasoning won’t hurt him.

A .285 average with a dozen homeruns is likely if given 200+ at bats at the Major League level in 2011. The Yankees won’t call him up to sit him on the bench and only get 5-10 plate appearances per week though. Look for Montero to start the season in triple-A and get a call up in the summer or when Posada gets hurt, whichever comes first.

Montero’s bat is so good that no one will care about his glove in about five years, so it really doesn’t matter where he plays. Of course, fantasy players will appreciate at least 20 games a season at catcher, but he’s a keeper no matter where his glove lands.

He’s likely to see some at bats this season, so a late round pick and a seat on your bench is worth your while. Keeper league players should undoubtedly pounce if he is still available.

Rick Milleman is the head fantasy baseball contributor at DraftBuddy.com. Check his annual player projections included in the Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy to help draft your championship team.

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New York Yankees: Jorge Posada Shares Thoughts on Shifting Role, We Translate

Is anybody else convinced that Jorge Posada is so not on board with this full-time DH thing?

Po’s been the Yankees‘ resident lovable curmudgeon for 15 years. He’s not exactly the personality type that embraces change. And nothing good can come from change when you’re a 39 year old catcher.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Clint Eastwood modeled his character in Gran Torino after the salty Yankees veteran. Walt Kowalski was a gruff, stubborn old man who wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you with a rifle if you messed with him or his car; the same probably applies to Posada and his catching position.

(That ringing you hear is Jesus Montero calling Brian Cashman to make sure he’s staying in the minors in 2011.)

Posada spoke about the shift to DH for the first time on Sunday night at a Bernie Williams event, where I presume the former center fielder busted out some soccer mom-approved guitar licks.

God love him, Po tried so hard to be the good soldier during his brief media chat, but what he said definitely didn’t sound like what he meant.

Luckily, River & Sunset has the gift for decoding such jock speak.

All initial quotes come via the Daily News.

What Georgie said:

“I can’t complain. I always like to catch, I’m used to catching, but if they want me to DH to help out the team, you have to do that. It is what it is. I look forward to everything I do. I try to help out the team, and if that’s going to help out the team and that’s what they want, I’m OK with it.”

What Georgie meant:

“I can’t complain. Literally, I can’t complain. I’m a 39 year old professional baseball player. Have you noticed what GMs think of guys my age now? We’re dinosaurs staring down a fiery meteor. I’m used to catching, because I’m a man, and men don’t DH. Jose Canseco is a DH. Jorge Posada is a man. I’m not OK with it.”

What Georgie said:

“I’ll catch. I’ll catch. I’ll catch this year. I’ll DH and then they’re going to want me to catch one of those days. I’m keeping an open mind. I would love to catch. I’m training like I always do, and if I have to catch, I’ll catch.”

What Georgie meant:

“I’ll catch. I’ll catch. I’ll catch this year. If I have to do Girardi’s laundry, cook his lunch, pay his orthodontist bill, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything, you hear me? I’m keeping an open mind, and by “open mind,” I mean a closed mind. I’m training like I always do, but that’s mostly because I have to stay cut up for Laura, my insanely hot wife. I’ll catch. I’ll catch. I’ll catch. I’ll catch. I’ll catch.”

What Georgie said:

“Derek’s a shortstop and Derek’s not going to move to another position. He hasn’t even started playing this year and you’re talking about four years from now. You can’t see the future.”

What Georgie meant:

“Have you seen Jeter’s new house? They’re calling it Jetropolis. Well, no they’re not, but I am. The place is insane. You can mark my words: If he invites me, I’ll never leave. I’ll show up with Laura and the kids and we’ll just bunker down like Cousin Eddie from the Vacation movies. The place is so big he won’t even know we’re there…but seriously, I don’t want to be the DH.”

Dan Hanzus writes three columns a week on his New York Yankees site, River & Sunset. He can be reached at dhanzus@gmail.com. Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.

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Fantasy Baseball Top 15 Catchers for 2011: A Second Look

Since I first did this list, several catchers have changed teams (while the biggest name was Victor Martinez, players like John Buck, Miguel Olivo and others also packed their bags).  Let’s take a look at the impact of these moves on our rankings for the upcoming year:

  1. Joe Mauer—Minnesota Twins
  2. Victor Martinez—Detroit Tigers
  3. Brian McCann—Atlanta Braves
  4. Carlos Santana—Cleveland Indians
  5. Buster Posey—San Francisco Giants
  6. Miguel Montero—Arizona Diamondbacks
  7. Kurt Suzuki—Oakland Athletics
  8. Matt Wieters—Baltimore Orioles
  9. Jorge Posada—New York Yankees
  10. Geovany Soto—Chicago Cubs
  11. Mike Napoli—Los Angeles Angels
  12. Chris Iannetta—Colorado Rockies
  13. J.P. Arencibia—Toronto Blue Jays
  14. Yadier Molina—St. Louis Cardinals
  15. Miguel Olivo—Seattle Mariners


  • John Buck falls off the rankings, as there is little chance that he replicates his success from 2010. In particular, the average is likely to plummet, as he posted a BABIP of .335 (he hit .281). While he has power, he doesn’t have enough upside.
  • One of the players who does have upside is Arencibia, who should now be in line for everyday at-bats in Toronto. He absolutely mashed at Triple-A, hitting .301 with 32 HR in 412 AB. Yes, strikeouts are going to be a problem (making a high average unlikely), but with the amount of power he could potentially hit for, he’s an intriguing option to take a flier on if you missed out on the bigger names. He could easily be a poor man’s Mike Napoli in 2011 if given enough of an opportunity.
  • The Carlos Santana-Buster Posey debate is not one that is going to end quickly. I’ll address it in the near future, so make sure to keep checking back.
  • With Miguel Olivo out of Colorado, Chris Iannetta should now step into regular playing time. That is, he will if the Rockies finally decide to turn everyday duties over to him. We’ve played this song and dance before, and it always ends up with Iannetta somehow finding his way onto the bench. His upside makes him extremely intriguing, but be prepared to be disappointed.
  • Speaking of Olivo, with regular playing time in Seattle he continues to hold value. He’s not a sexy name, but we know what we are going to get from him.
  • With Jorge Posada clearly moving to DH with the Russell Martin signing, he gets a boost in value. The extra at-bats certainly should help him in the counting stats. His numbers could easily be similar to that of Matt Wieters and Geovany Soto; the major difference is that Soto may not be able to score many runs (only 47 in ‘10 and career high is 66). Without that, Soto becomes the worst option of the three. Wieters, however, has the most upside of the group given his age and minor league pedigree.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who’s too high?  Who’s too low?

Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings:


Make sure to pre-order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.

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New York Yankees: Theory on Plan B Signing of Catcher Russell Martin

The New York Yankees have to divert whatever attention is left from all the Cliff Lee drama, but there is no denying the painful disappointment still lingers.

Losing Kerry Wood to the Chicago Cubs was unexpected, but the signing of former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin gave the first ray of hope thus far in this offseason.

Why is signing Russell Martin such a positive? For two reasons:

1.   From veteran Jorge Posada to top prospects Austin Romaine and Jesus Montero, as well as current back-up Francisco Cervelli, Yankees have a plethora of uncertain players to fill the catcher position. In 2009, Posada, with 16 seasons and 39 years of age under his belt, had it all catch up to him. Cervelli was a productive hitter at the start of last season, but like Posada couldn’t hold runners on base, throwing out 14 percent of attempted basestealers. That’s only one percent difference from Posada, who never was known for his throwing arm, but who made up for it with his power bat. Martin brings a big upgrade defensively, throwing out potential basestealers at a 31 percent clip for his career, and 39 percent last season. Adding Martin to the mix gives the Yankees necessary breathing room to bring up the two up-and-comers, Romaine and Montero, at an acceptable pace.

2.   Russell provides General Manager Brian Cashman room to dangle Romaine and Montero as trade bait; with the hopes to fill the spot left open by Lee. It is no secret that the Yankees need to attain another starting pitcher to finalize the rotation. Word is that Andy Pettitte is actually going to return in 2011. Pettitte’s return brings reinforcement because the Yankees can afford to wait for the best trade before the season’s July 31st trading deadline. A retired Pettitte would leave another vacant spot that could be Sergio Mitre’s–God-forbid. No matter what, Martin gives the flexibility and Pettitte allows for patience. This could result in a better option down the road, as there are always teams that want to unload by the All-Star Break.

Martin doesn’t come without concern. Even as a two-time All-Star with the Dodgers who ranked atop all NL catchers in 2007, hitting .293 with 87 RBIs and 19 home-runs, there is cause for worry.

Martin’s production declined in 2008, followed by a season-ending hip injury in August of 2009. He does tend to draw a lot of walks at the plate.

Martin seems determined to get back to the hitter he was at 25, making him a young 27, which means Cashman is bringing a baby to the Bronx. Plenty of room to grow considering skipper Joe Girardi and bench coach Tony Pena were both successful catchers during their playing careers.

GM Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner know that many things have to happen before and during the 2011 season to keep the team on top.

Cashman has asked Yankee fans to remain patient, a tall tale to petition for of such an eager group.

I don’t think Yankee fans have a better option. Still, a lot of trust has been earned with the recent 2009 season, and the Yankee fans always believe their team is good to go. That is because the players won’t accept anything else.

In the words of new Yankee catcher Russell Martin:

“Talent doesn’t go away. I know that I can hit. I just want to get back to that consistency.”

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Jeter to Third Base and Other Changes the Yankees Should Make for 2011

The Yankees need to set the wheels of change in motion, slowly, even though their fans may not want to yet.

Yankees fans can be loyal to a fault. We demand that the Yankees continue to win, and demand that they win with the players we have grown to love on the field. Those players have this terrible habit of aging, and that can have a negative effect on their on-field production.

Even when past their prime and no longer the team’s best chance to win, fans want to see no one else in those pinstripes. This creates a chasm between economics and management, tradition and progress, the past and the future. We need to begin a transition into a new era that loyalist fans can accept, and it needs to start before Jeter, Mo, Posada and Pettitte are gone.

My girlfriend’s mother told me that she would boo the Yankees if they did not re-sign Jeter, because he is a class act and she has always liked him. This does not have any effect from a managerial stance, since his popularity does not win them games, but means everything from an economical stance, since he and the other “dynasty” Yankees, (Posada, Rivera and Pettitte) have a decade plus of promotion and success behind them and easily hold the interest of the casual fan. They have been playing long enough together for fathers to have brought up their now-adult kids on them.

Nobody wants the group to disband or for the ride to end. That’s what this season will be about. 2011. The season of denial.

The 2010 Yankees performed as well as they did in spite of the production of “dynasty” Yankees Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. (Jeter did not sniff .300 and Posada batted below .250 for the first time since 1999.) Their fielding left much to be desired as well. Jeter’s Gold Glove felt like the punchline to a season-long joke and Posada threw out a Piazza-esque 15% of would-be base-stealers.

While those players own the hearts of New Yorkers, they are quickly becoming a liability on the field and at the plate. Mariano Rivera has remained productive as the closer and Andy Pettitte had another consistent season, but as evidenced by the 2-year deal that Rivera inked yesterday and Pettitte’s retirement indecision, neither has many seasons left at this level. The “dynasty” Yankee window is closing, and the team has to show fans that they are prepared to move on in a way that is acceptable to those fiercely loyal fans. 

Reduce the roles of Jeter and Posada
Derek Jeter is still an everyday ball player. He is still the Captain, still plays his heart out, and should be on the field as often as possible as a leader. Gold Glove award aside, he should be at a less demanding position than shortstop. Luckily, the Yankees already have an established player who has been called a better defender at the shortstop position.

He plays right next to Jeter: Alex Rodriguez

When the Yankees acquired A-Rod, there was much debate as to who should play the 6-spot, since almost all experts agreed that Rodriguez was the better defensive fielder, but the position belonged to Jeter. The time has come for them to switch spots. Jeter does not need as much range to play third, and a less demanding position may rejuvenate him at the plate. 

Worst case scenario: Jeter takes the position change personally and it affects his play, although his career of professionalism suggests that this will not happen. Jorge actually has two replacements at his spot in Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero.

Cervelli does not appear to have the offensive potential of Montero, while Montero definately does not have the offensive potential of Cervelli. Combined though, they have the talent to give Posada the rest he needs to stay productive behind the plate. Posada catches, Montero DHs. Cervelli catches, Posada DHs. Find a timeshare of that that keeps Posada fresh for the postseason, and we keep Jorge involved while grooming a replacement. 

Cervelli is the replacement in my book. He had a clutch year at the plate — .316 BA with runners in scoring position — and looked comfortable behind the plate. (Ironically he threw out a lower percentage of base stealers than did Posada — 14% vs 15% — and their other defensive comparisons last season are comparible, right down to their pitcher’s ERA and RAvg (Posada: 4.13, 4.35 Cervelli: 4.04, 4.33). Perhaps I was too harsh on old Posada before, or too high on Cervelli. 

Either way, Cervelli has my vote of confidence going forward, whatever that is worth. 
Montero is a fantastic hitter, but everything I have read about him says that he will not stay at catcher. He’s an older Bryce Harper-type with a slightly lower ceiling and is destined for the outfield or a DH spot in the AL. So be it.

Worst case scenario: Neither performs well this season and Cashman panics and goes crawling back into a trade for Bengie Molina.
Bengie Molina is such a sucker for Peter Gabriel

Name a replacement for Mo
This one was easy. We did it a few years back, but it was too easy and we had too much time to think about it blew it with Joba Chamberlain. Like an easy pub trivia question.

Q. Who painted the Mona Lisa?

Me: Da Vinci. But that is way too easy. The question guy is trying to throw us off. Didn’t he design it and have one of his students paint it? Who was a famous student of his?

Friend: Raphael might have been. That’s why he was in the Ninja Turtles I bet.

Me: Genius. We’re gonna be the only ones here who get this right.

He had all the tools to be a dominant closer, and with him in the setup spot, the Yankees were gold with a lead in the 7th.”Yeah, but what if he were a starter and we got that type of performance for seven innings every fifth game?” — Brian Cashman’s evil internal Jimminy Cricket.A couple years of that not working leaves Joba with a shattered confidence and no role back in the bullpen.


We have three options: Fix him, and frankly none of us know what it will take to do that. Audition the role and hope for the best or find a free agent when Mo retires.Audtion the role?

Yankee closer, 2015
I want to give Joba another shot at the setup role this season. He has the capabilities, but needs to get his head back. He is an emotional guy, and the role calls for a collected individual who reacts to nothing. Watch Rivera close out a game. He looks like he is playing chess while listening to a Bernie Williams album. He is concentrated yet laid back. Joba looks like he just finished off an MMA fight after each inning of work. Since Kerry Wood was not resigned, (why, when he was so reliable?) we let Joba set up until the end of May and make the call then.

Pettitte is gonna do his thing
Pettitte has left for Texas before. He has said he was going to retire before. We will always take him back, but it has been made clear long ago that we need him more than he needs us.

No hard feelings. If we lose him again, it will probably hurt fans the least of the four, yet it will still hurt.
Andy Pettitte has been the rock of the Yankee pitching staff. He hasn’t been a Cy Young candidate in years, but every time he steps on the mound, he gives us a chance to win. 
This one is the toughest to call, since starters only pitch every five games, nobody would really be replacing him if he left. Someone else is in his spot four out of five games anyhow, unlike Jeter who is always between second and third and Rivera who is always on with the lead on the line. Pettitte’s spot is in the playoffs when we need a win, and he was not started in that spot in the ALCS. Game 6 went to Hughes, who took the loss. 
Since the Yankees management already took the role away from Pettitte, and he has always felt like the most likely to leave, losing Andy Pettitte doesn’t seem like the deathblow that fans find the idea of losing the other three. If he stays we’ll be happy. If he leaves it will not affect ticket sales.

Worst case scenario: Sergio Mitre is our fourth starter if Pettitte goes and we do not get Cliff Lee. I take it back. Losing Pettitte could be terrible. 

Promote the heck out of the rest of the farm-raised team
As I said before, the Yankees did as well as they did in large part because of the up-and-comers on the team. 

Yes, free agent mercinaries like Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez played a large role, but where would the Yankees have been without the production of Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes and Francisco Cervelli? 

Each of them came through the Yankee farm system and shown that they can be mainstays in pinstripes for years to come. (Speaking of farm-raised stars, I cannot wait foe Ivan “Super” Nova to break out in another season and a half.) We can even include Nick Swisher in the group since he blossomed in New York after forgettable seasons in Oakland and Chicago. 

With a small change in promotion tactics, the Yankees look like they are rebuilding with youth even though they are basically maintaining the status quo. These are the Yankees that will inherit the team when Jeter and company retire, even though that will not be for a few years. It will be a lengthy transition, but that is how the fans will best accept it after fifteen years of this core group.

Worst case scenario: None. The Yankees are just shifting focus. Nobody will forget about the veterans.

All this leads to Derek Jeter’s contract.

Critics say he is worth no more than the average shortstop and should accept a short contract in case he breaks down. Fans will not accept an abrupt departure and will blame the Yankees if he is not retained. 

Frankly, I have no problem with a contract in the 15-20 mil a year range. (I’m not paying it and he plays on my television for free.) I would simply include a team option for a position change. Nobody else will offer him that much per year to play shortstop. 
That way, he gets his money, the fans keep him, and the team gets better. We all win. Especially the team. Enough to get to the World Series with the “dynasty” Yankees for one last hurrah, while preparing fans for what is to come.


For more sports coverage from your friendly upstate New York neighborhood sports department, visit saratogian.com/sports.

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New York Yankees Have To Give Derek Jeter Whatever He Wants: Just Pay the Man

       Will he’ll be the third best shortstop on the team in a couple years?  Sure.  Don’t his career numbers make him a rich man’s Craig Biggio?  Of course.  But the Yankees need Derek Jeter as much as the Yankee captain needs the pinstripes.  The Yankees are built on quiet professionalism and championship legacy, and no player, now or on the horizon (sorry, Robinson Cano), represents the Yankee brand like Derek Jeter.

       Don’t believe me?  Well, close your eyes and imagine Jeter in an Astros uniform.  Then open them and read the top nine reasons why the Yankees need to pony up and sign Derek Jeter before it’s too late.

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New York Yankees: The Derek Jeter Dilemna

Picture a franchise player who was once considered one of the best players in baseball.  Fans watched him grow from an ambitious kid to a superstar, to now what could be the twilight of his career.  This is the case of Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees.

Ten years ago, Mr. Jeter signed a 10-year deal worth $189 million.  He earned every penny of that contract as he perpetually hit over .300, played stellar (and underrated) defense and won more championships than any other player in baseball except for his other core four teammates.

However, last year was his walk year, and Mr. Jeter had undoubtedly the worst season of his career.  He hit a paltry .270, and despite winning the Gold Glove, seemed a step slower in the field.  2010 was most definitely the worst season of his career.  Also, he turns 37 next June and it could be a recipe for disaster.

Any 36-year-old shortstop would have no business demanding a four-year deal.  Like catchers and pitchers, they have a short shelf life as they rely on their speed and athleticism to thrive in the field.  Couple that with naturally slowing bat speed—and a four-year deal usually does not work well for the team that signs the player.  Only two shortstops in recent memory were still playing at a high level into their 40s: future Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and Omar Vizquel.

That being said, Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, is pushing for a four or five-year deal.  Any other 36-year-old shortstop would never receive a deal of four years, and would likely get two at most.  The Yankees seem to be targeting a three-year deal.

So now, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is now stuck between a rock and a hard place. He must find a way to sign Jeter to a new deal because he is still the best shortstop available, and he is still Derek Jeter.  Jeter’s place in New York is so solidified that a failure to re-sign him would vilify Mr. Cashman for the rest of his tenure in the Bronx.

Both sides should agree to a three-year deal worth $45 million.  Jeter’s production was way down last year, but it could also be an anomaly, where he reverts back to form in 2011.  The deal would also give him a chance to reach 3,000 hits, a feat no Yankee has achieved, as well as the possibility of getting close to Pete Rose’s all-time hits record.   Most importantly, it keeps Derek in the Bronx for the rest of his career—a rarity in this business.

While newspapers, websites and ESPN seem to be making a big deal of the contract negotiations, and Yankees officials calling the negotiations a “messy” process, a deal will most definitely be done.  Expect Jete’ in pinstripes on opening day 2011.

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Derek Jeter Still Unsigned: Should the New York Yankees Just Call His Bluff?

Derek Jeter is still a free agent, much to the surprise of the entire baseball community.

Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, has said that he is “baffled” by the way negotiations are proceeding and how little respect the Yankees organization is showing for their most iconic player.

“They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise,” said Close, overlooking the fact that the Yankees have already paid Jeter more than $200 million over the course of his career.

Does Close really drink his own Kool-Aid?


The Facts

The Yankees have already offered Jeter a three-year deal worth $45 million. But the 36-year-old Jeter wants at least four years and has indicated he’d like to play until 2017.

If Jeter wants to play until he’s 43 when he’ll be relegated to utility-man duty, then that’s his prerogative. But the Yankees shouldn’t have to suffer because of it.

The $45 million contract that Jeter has already declined is not only fair, it’s about 50 percent more than what he’d receive on the free-agent market. Close is trying to take advantage of Jeter’s historic relationship with the team to inflate his client’s value.

That’s fine, if it wasn’t for one problem: Jeter’s value is already inflated to the point of bursting.

Let’s be perfectly clear here: Jeter is not a $15 million-a-year player. He may not even be a $10 million-a-year player, and the notion that he should be given a nine-figure contract is more asinine than the $19 million Carlos Lee made last season for a .708 OPS.


By the Numbers

 Jeter had a major drop-off in production in 2010, though naturally he was still an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner. His .270 batting average is more than 40 points below his career average of .314. His OPS dropped to .710 after reaching .871 in 2009. He hit eight less home runs (10) and stole 12 fewer bases (18) than he did in 2009, despite playing in four more games.

Jeter’s agent will argue that 2010 was an aberration and that Jeter is still an elite player. Or he may just be a 36-year-old shortstop with more than 2,000 games under his belt who may finally be on the decline.

It would be irresponsible for the Yankees to handcuff themselves to a player whose best years are clearly behind him, and is a defensive liability (despite what voters might tell you).

But they’re the Yankees! Can’t they afford to overpay everyone? Well, yes, they can. But it’s not in their best interest to do so, especially for a player like Jeter.


Cashman’s Dilemma

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is in a difficult position here. He can’t let Jeter sign elsewhere—it would be a PR nightmare. But he also can’t let Jeter dictate what his value to the franchise is.

If Cashman simply hands over a blank check to Jeter, then future aging Yankees stars will be inclined to demand the same. What happens when Alex Rodriguez asks for his third career nine-figure contract at the age of 41? What happens if Mariano Rivera or Jorge Posada decide they never want to retire and keep cashing paychecks into their 50s?

At some point the Yankees have to draw a line and stick to it. It may be the richest franchise in professional sports with bags of money bursting in every corner of Yankees Stadium, but that’s not an excuse to flush it down the drain by over-committing to someone like Jeter.

New York would be well served to make their stand now, rather than later. They could cut ties with Jeter and find a stopgap solution like Jason Bartlett for a few years, and then go hard after Hanley Ramirez when the Marlins superstar becomes a free agent. Or they could fold and give Jeter exactly what he wants.

Both decisions have dire consequences, but only one decision threatens to cripple the Yankees franchise.

Jeter’s accomplished enough in New York. It’s time for him to take his overrated talents elsewhere.

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2010-2011 MLB Hot Stove: 5 Important Moves for the New York Yankees

With Major League Baseball in its free agent infancy, it is time to start figuring out what the Yankees should do to retool for the 2011 season. With the free-agent market fairly weak after Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, the Yankees will need to spend wisely.

They also enter the offseason with a few big questions. How much will they be willing to overpay for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera? Will Andy Pettitte come back for one more season? If they do not sign Lee what does the rotation look like?

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