Derek Jeter Rumors

Yankees Links: Ichiro, Offseason, Hardy, Jeter

When asked if he’d return to the Yankees in 2015, Ichiro Suzuki told reporters (including NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty) via an interpreter, “That might be a question you shouldn’t ask right now.”  Suzuki said he intends to continue his career, though other comments hinting at some clubhouse drama seem to imply that his time in the pinstripes could be over.  “Obviously there’s a lot of things that go on that the fans and the media can’t see, that goes on inside (the club),” Suzuki said.  “But what I can say is that the experiences I had this year, those experiences are going to help me in the future. It’ll be somewhat of a support for me because of the experiences I had this year.”

Here’s some more Yankees news…

  • While the Yankees will keep an eye on free agents Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields, “the early industry vibe is the Yankees aren’t going to spend big money this winter,” George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  It makes sense that the Yankees would take a step back after spending over $550MM on player salaries last offseason, though by the Yankees’ standards, what they consider “not big money” could still result in a significant cash outlay.
  • Also from King, free agent shortstop J.J. Hardy is “the early favorite” to take over the shortstop job in the Bronx next season.  Hardy will draw a lot of attention on the open market, though there’s also a chance he could stay in Baltimore — MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski made the point in August that the O’s could see Hardy as a long-term answer at shortstop if Manny Machado‘s injuries prevent him from eventually switching positions.
  • Was Derek Jeter‘s 10-year, $189MM deal actually a bargain for the Yankees?  CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa believes it was, given Jeter’s consistent production from 2001-10 and his immense off-the-field value to the organization in boosting everything from TV ratings to merchandise sales.  Jeter’s deal also has a case as the best completed $100MM+ contract in baseball history — Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez topped Jeter in terms of WAR, but Jeter’s role as a franchise icon may trump those three in terms of overall value to his team.

Quick Hits: Jeter, WAR, Syndergaard

The Yankees‘ ceremony for retiring icon Derek Jeter on Sunday was “undeniably nice,” but “sort of weird,” FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. The ceremony felt “grim,” Rosenthal opines, and underpinning all the celebration was the fact that the Yankees likely aren’t going to the playoffs this year. Jeter is the last remaining player of the Yankees’ “Core Four” that also included Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, and it might be awhile before the Yankees are again able to reach the lofty heights they did when those players were in their primes. Here’s more from throughout baseball.

  • The WAR statistic currently used by many fans as an all-encompassing evaluation tool needs to change, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. Most of Passan’s criticisms have to do with assigning win values to defensive performances in ways that aren’t suitably sensitive to context and that vary too widely. Passan thinks WAR might value good defensive corner outfielders (like Jason Heyward) too highly. Also, different types of WAR are calculated differently, which sometimes leads to large differences in how the two key types of WAR (Fangraphs and Baseball Reference) evaluate both position players and pitchers.
  • The Mets will select the contract of veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu and promote reliever Gonzalez Germen this week, but they will not promote pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, Andy Call of MLB.com reports. “[Not calling up Syndergaard] was definitely a decision we talked about a lot,” says Mets assistant GM John Ricco. “If there were some starting pitching opportunities left, it might have been different. But there are no starting opportunities here the rest of the season.” Newsday’s Marc Carig reported in late August that the Mets were unlikely to make Syndergaard a September call-up. Syndergaard, the Mets’ top prospect, posted a 4.60 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 133 innings at the Mets’ hitter-friendly Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas this season. Las Vegas was eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs Saturday.

AL East Notes: July 2 Spending, Blue Jays, Jeter

The American League East is about as tightly clustered as possible at this point, with just 1.5 games separating the field. With plenty of interesting situations developing in the division’s five organizations, it should (as usual) be a fascinating race to watch — both on the field and in the transactional rumor mill. Here’s the latest:

  • In a preview — or, in some respects, a roundup — of the July 2 prospect signing period, Ben Badler of Baseball America says that the American League East figures to lead the way in spending. We have already heard about the Yankees‘ plans to blow well past their bonus limits on this year’s international prospect market, but Badler says that the division-rival Rays and Red Sox also appear poised to incur the maximum penalties for going beyond their pool allocations. (In an earlier report, Scout.com’s Kiley McDaniel reported upon many of the verbal agreements and rumored matches that form the basis of Badler’s piece.) If that holds true, then each of those three AL East competitors — and, potentially, the Brewers — would not only pay a 100% tax on any over-bonus spending, but would also sacrifice the right to sign any July 2 player to more than a $300K bonus next year.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos spoke today about several current topics involving his club, with MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm among those present (links to Twitter). Anthopoulos made clear that there were no active trade discussions taking place at present with rival front offices, which is surely unsurprising at this stage of the season.
  • Anthopoulos also provided new information on two situations that we touched upon last night. First, he said that injured starter Brandon Morrow was expected to avoid surgery and could return around the All-Star break, meaning that he may still contribute in 2014 and could conceivably pitch well enough to entice Toronto to pick up his 2015 club option ($10MM/$1MM buyout). Meanwhile, the GM threw cold water on the idea of permanently transitioning Brett Lawrie to second base to free playing time for Juan Francisco. Of course, that still leaves other possibilities for the Jays to keep Francisco in the fold when Adam Lind returns from injury.
  • With Yankees infielder Brendan Ryan making his way back to the club, manager Joe Girardi will face an increasingly complicated situation, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Of course, Derek Jeter remains entrenched at short for the time being, but the living legend has struggled at the plate and in the field. New York GM Brian Cashman recently confirmed that Girardi has full authority to determine who plays and where they hit in the lineup. And Sherman notes that the manager has made several moves — both with respect to former catcher Jorge Posada and, more recently, involving Jeter himself — that hint he is not afraid to ruffle some feathers if necessary to win. With the division shaping up to go down to the wire, Sherman says that Girardi may need to “play[] bad cop” in dividing playing time going forward.


AL Notes: Lester, Middlebrooks, Tigers, Royals, Astros

The retirements of Yankee icon Derek Jeter and Commissioner Bud Selig and the Red Sox's quest to repeat as World Series champions are baseball's top storylines this season, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Mike Trout/Miguel Cabrera debate also makes Cafardo's list along with five other topics to monitor in 2014. Stoking the discussion, the dynamic duo both agreed to lengthy and lucrative contract extensions just one day apart this past week: six years, $144.5MM for Trout and eight years, $248MM for Cabrera

In other news and notes from the American League:

  • Within the same article, Cafardo opines Jon Lester better be willing to accept less from the Red Sox than the six-year, $144MM proposal the Tigers made to Max Scherzer adding negotiations with the left-hander will be a true test of how much faith the club has in its top pitching prospects.
  • Lester addressed the media today, including WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (who provides a transcript of the extension-related portion of the presser) and contrasted his situation to Scherzer's. "Every situation is different, every negotiation is different, every person is different, so until it'€™s there in front of you with a pen to sign it, or not presented to you and you have to go the other way, then like I said, we'€™ll deal with that when it comes.
  • Contact lenses could be the key to the season for Red Sox's third baseman Will Middlebrooks, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. An eye test this spring revealed Middlebrooks' vision had deteriorated to 20-25 in his right eye and 20-30 in his left. "For everyday life, you’d never correct it," the 25-year-old said. "But for what I do, you need to be able to see the little things. Once I put them in, I could really see the spin on the ball. I was always just reading trajectory of the ball. I was never seeing the spin."
  • Pitching and offense are reasons why the Red Sox can repeat while history (no team has sucessfully defended its World Series title since 2000) and questions up the middle are reasons why they won't, writes CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam
  • Tigers President/CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski told MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) he had the financial wherewithal to extend both Cabrera and Scherzer. "We had both negotiations going simultaneously," said Dombrowski. "We were trying to sign both."
  • The Royals have had mixed results with their philsophy of developing pitchers, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. The organization believes you need 10 pitching prospects to deliver one to the Majors and that has worked in developing relievers, but only four prospects have started a game for Kansas City during GM Dayton Moore's seven-year tenure, McCullough notes.
  • The Astros have been active at the Trade Deadline the past two seasons, but that may not be the case this year, writes the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. "No question. This year's different," GM Jeff Luhnow told Drellich. "This year, we have veteran players. If they play well, we're likely to keep them as opposed to move them. There’s always going to be that temptation…we’ll balance all the factors, including the fact that we do want to show significant progress."  

Derek Jeter To Retire After 2014

Legendary Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced today on his Facebook page that he will retire after the 2014 season (hat tip to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, whose colleague Mark Feinsand tweets that agent Casey Close has confirmed the retirement). Jeter, who turns 40 in June, re-signed with the Yankees — the only franchise he's ever played for — earlier in the off-season. 

Jeter

The coming season will be Jeter's 20th MLB campaign (though he saw just 51 plate appearances in his first taste of MLB action at age 21). Taken with the sixth overall pick of the 1992 draft, Jeter performed consistently in his rise through the system, and never looked back upon making the Yankees. Since becoming a full-time big leaguer in 1996, Jeter went 17 straight years with at least 542 trips to the dish. Over that stretch, Jeter posted a composite .313/.382/.448 line with 255 home runs and 348 stolen bases. Needless to say, his standard of consistent excellence has been matched by few others.

That run of good health came to an end last year, which Jeter says is a major reason for his decision today. "Last year was a tough one for me," said Jeter. "As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle." 

Indeed, while things always did seem to come easily to the shortstop, he was perhaps better known for his hard work and leadership. The Yanks' emergence from mediocrity and notable run of success aligns quite clearly with his career: the team qualified for the post-season in all but two of Jeter's seasons (2008 and 2013). Over that span, the team won added five World Series victories to New York's tally. And Jeter was even better in the post-season, posting a lifetime .308/.374/.465 triple-slash in a remarkable 734 career post-season plate appearances.

Along the way, of course, Jeter racked up ample amounts of individual hardware, including 13 All-Star appearances, five Silver Sluggers, the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year Award, and the 2000 World Series MVP. Somewhat surprisingly, particularly given his high profile, he never took home an American League MVP nod.

He was also awarded five Gold Glove awards, somewhat more controversially. Proponents of advanced metrics argue that Jeter has actually been rather a poor defensive shortstop: though he makes few errors, neither does he have much range. (Jeter has been worth -147 Defensive Runs Saved and a -67.8 UZR.)

Whatever one thinks of Jeter as a defender, he has unquestionably put up a Hall of Fame-worthy career. That inevitability was likely sealed when he notched his 3,000th hit, but is also supported by the numbers. Jeter has racked up a total of 71.6 rWAR and 73.8 fWAR to date, which places him at 58th and 45th, respectively, on the all-time list of position players. As Dave Cameron of Fangraphs argues, Jeter falls short of only Cal Ripken in total production among full-time shortstops since Honus Wagner retired in 1917. (Though, to be fair, Jeter is quite close to several other shortstops in both fWAR and rWAR, and falls behind several of them according to the latter metric.)

Those wins did not come cheap, however. Once his 2014 earnings are in the bag, Jeter will have earned over $265MM over his career. For sake of comparison, Chipper Jones — who racked up 85.1 rWAR over 1995-2012 — took down nearly $100MM less in his time in the bigs. And Carlos Beltran, who has been worth 67.5 rWAR since 1998, will reach just under $206MM by the time his new contract expires after 2016.

For the Yankees, Jeter's retirement confirms what had been suspected: the team needs a new shortstop for 2015 and beyond. Though Brendan Ryan will remain under contract, he does not profile as a starter on a team that hopes to win championships. At least one team executive told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that he did not know that Jeter planned to retire (Twitter link), so it is at least conceivable that today's announcement could have some impact on whether New York looks to make any more moves before embarking on the 2014 season.


Yankees Notes: Morales, Cano, Jeter, Trades

Here's the latest from the Bronx…

  • The Yankees are interested in Kendrys Morales, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.  Despite Morales' history of leg injuries, Yankees scouts feel the switch-hitter could add first base depth behing Mark Teixeira in addition to taking regular DH at-bats.  I'm not sure Morales is a good fit given that the Yankees need to keep their DH spot relatively open for their other veterans on the roster.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted a two-year, $28MM deal for Morales, and given the draft pick compensation tied to him, I'd guess the Yankees would only make a move if they're unable to land other free targets.
  • Negotiations with Robinson Cano are expected to begin soon, Hal Steinbrenner told reporters (including Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger) during the GM Meetings.  “I’m sure in the next week we’re going to sit down and talk to him. We haven’t really had any communication on any specifics, yet. But it’s the beginning of the process," Steinbrenner said.
  • Steinbrenner didn't discuss anything beyond the 2014 season with Derek Jeter during the shortstop's recent contract talks.  "I don’t know that Derek has thought that far. He’s got a lot of thinking to do just getting to March. You know what I mean? And I think that’s his focus for right now," the managing general partner said.  We heard earlier this week that Steinbrenner himself who negotiated Jeter's one-year, $12MM deal for 2014.
  • Also during the talk, Steinbrenner discussed such topics as the Alex Rodriguez situation and the Yankees' recent struggles in player development.
  • The Yankees don't have have many prime trade chips, but Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog puts Ivan Nova as the best chip on the team's roster.  It seems unlikely that New York would consider trading Nova, however, as the Yankees need both starters and relatively inexpensive players under team control.

AL East Rumors: Salty, Lackey, Kazmir, Red Sox, O’s

The news is coming in fast and furious today out of Orlando, where our own Steve Adams is on the scene.  Here's the very latest out of the AL East..

  • The Jarrod Saltalamacchia market remains quiet, but the Red Sox would take him back on a shorter deal, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.  Meanwhile, Salty is looking for at least three to four years.
  • More from Edes (link), who tweets that the Red Sox have used their time at the GM Meetings to gauge interest from clubs in their veteran starting pitchers, including John Lackey.
  • A Yankees contingent, led by managing partner Hal Steinbrenner, met with the agents for Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Brian McCann and presumably other free agents at the GM Meetings, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Meanwhile, Steinbrenner has talked with Derek Jeter about the possibility of signing a starting shortstop and he is said to understand their position.  The Bombers could be loaded with shortstop options in 2014: they like Drew and a possible signing of Brendan Ryan won't preclude them from making that happen.
  • Scott Kazmir is high on the Orioles' list of free agent pitching candidates, tweets Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. 
  • The Red Sox need a catcher but don't want to block their prospects so Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (link) could see a two-year deal at a lofty rate for a backstop.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com explained why Lackey's average annual value isn't calculated any differently as a result of the minimum salary that he will earn in 2015.  A clause in Lackey's deal calls for him to make the minimum with the Red Sox in '15 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
  • Check out this morning's collection of news out of the AL East.

Yankees Notes: Granderson, Jeter, Chavez, Joba

By all accounts, it looks like the Yankees will be big players in free agency this winter, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes.  The Yankees may have at least a dozen players in mind, and Heyman adds the names of Scott Feldman and Bronson Arroyo to the long list of free agents who have already been linked to the Bombers.  One would suspect that Feldman and Arroyo would be backup plans should New York not be able to land a higher-profile starter like Masahiro Tanaka.  Here's the latest out of the Bronx…

  • The Yankees "obviously" want Curtis Granderson to reject the team's $14.1MM qualifying offer so they can pursue other free agent outfield options.  While Granderson says he's still considering accepting the one-year deal, he seems likely to find a solid multiyear offer on the open market, his injury-shortened 2013 season notwithstanding.
  • Hal Steinbrenner was the one who negotiated Derek Jeter's one-year, $12MM deal for 2014, Heyman reports.  Steinbrenner is "very involved" in the team's dealings this winter, according to a source.
  • The Yankees have discussed bringing back Eric Chavez, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports.  Chavez would provide needed bench depth, and he wouldn't require a big commitment since he only wants a one-year contract.  There does seem to be mutual interest between Chavez and the Diamondbacks for 2014, however.
  • Joba Chamberlain hasn't received any attention from the Yankees but over a dozen other clubs have checked in on the free agent reliever, WFAN's Sweeney Murti reports (Twitter link).  It has been widely reported that the Yankees will part ways with their former top prospect.
  • The 10-year contracts given to Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols when both men were in their 30's are reasons why the Yankees shouldn't make a decade-long commitment to 31-year-old Robinson Cano, MLB.com's Mike Bauman opines.

Yankees Re-Sign Jeter To One-Year, $12MM Deal

8:07pm: It is not yet clear whether the Jeter accounting saga is resolved, but Sherman has provided a full breakdown of what is apparently the most convoluted Competitive Balance Tax calculation yet encountered. The net, Sherman reiterates, is that Jeter's player option would have registered an approximately $10.75MM hit, while his new deal will count for $12.81MM.

You'll need to read the piece for the complete details, but the causal agent in this odd scenario is a CBA provision that addresses contracts, like Jeter's, that have cheap options attached. Pursuant to that (unspecified) clause, Sherman says, the Yanks were charged a prorated portion of the option year value in each of the first three years of the deal, which in turn required yet more maneuvering in calculating the present cap hit.

4:07pm: Sherman tweets that the MLBPA is arguing with the Commissioner's Office over how the luxury tax calculations are being handled, adding that new numbers are coming.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports chimes in, noting that the contract now will save the Yankees a bit of money over what the option would have saved. The Yankees will save roughly $1MM, with $12.8-$13.2MM counting against the luxury tax for reasons that are "too complicated to explain," as Rosenthal puts it (all Twitter links).

1:36pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the common belief that this deal saves the Yankees from the luxury tax threshold is a misconception. According to Sherman, given the way that the luxury tax is computed, this deal will count more significantly against the luxury tax than Jeter's player option would have. Had Jeter exercised that option, $10.75MM would have gone against the luxury tax in 2014, says Sherman, but this new deal will count $12.8MM toward the luxury tax (Twitter links)

12:20pm: The Yankees announced that have re-signed shortstop Derek Jeter to a one-year deal worth $12MM. Jeter, who is represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management, had a $9.5MM player option on his previous contract, but this deal will override that option.  Jeter-Derek

The long-time Yankee Captain will turn 40 next June and appeared in just 17 games this season, making the decision to give him a $2.5MM raise on his option a curious one. However, by agreeing to a new deal, Jeter is no longer on his old contract, the average annual value (AAV) of which counted against the luxury tax. Had he exercised his player option, Jeter would've added $6.5MM to the AAV of his three-year, $51MM contract ($3MM of the option was guaranteed in the form of a buyout). Doing so would have raised his AAV to $14.375MM. Instead, his $12MM contract will be the number that counts against the luxury tax, thereby actually saving the Yankees $2.375MM relative to the luxury tax.

Jeter underwent surgery to repair a broken ankle last October and missed the majority of the season recovering from inflammation in his surgically repaired foot. Upon activation, he encountered a pair of DL stints for calf and quadriceps strains. In his 17 games, Jeter batted .190/.288/.254 with a home run. However, he's just one year removed from a campaign that saw him hit .316/.362/.429 with 15 homers en route to his fifth career Silver Slugger award.

The Yankees sorely missed Jeter's production in 2013, as their shortstops combined to bat a woeful .228/.283/.308 on the season. While those numbers do include 17 games of an injury-hobbled Jeter, his bat will be an unquestionable boon to that lineup in 2014, if he's healthy. The Yankees deployed a mix of Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, Luis Cruz, Brendan Ryan, Alberto Gonzalez and Reid Brignac at the position in 2013.

By addressing Jeter's situation during the five-day exclusive period following completion of the World Series, Yankees GM Brian Cashman allows himself to focus on other pressing offseason issues, most notably the status of impending free agent Robinson Cano.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


East Notes: Haren, Jeter, Abreu

The Yankees and Nationals discussed a possible Dan Haren deal last weekend, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. The two sides never came close to making a trade, and Rosenthal suggests that money might have been part of the reason why — Haren would have only started three times for the Yankees (and wouldn't have been eligible for the playoffs, if the Yankees were to win a spot), but he was still due about $1.5MM in salary. The Yankees' interest stemmed from the recent troubles of Phil Hughes and David Huff.

  • Yankees icon Derek Jeter should consider retiring, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Heyman argues that, after a season ruined by injury, Jeter faces a future in which he might just be a utility player, and that would be an undignified end to a great career. Playing well at shortstop at age 40 is very difficult, and Jeter will face an uphill battle if he tries to return next season.
  • The Red Sox have joined the Giants as teams who are scouting Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu in the Dominican Republic, Dionisio Soldevila of ESPNDeportes.com tweets. We've already heard reports of the Red Sox's interest in Abreu, and Boston seems like a good fit for Abreu — the Red Sox have the financial resources to sign him, and Mike Napoli becomes a free agent after the season.