The off season is getting older and older each day and Derek Jeter still does not have a contract with the Yankees. We know he was offered about a three-year 45 million dollar contract. Jeter and his agent Casey Close are looking for a five-year 110-120 million dollar contract. You can believe that they can’t be that far apart for long. Or can they bet that far apart for a long time? Brian Cashman said he does not want to put all his eggs in one basket.
What does he mean by that statement? We are talking about the most popular Yankee perhaps since Mickey Mantle. Let’s break down the Yankees contract obligations for 2011. They owe A-Rod 31 million, C.C. 23 million, Tex 22.5 million, A.J Burnett 16.5 million, Posada 13.1 million Cano 11 million and nine million for Swisher. Add 16 million for Mo (he’s looking for a raise also) and say 22.5 million when/if they acquire Cliff Lee. That totals 164.5 million dollars. They need another pitcher when/if Pettitte retires so that will be another 15 million. When you add the rest of the team it equals over 200 million without Jeter’s contract.
I can see Jeter’s side although I side more with the Yankees. If he makes 15 million that is half what A-Rod makes. Most Yankee fans would agree that Jeter means more to the Yankees than A-Rod so he should be making as much as he is if not more. I can see how 15 million for just three years can be insulting to Jeter. What happens after three years? Is that all he has left in a Yankee uniform? If the contract talks stay far apart he might not even be a Yankee ever again. What are his options? Here’s a look at potential teams and their depth at shortstop.
1. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: It’s all over the internet today that the GM for the Giants Brian Sabean called to inquire about Jeter with his agent Casey Close. They just lost Juan Uribe to the Dodgers pending a physical for three years 21 million. Edgar Renteria is most likely not coming back to the Giants. Looking at their farm system they hardly have anyone ready to take over at SS. Emmanuel Burriss played 36 games at shortstop at AAA Fresno making six errors. He has a career .264 batting average with one home run in 447 at bats. An intriguing selection is they still have Mark DeRosa locked up at six million dollars next year. The former super-utility player who was injured most of last year has played two games at shortstop in the last four years. I figure if they are paying him six million they could at least try him there right? Maybe not, they need a shortstop.
2. MINNESOTA TWINS : If you can’t beat the Yankees why not acquire their most beloved player? The Twins are another team that needs a shortstop. They can sign JJ Hardy again to hit six home runs knock in 38 runs and bat .268. Here’s what Ron Gardenhire has to say about JJ: “We like Hardy a lot. He’s a great guy, great teammate, and we believe when he’s healthy he’s solid at shortstop. But when you start looking at speed and everything, and other options, that’s one of the areas we’re going to look at options at and see if we can find more speed — a little more versatility out there,” Gardenhire told ESPN 1500 am Twin Cities. In other words they need a shortstop. They have former 2004 first round 20th overall draft pick Trevor Plouffe at AAA who hit .244 with 15 home runs and only 11 errors playing 92 games at shortstop. He was called up for the first time in six years at hit .146 in 41 at bats. O.k. so they overspent on Mauer (Yes, I mean that. I will save the reason for that comment for another article) Why not take the plunge on Jeter too?
3. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: The Brendan Ryan/Tyler Green platoon didn’t work. Renteria is a possibility, but I don’t think the Cardinals are really enthused on bringing him back despite his World Series heroics. Down on the farm there really is nobody available. They have Peter Kozma who hit 13 home runs and drove in 72 runs at AA while making 34 errors at shortstop. They have the money even though they might need to save most of it for Pujols after next year.
4. BALTIMORE ORIOLES: I sent my list to a friend of teams interested in Jeter and he mentioned the Orioles. I wrote him back saying they need pitching and power bats not an overpriced shortstop coming off his worst offensive year since he was a rookie. I told him I thought they were happy with Cesar Izturis at SS. I didn’t know that Cesar was a free agent and hit only .230 with one home run. He’s an all field no hit type of player. So the Orioles need a shortstop also. They also are willing to make a splash in the free agent market. They have virtually nobody on the farm. Their AAA shortstop Robert Andino has six home runs with a career .226 batting average over six years up and down in the majors.
5. LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM: Gosh, I’ve never actually written that out before. Why can’t they still be the Anaheim Angels or the California Angels? Anyways, they have Erick Aybar at SS. He’s due for arbitration and will probably make 4-5 million. He made a little over two million last year. The Angels still view him as their future SS, but they also have big money to spend. If they lose out on Carl Crawford they will have that big money left. Would they consider throwing it Jeter’s way?
6. CINCINATTI REDS: They were originally higher on my list. Looking at their depth made me drop them further. Paul Janish is their incumbent SS if Orlando Cabrera does not come back. Cabrera was denied arbitration and will probably shop around. I remember Dusty Baker saying that Janish was one the best defensive shortstops in the game a few years ago. He hit 5 home runs in 200 at bats in 2010. Give him 500-600 at bats he could hit 12-15 maybe. Janish is not eligible for arbitration until 2012. The Reds have Zack Cozart at AAA who hit 17 home runs drove in 67 runs with 15 errors at SS. Todd Frazier at AAA had similar offensive numbers and has expressed an interest in playing SS also.
7. WASHINGTON NATIONALS: They have Ian Desmond poised to take over at SS next year. He hit 10 home runs drove in 65 runs while making 34 errors at SS. Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden said the Nationals were willing to offer Mark Teixera more money than the Yankees but he had already made his decision to sign with the Yankees. The Nationals have money to spend and are willing to spend even if they have to overspend. Could Jeter become the face of the Nationals if offered enough money and years?