Time for Jeter to Save Face

No matter how you hold the prism, the light coming through the other side indicates that Derek Jeter’s contract should be three years for $48 million. Yes, that is how we projected it a month ago in Athlon’s Free Agent Projections. And we’re sticking with that. No, Jeter is not worth $16 million per annum in baseball terms. He’ll never get that kind of money on the open market. In fact his real value is about $5 million per season to any other team.

For a little perspective, in 2005, at age 37, Omar Vizquel signed a three-year deal with the Giants for $12.25 million. Although Vizquel was a year older then than Jeter is now, Vizquel’s offensive numbers compare well to Jeter’s. In AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS during their respective contract seasons, Jeter logged .270/.340/.370/.710; Vizquel .291/.353/.388/.741. The edge clearly is in favor of Vizquel. The Indians’ shortstop batted second behind Matt Lawton and Ronnie Belliard and ahead of Lawton and Jody Gerut, so forgive him if he scored 29 fewer runs than Jeter, who led off with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hitting 3-4-5. Vizquel stole one more base than Jeter, and struck out 44 fewer times. Does Derek Jeter really bring more to the baseball diamond in 2011 than Omar Vizquel did in 2005? Probably, but how much more?

What would a three-year, $12.25 million deal in 2005 be worth today? Probably about $15.7 million. That’s for THREE years, not per season.
But the Yankees can’t afford for their captain to get his 3,000th hit in any other uniform. And it’s realistic for the Yankees to triple market value to retain their captain. So, because the Yankees are the Yankees and Jeter is Jeter, we’ll stick with a value of $48 million for three years. Jeter, sir, if you don’t like that, good luck getting that cash somewhere else.

The guess here is that Jeter and Brian Cashman will have lunch together, just the two of them, and a deal will be signed within hours.

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