It’s been all over the baseball wires this week: The San Diego Padres have pulled their offer for closer Trevor Hoffman, and by all appearances he won’t be back with the team in 2009. This is not going over well with San Diegoans (San Diegans). They’ve known Trevor since 1993, when he came over in a trade which sent Gary Sheffield to Florida. Since then he’s racked up 554 saves, more than anyone in major league history. To San Diegans, he is Mo.
We had a scare, albeit slight, last winter when Marino Rivera’s contract expired. Most of us were certain he’d re-sign, so we never really entertained the notion of life without Mo. I can’t imagine how the San Diegans feel right now, knowing that they won’t hear Hells Bells before the ninth inning in 2009.
This makes me think ahead to Derek Jeter’s contract, which expires after the 2010 season. You’d like to think Jeter and the Yanks will make swift work of it, banging out an amicable contract without any media hassle. At this point, why think anything else? But just for a second, ponder what it would be like if the Yankees muffed negotiations with Derek Jeter, and he wound up playing elsewhere in 2011. Can you even?
Back to the present, while it’s unfathomable to some of us that Derek Jeter would ever leave New York, that’s just the nature of the game now. We love to see players stick with one team their whole careers, but that’s not how things work any more. Players want to maximize their earnings while they’re still able. Teams don’t want to overpay for talent, as most work within a budget. The result is the player looking for a team which can afford to pay (or overpay) for his services. It can happen to anyone, even Derek Jeter. Though I still have to say, it’s not likely.
Hey, Jeter’s scheduled to make $21 million in 2010. If the Yankees bring him back, they’ll certainly not pay him $21 million a season, meaning he’s going to have to take a pay cut. Things could get messy when they start exchanging actual figures. So think about that. It’s probably how San Diegans feel right now.