The Internet can be a dangerous place during the Hot Stove League. Anyone with a computer and an idea can start a rumor, and it’s tough to know what information is reliable and accurate and what is not. Even established reporters — Jon Heyman comes to mind — tend to tie teams to many available big names, and we’re left trying to sort out noise from reality.
Late last night, we came upon an update on Twitter from someone who calls herself TheSportsDiva23 and with the initials SW. This person says she covers the Yankees but cannot reveal her name. After an extensive look back through her 2400 updates, we felt comfortable enough mentioning this update not so much to report it as a bona fide rumor but to use it as a starting point for a discussion on Derek Jeter.
First, the rumors: According to two posts on this person’s Twitter timeline (1, 2), the Yankees may be gearing up to offer Derek Jeter a three-year deal worth $60 million. Supposedly, this deal would be wrapped up before Thanksgiving.
We don’t know if this deal would supplant the final year of Jeter’s current contract and extend him for two more seasons at $20 million per. We don’t know if this deal would be a three-year extension to carry Jeter through 2013, his age 39 season. We don’t, in fact, know if we should even trust this source at all.
So then why even mention it all, regular readers of RAB might wonder. After all, we tend to shy away from rumors we don’t believe have legs. Now, this anonymous person’s claim may not have legs, but to extend Derek Jeter is a question we’ve pondered this season. In early September, we noted that the Yanks planned to take care of Jeter but probably wouldn’t — and shouldn’t — extend him until after his contract runs out.
I still believe that the Yanks should wait until after next year to extend Derek Jeter. After all, as a 35-year-old short stop — the oldest player to win a World Series at that position in over half a century — Jeter is ripe for more money than he deserves. He just set the Yanks’ career hits record, and he should place in the top five in the AL MVP voting. Jeter’s agent should want to sign that extension now while the Yanks should want to wait a year.
But let’s say the Yanks would rather not allow their captain to touch free agency and don’t want a lame duck season swirling over their heads. Is a $60 million offer that covers the 2010-2012 period reasonable? For Jeter, those seasons are going to be his ages 36-38 years, but he probably won’t readily move off of short stop. Whether that is a liability or a benefit for the Yanks will depend entirely on Derek’s offense prowess.
Since 2006, Derek has earned a per annum salary of over $20 million. The Yanks, in fact, have doled out approximately $85.4 million over the last four seasons to their captain while getting back $88.8 million in production, according to Fangraphs. To continue to pay him a lofty salary would be to pay him for services rendered and not, at this point in his career, expected return and value. Considering who he is, the Yanks can get away with overpaying Jeter if it comes to it.
And so we’re left with a rumor from an unnamed source we are led to believe is a Twitter account of someone close to the Yankees. If it’s real, indications suggested that it could be Suzyn Waldman; if it’s fake, well, that’s quite an undertaking. Either way, we can still consider if the franchise should extend Jeter now or wait until after next year.
In the end, I take the rumor with a giant grain of salt and assume, until we start to hear otherwise, that it has no legs. But those in charge of the Yankees are probably giving some thought to re-upping with Derek Jeter now. His asking price might be too high, but he’s going to get overpaid no matter what. Better, perhaps, to get it over with.