Now that Derek Jeter is only a half a season away from free agency and hitting just .275/.342/.392 on the year, the issue of his impending contract situation is starting to become more urgent. While Jeter isn’t playing up to the lofty standards he has set for himself, he’s not doing anything worse than most other 36-year-old short stops, but the Yankees have publicly stated that they will “take care of him” come November. Today, Joel Sherman opines on Derek’s situation and notes that the Yanks have so far been justified when they decided not to extend Jeter after the 2009 season. “At this point,” Sherman asks, “if his name were not Derek Jeter, who would even give him a one-year, $10 million contract when this sure looks like late-30s decline?”
Right now, Jeter’s production puts him in line with a Marco Scutaro-type player, worth around $7-$8 million a season, and the Yankees’ front office clearly recognizes that Jeter won’t get better as he climbs through his late 30s. We’ll have more on the Captain over the next few weeks, but Jeter’s role on the team both this year and into the future is, as Sherman wrote today, one of the more pressing issues facing the Yanks as they begin their drive toward October.