Aug
18

For key Yanks, age is more than just a number

By

When the 2009 Yankees won the World Series, they did so by defying history. Their catcher was a 37-year-old who homered 22 times and posted an OPS+ of 133 while playing just 111 games; their third baseman, 33, hit 30 home runs with an OPS+ of 147 while missing 38 games; their short stop, 35, had a career year with a .334/.406/.465 batting line. In fact, no team since the 1950s had captured a World Championship with a short stop that old, and the Yankees played as though age meant nothing.

Seemingly as retribution for the magical October of 2009, Father Time has come roaring back with a vengeance this year. Jorge Posada, who just turned 39 yesterday, might have tied his career high with 3 stolen bases, but his other numbers aren’t looking too pretty. He’s played in just 85 of the team’s 119 games, and he’s caught only 451.1 innings, over 120 fewer than Francisco Cervelli. His triple slash line — .253/.361/.451 — is great for a sometimes-catcher, but he’s probably going to post full-season lows in home runs and batting average while his slugging and OBP are well below career norms. After last year’s stellar season, his injury-plagued 2010 has been a disappointment.

Meanwhile, on the left side of the infield, the Yanks are facing similar problems. A-Rod, battling tendinitis in his hip and now a calf strain, is hitting just .265/.334/.486 with 21 home runs and is on pace for career lows in his rate stats. His streak of 30-home run seasons, currently at 12, is in jeopardy. Derek Jeter has stayed healthy this year, but he’s batting just .279/.341/.387, well off his career .315/.385/.455 line, and his only home run since June 12 was an inside-the-parker that happened when David DeJesus broke a finger. Not surprisingly, Jeter and A-Rod are rated below average defensively as well.

The only group of people more in denial over aging baseball players than the players themselves are fans. We don’t like to hear that Derek Jeter, a Yankee since I was 12, is getting old. We don’t want to see Jorge Posada break down as the wear and tear of being a 39-year-old catcher begins to take its toll. We don’t want to admit that Alex Rodriguez might be mortal. Yet, we can’t deny it. As Andy Pettitte‘s groin lingers, as A-Rod’s legs cry out for regular rest, we see these stalwarts getting older. What though are the Yankees to do?

For the Bombers, this trio of position players presents the organization with a crossroads of sorts. Since 2004, the Yanks have been about Derek and Alex and Jorge with a cast of supporting characters. Now, it’s time for the supporting characters to take center stage. The younger guys — Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson — are good enough to be stars in their own rights. Cano, who has slowed lately, is having an MVP-caliber season from second base, and after a horrendously slow start, Mark Teixeira leads the Yanks in home runs. Swisher has flirted with a .300 batting average and a .900 OPS for the last few weeks, and even Curtis Granderson is showing signs of life.

But larger questions loom. A-Rod is under contract through 2017, and the Yankees have to figure out a way to restore him to health. He needs regular rest but hasn’t gotten it. Derek Jeter’s contract situation is the looming albatross around the organization’s neck. Can the Yankees give him a long-term deal for top dollar when he isn’t worth the money on the field or the commitment in terms of years? And what of Jorge Posada? Will he have the dignity to retire after 2011 when his contract up or will the Yanks again be confronted with a face-off between sentimentality and nostalgia on one side and the reality of age on another?

This month, we’ve seen a malaise envelope the Yankees as they’ve staggered through a 7-9 stretch of play. They’re still in first place; they still have a solid lead on a playoff spot; they’ve still scored more runs than any other team in baseball. Yet, Father Time is knocking, and if it isn’t the quite the last gasp for the older players, the end is nearing. No one likes to contemplate that looming baseball mortality.

Categories : Musings
  • http://twitter.com/stephen_mr Stephen R.

    Lovely piece.

    It’s interesting that the celebrated Core 4 has had such a tough year. Jeter is having one of the worst years of his career. Posada is hitting the heck out of the ball, but can’t catch consistently and has nagging injuries. Pettitte has been hurt for a month and has weeks to go until recovery. Rivera is…Rivera.

    My point is that age-related declines and injuries are inevitable. So, as you astutely pointed out, it’s time for the young guys and the big money guys to step up.

    • http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net Brien Jackson

      “My point is that age-related declines and injuries are inevitable. ”

      Unless you’re Mo.

      • Tank Foster

        Mo is declining. He’s just incredibly resourceful at compensating for it, or hiding it, depending on how you look at it.

        Obviously, the numbers aren’t declining. But you can see the difference in his pitching.

        The cutter isn’t as dominant, nearly. So he throws more sinker/2 seamers now.

        His athletic mind is incredible. He has the ability to adapt; he wasn’t afraid to keep throwing one pitch when he was young (even though everyone probably said ‘you can’t do that’), and he isn’t afraid to move away from that pitch when he needs to.

        But I don’t think he’s as overpowering…he’s smarter.

        Like sawing a board….you can saw the board almost completely across, and it will still be strong enough to stay intact. Then, with one saw stroke, the board breaks under its own weight.

        One day, Mo is going to come into a game, and get hit. And then the next day, and the next day after that, and we’ll know it’s over.

        Unless he decides to pull a Moose and leave after this season’s WS win.

  • Klemy

    Being in the downside of my 30s now, this stuff really depresses me. Having watched these players, almost daily during the season, since they came up makes me sad to know that the end is near. Most of my adult life I’ve been spoiled watching these specific players who are all reaching their end and it reminds me of my own aging.

    It’s been a great ride and I’m going to try to cherish what there is left. I know there will be plenty of times I’m telling stories to my son about these guys as he grows up.

    • Evan in NYC

      You can share the experiences of Jesus together!

    • Scout

      I’m somewhat older, which gives me the advantage of perspective — I’ve seen several generations of Yankee heroes age and I’ve learned to move on. That is what the organization needs to do. To be successful requires a degree of cold-blooded ruthlessness. There’s no way around it. Let sentiment govern your actions and you’ll end up an also-ran. The same fans who will clamor for the Yankees to give Jeter what he “deserves” this winter — egged on by the mdeia, of course — will be the first to complain that he’s over the hill next summer when more grounders scoot by , his jump throws arrive a second late, and he pounds another ground ball into a DP.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        +1

        Also, giving a Jeter a huge contract that his play doesn’t merit won’t be doing him any favors. If he starts to really struggle, while saddled with the tag of being wildly overplayed, it’s only going to cause his last few years of decline to be uglier, more spiteful, and ungraceful. And if there’s anything that defines Derek Jeter, it’s grace.

  • http://MattOnEarth.blogspot.com Matt on Earth

    I try my hardest to invest myself emotionally into the team instead of the players for just this reason. Guys like Posada and Jeter are staples of the organization that I have known for much of my life and I’d hate to see them go. When they do go, they’ll certainly be missed. However, I hope for the sake of the team, the fans, and themselves, they choose the Mike Mussina route and leave on top. I’d hate to see those guys relegated to (expensive) secondary roles. I wrote about this topic on my own blog pertaining to Jeter, in case anyone is interested.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Can we start calling them “The Sore Four”?

    Bahahahaha. I kill me.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      No? Nothing? Crickets?

      How about “The Dour Four”?

    • theyankeewarrior

      I grinned…

  • http://canyonofheroes.wordpress.com/ matt montero

    I heard one of the worst comments by a Yankee fan (was watching with a group of Yankees “fans” but only two were my friends). A guy I didn’t know said that if Jeter was the one who was paid ridiculous money until 2017, he would gradly forget about the contract and resign like a 3 year, cheaper contract!

  • Pete

    /depressing’d

  • Brian in NH

    Ideally here’s what would happen:

    Posada: Retires after 2011 season clearing way for Montero or Romine to share some catching duties with a veteran backup
    Jeter: takes a short deal for a couple years (at most) plays sub-par defense at SS. If he declines enough at the plate maybe he calls it a career at that point? Unsure of who would replace Jeter at short. Maybe a short term fill-in (from outside or within) until a really good prospect makes his way up (we can only hope that Cito could do this)
    A-Rod: If these hip issues continue with him he’ll likely need to become a full-time DH very soon who can still backup at 3B or 1B if need be through 2017. Not sure on replacement…maybe Laird can fake it at 3B for a short time?
    Pettite: Wouldn’t be surprised if he retired after this year, more likely after 2011. I think what we have in the farm, plus signing Lee will more than makeup for losing Pettite, as great as he’s been the last two years.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      IDEALLY, they play as long as they want at peak production.

      • Brian in NH

        Yes but I think we all know that they are likely past peak production. I guess this is not ideally..but maybe the ideal scenario with realistic expectations of future performance.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          I know what you meant. I was being an ass. It’s my specialty. But I agree with your assessment

    • RL

      Largely agree with this. Would love to see:

      Jeter: Sign for 3 years (maybe 20M/yr) and be productive batting and fielding for all 3 then retire and move into a FO role (productive meaning somewhat below average fielding, ~.285/.370/.450)
      Pettite: Return for one more solid year (12-15 wins, near 4.00 ERA)
      Posada: Retire after 2011 or move to a part-time DH role for an additional year while mentoring the new, young catchers
      ARod: be productive for the next 3 years, moving more towards a DH role after next year and then consider retiring before his contract ends if his batting skills decline

      • Guest

        Lets say A-Rod retires after three more years. You say say he’s productive for the next three years, so lets say that he hits 90 hrs in the next three years and 9 more this year, leaving him at 704 HRs.

        I believe that means he would miss out on 3 of his HR escalator clauses and 18 million dollars. I believe he would average about 20 million on his contract for the last four years of his conract. You add that all up and that is about 98 Million dollars.

        Repeated for emphasis 98 Million dollars. When, in the history of sport, have you ever seen a player retire when they were UNDER CONTRACT for 98 million dollars. Again, this isn’t the opportunity to make 98 million dollars. Its 98 million dollars of previously made money. It’s already owed to him. Barring get his contract voided, the only way he would not be paid this money is to retire.

        Personally, I would never leave that much money on the table. Ever. And I don’t care how much money one has made in life, you don’t throw away the opportunity to make 98 million dollars more. And, if you say that he is still productive over the enxt three years (though not quite A-Rodian), I can’t imagine he would be sufficiently embarrased to say thanks but no thanks to the Grosss Domestic product of a small third world country.

        Terrible deal for the Yanks from the moment they signed it (especially since they were only bidding against themselves). But let’s not begin thinking A-Rod might let them of the hook by walking away. He won’t. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The Yankees messed up. He didn’t.

  • YanksFan

    I think Jorge will retire at the end of his contract but age is not the reason for his missed time, being a catcher is. The age plays into him by not being able to recuperate as fast.

    Jeter & Arod are bigger worries since they will be around a while. I firmly hope that the Captain does take a little less per year for his new contract. I would love for $18/per instead of the $20-22/per.

    Thankfully they have some younger guys on the team that are capable of stepping in & hopefully Jeter/Arod can take more secondary roles, which is life.

    • Doug

      think we should be more concerned about the length of jeter’s next contract and not the $

      • RL

        This!

        • YanksFan

          Agreed, but I don’t see it being more than 4 years. Or 4 plus mutual options.

      • cr1

        That should be true for every single contract with NYY.

        I’ve been a fan for a very long time and I can’t remember the last time that the big problem with a contract was money. But length has been a problem with far too many.

        So while I agree with you, I don’t think it’s as much about Jeter as about the tendency of the NYY FO to cave way too easily on the issue of length of contracts with all sorts of players, most of them far more likely than he to be nothing but a problem on the back end of their tenure.

  • Rose

    Wouldn’t this be all the more reason to hold onto Jesus Montero (even if they don’t think he’ll be a catcher)?

    If they’re getting injured at this age…odds are they will be more prone to getting injured as they get older. Even if they are just the DH.

    If Arod becomes a Ramiro Pena (without the glove) in his last few years (in his 40′s)…do you continue to play him just because he’s making 30 million dollars? I think by that point you just cut the check, hand it to him, and do what’s right for the team.

    Posada will more than likely retire after next year. Andy Pettitte will probably do the same. But having Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez on the Yankees (playing in the field no less) into their 40′s is ridiculous.

    • Ross in Jersey

      Once A-rod gets into his 40′s he’s pretty much going to be a fulltime DH. I don’t see any way around that. Jeter? Who knows. I really hope they don’t give him too many years.

    • Brian in NH

      He could retire…I don’t know whats going on in A-Rod’s head but maybe he hits 38-39-40, at this point he’s a full-time DH and if he’s hitting in the low .200′s and no power at all..maybe he realizes this, swallows his pride and retires. Some guys walk away from money if they know they can’t perform at their high standards anymore. also, i don’t know if baseball contracts still need to be paid of the player retires (but they do if they are injured, although I think teams are insured with this)

      • Doug

        “Some guys walk away from money if they know they can’t perform at their high standards anymore.”

        guaranteed money? who?

        • Scout

          Really. Name someone who quit rather than collect roughly $15 million/year. The best the Yankees could hope for would be a buy-out, with a large up-front payment. And that’s not even considering what the union would say.

        • http://canyonofheroes.wordpress.com/ matt montero

          Brett Favre

          • theyankeewarrior

            Huh?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              “Sure, Favre got more money, 3 million more from 13M to 16M, plus a chance to earn an extra 4M in incentives. But it’s not a matter of ‘he did this for the money’, he really did this for the love of the game.”

              -an actual quote from John Clayton on ESPN today

              • Johnny O

                When saying this, did Clayton still have Favre’s balls on his forehead?

                /t-bag’d

            • http://canyonofheroes.wordpress.com/ matt montero

              Scout said name one player who would turn down the money. Brett Favre did… oh wait he’s coming nevermind

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Albert Belle?

          Chipper Jones? Scratch that, he now says he’s going to try to come back in ST. Shocker.

      • Ross in Jersey

        Wha? You do realize that A-rod, despite having his worst year, is still a top 3 third baseman? Saying he’s going to be hitting .200 with no power two years from now seems a bit ridiculous. A guy at his talent level won’t drop off THAT much, and (call me overly optomistic) he can still rebound and have a few more good years.

        • Brian in NH

          ok..stranger things have happened. But his production could fall off a cliff. A very old former steroid user could easily deteriorate quickly enough within 5 years.

        • Ed

          It’s not totally absurd. Look how Lowell fell off a cliff after his hip injury. While an age based decline for A-Rod should leave us with a very good player for years, the wild card is his hip giving out and causing a rapid decline.

          • Total Dominication

            To compare Mike Lowell to Alex Rodrigue is an insult to comparisons.

      • prime

        With both Jeter and Arod, even in their decline, they’re going to move up on baseball’s all time lists– hits, runs, HRs, RBIs. Even if they won’t admit it, it has to mean something to them (steroids notwithstanding). I guess in theory with AROD, they can actually save money by him not passing records, but I think at the very least, it keeps the fans interested.

  • AndrewYF

    HOF-level talent has a supreme ability to ‘bounce back’ to acceptable levels of production. We’ve seen this plenty of times with just these players. This season, while being tough, in no way definitively means the end of elite-level production for these players.

    Okay, maybe for Jeter, because I’m pretty sure no one has ever remained all that productive at SS beyond his age 36 season. But then again, Jeter has defied expectations before, and someone has to be first.

    • CountryClub

      We all agree that this is a down year for Jeter. But that’s the key point…it’s a down year for Jeter. His production as a SS is still far superior to all but 6 or 7 (maybe fewer) of the other SS’s in baseball.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Perhaps we’d be best served making a concerted effort to find near-starting-caliber backups for all three of them, so we can rotate them through DH or give them full days off without the offense missing much.

    Promoting Montero next year to be Posada’s caddy makes sense (although we’d be served demoting Cervelli and getting a better 3rd catcher for safety’s sake). As for 3B and SS, that’s tougher. Could we overpay Cristian Guzman or J.J. Hardy to be just sometime-starters? Would Ty Wigginton or Jorge Cantu do the same to be ARod’s timeshare partner?

    If we don’t sign a marquee 5th starter and just roll with a CC-Lee-Hughes-AJ foursome and let Joba/Nova/McAllister/Phelps/STNRI/etc. battle it out for the final rotation spot, we could theoretically take the Andy Pettitte money and spend it on an insanely talented bench, which might be the best idea considering how much rest our aging vets need.

    2011:
    2-Jorge
    3-Tex
    4-Robbie
    5-ARod
    6-Jeter
    7-Gardner
    8-Granderson
    9-Swisher
    DH-timeshare (see below)

    Bench:
    C-Montero
    C-John Buck
    IF-Guzman
    IF/OF-Wigginton
    OF-Kearns?

    DH could then be a timeshare of Wigginton/Montero/Kearns when the old guys are all playing the field, or ARod/Jeter/Posada when someone needs a half-day.

    • Ross in Jersey

      I don’t think you can waste money signing players that good who may never play. What if A-rod plays 130 games next year? Is Cashman really going to spend Guzman or Wigginton money so they can play 30 games?

      Going into the season, I expect them to do the same thing they did this year. Call up the Colin Curtis’s and Kevin Russo’s of the world, then make deals at the trade deadline if you need upgrades. It worked out fine this year with Jeter and A-rod getting off to awful starts.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        In the abstract, I’d agree, you don’t want to spend 8-10M to have Ty Wigginton and Cristian Guzman only playing in 20-40% of your games as bench players.

        In the abstract, however, your team wouldn’t be relying on a 36 year old shortstop and a 35 year old third baseman as key offensive contributors for the next half decade. We’re going to have two future hall of famers on the wrong side of 35 as fixtures in our lineup and ledger sheet, making upwards of 40M between them for the foreseeable future, and we need to keep them healthy and productive at all costs (or it’ll cost us.)

        We’re in uncharted waters here; we may have to throw conventional wisdom out the window.

    • Andrew

      tsjc you don’t think Pettitte will come back for 2011? I understand it’s all a year-to-year thing with him, but considering his injury this year wasn’t arm-related and he pitched so well prior to his strain, I find it hard to believe he’ll just walk away, unless his return from the groin injury in September/October goes really poorly.

      I like your ideas about fortifying the bench, though. The biggest needs look to be someone who can fill in at 3rd and can hit, as well as a better reserve catcher than Cervelli. Hopefully they put faith in Montero to be that C and ease him in, but backup infielder will be a real important signing going into next season.

      • RL

        I can definitely see Pettite coming back for one more. Also agree a solid backup IF is needed, as I believe both ARod & Jeter will need somewhat regular rest. You could probably arrange for 70-80 games even if no injuries arise. Perhaps just 1 strong backup IF signing could do it. A 3rd C to allow plenty of DH time for Posado and allow Montero to ease into the position full time would also make sense. Hoping for the best next year and still hopefull they’ll remain on top this year and bring home #28 befoire the transition to the next generation fully begins.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I can see Pettitte coming back for another year as well. My post is saying, we might be best served NOT having him come back if the cost of him coming back is not having money to acquire a top-flight bench to spell ARod, Jeter, and Posada, because they need a lot of rest.

          Just a theory.

          • RL

            And as you point out, being in uncharted territory, conventional thinking needs to bo the window. You make a very good point here with Pettite.

            • RL

              And as you point out, being in uncharted territory, conventional thinking needs to bo go out the window. You make a very good point here with Pettite.

              fixed

    • Brian in NH

      didn’t cover in a previous article towards teh beginning of the season that the rotating DH is not actually preferred to a full-time DH.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        The rotating DH is a bad idea if it means a lot of plate appearances for guys like Ramiro Peña, Francisco Cervelli, Kevin Russo, and Cody Ransom.

        In my scenario, the rotating DH would mean plate appearances for Ty Wigginton, Jesus Montero, Cristian Guzman, and Austin Kearns. I can live with that.

        • theyankeewarrior

          I like your stacked-bench theory. I have another candidate…

          Juan Uribe. He can play the left side of the IF and supply some pop. 31 HR’s in the last two seasons playing in SanFran isn’t too shabby. He OPS’d .824 lest season and is over .750 this year. Better protection in the lineup could help him too.

          /just a theory’d

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I’d be okay with that.

            Basically anybody who can handle SS and 3B so that we can DH or give a day off to ARod and/or Jeter on any given day is a must, IMO. With their ages and the potential for fatigue/injury-related decline in production, we really need 3 starters for the 2 spots, IMO.

        • Tank Foster

          Agree. And how the h3ll do you put the tilde on the “en-yay” in Ramiro’s name?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I’m on a Mac.

    • Mike HC

      If the choice is between a marquee starter like Pettitte, or a stacked bench, I would take the starter all day. And there always seems to be a bunch of trade opportunities for bench help at the deadline.

      Plus, if guys could start for other teams, they probably will not choose to be a bench player on the Yanks.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Plus, if guys could start for other teams, they probably will not choose to be a bench player on the Yanks.

        Implicit in this suggestion is the concept that we’d overpay them for their services to convince them to take a smaller role with us.

        • AndrewYF

          Still wouldn’t work.
          A big reason why players take less money to play every day is because they want more money in the future, not just this season. If you’re a good player who can play every day, playing on the bench will ultimately reduce your future earnings. Plus, you know, riding the pine kinda sucks. Unless your name is Manny Ramirez, you want to play every single day, because baseball is your life.

          Also, why overpay for part-time bench players when you could reallocate that money to a full-time position? Say, a starting pitcher?

          I’m afraid you’re not making much sense here, tsjc.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Also, why overpay for part-time bench players when you could reallocate that money to a full-time position? Say, a starting pitcher?

            Because we have better internal options for the SP spot than we do for the bench spots.

            • AndrewYF

              Disagree. I can’t believe you’d think Christian Guzman is a good option for the bench. Nunez would outplay him. And Wigginton is okay, but I could easily see Brandon Laird approximating that value on the corners.

              With starting pitching, no one in Scranton this year would come close to what Pettitte is giving/would project to give to the Yankees.

              Please remember that there’s absolutely no such thing as too much starting pitching. Having Pettitte over in addition to a guy like Nova far outweighs whatever benefit you get from average to below-average veterans on the bench instead of average to below-average minor leaguers from AAA.

              Plus, what are you going to be paying these guys? Guzman should be paying the Yankees to play for them. Wigginton shouldn’t get much more than $2M. Where are these high-priced bench players who will perform well in a limited capacity that would preclude spending $10M on Andy Pettitte?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Disagree. I can’t believe you’d think Christian Guzman is a good option for the bench. Nunez would outplay him. And Wigginton is okay, but I could easily see Brandon Laird approximating that value on the corners.

                That’s very, very, very, very, very optimistic predictions for those two. For 2010, I’d bet Guzman and Wigginton outproduce Nuñez and Laird quite significantly.

                With starting pitching, no one in Scranton this year would come close to what Pettitte is giving/would project to give to the Yankees.

                I agree. But remember that while Joba/Nova/McAllister/etc. probably don’t perform as well as Pettitte would, we’d also be swapping Javy Vazquez for Cliff Lee. That gives us a much better margin for error.

    • Ed

      Could we overpay Cristian Guzman or J.J. Hardy to be just sometime-starters? Would Ty Wigginton or Jorge Cantu do the same to be ARod’s timeshare partner?

      I wonder how that would work in practice. When you don’t play often, its hard to keep the timing of your swing down and get into a groove. I’d expect a dropoff in their performance in a role like this, but I have no idea how much to expect. I’m sure they’d be a huge upgrade over Pena, but I wonder what realistic expectations would be.

  • nathan

    Its very convenient to say the fans are in denial when it was management who gave ARod his 10 year deal, management who refuses to broach the subject of Jeter’s position and management who gave Jorge the 4 year deal. I dont think a single fan is in denial, infact most of them still are in awe of last year’s win with such a cast.

    However it is not unfair of the fans to demand or to put it a little mildly expect these stars who are paid king’s ransom as salary to produce better. So what are the fans to do? Acknowledge that these players are old but will continue be paid like they are in their prime and just agree to not question or wonder about productivity?

    And thankfully we dont have Omar Minaya as GM, I see zero chance Jorge even think about another contract. Infact if Jorge’s health worsens to the point where he is immobile or cant even get on the field I full expect him to get a coach’s position or something next summer and take a buy-out.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      If you want to see a prime example of fans in denial, just start talking about how poorly Jeter’s doing this year to the Tweeting masses. Many — especially younger ones — are in deep denial.

      • nathan

        Though i hv a twitter account not much of a tweeter. Just dont get that one at all.

        I do agree with you that Twitter has just amplified the opportunity for some folks to put new meaning to knee-jerk reaction.

      • Brian in NH

        Yes. its not the worst season ever by a short stop, but its one of Jeter’s worst.

      • http://twitter.com/YanktheMike yankthemike

        it’s hard to see one’s childhood idol showing his mortality. especially since his (jeter’s) decline this year has been so precipitous. And like most kids, it’s easier to take out their anger on other fans on a forum like twitter, than face the realities. I’ve been surprised that Girardi hasn’t given Alex the same amount of rest he’d been given last year. He’s the one I worry about the most…
        I bet that hip could use a heaping helping of HGH ( said without a trace of irony or sarcasm )

    • Guest

      Why would Jorge turn down the chance to make 13 million dollars next year when he knows he won’t ever make anywhere near that amount of money again the rest of his life?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Infact if Jorge’s health worsens to the point where he is immobile or cant even get on the field I full expect him to get a coach’s position or something next summer and take a buy-out.

      If Jorge’s health worsens to the point where he is immobile or can’t even get on the field I fully expect him to say “Fuck you, pay me.”

      • Jose the Satirist

        Athletes have this weird habit of taking money instead of turning it down for the good of the team. Crazy stuff.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Athletes People have this weird habit of taking money instead of turning it down for the good of the team other people. Crazy stuff.

          /embellish’d

    • Ed

      Infact if Jorge’s health worsens to the point where he is immobile or cant even get on the field I full expect him to get a coach’s position or something next summer and take a buy-out.

      I think the reason Jorge fought so hard for a 4th year was specifically because he knew the odds were against him being in good shape by that time. He wanted to be sure he earned every penny he could during his career. He’s not walking away from it.

  • Mike HC

    Hopefully the Yanks pay Jeter what he wants, or close to it. He is still the best shortstop the Yanks will be able to find for the next couple of years even at this current playing level (and I personally believe he will have a bounce back year next year, but that is beside the point).

    Plus, for all the talk of the budget, the Yanks ownership is rolling in the money. Between the team and YES, plus saving about 500 million in inheritance tax this year, spread the wealth. Taking a chance that Jeter will hold off father time for next 4-5 years is a good place to start.

    • Jose the Satirist

      “Hopefully the Yanks pay Jeter what he wants, or close to it.”

      I hope not. I’m sure that number is much higher than what he is worth.

      • Mike HC

        Cashman has stated that the Yanks are willing to overpay to get their guy. I would hope they consider Jeter “their guy.” Thus, I would expect Cashman/Yanks to overpay for Jeter.

        • Jose the Satirist

          I don’t doubt that they will most likely overpay. I’m just not hoping for it like you are by wanting the Yankees to give Jeter what he wants. I’m hoping for the Yankees to pay quite a bit under what Jeter wants. No way that will happen though.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Yeah, there’s a big difference between “paying Derek Jeter more than he’s really worth to keep him happy and in pinstripes” and “giving Derek Jeter whatever he wants.”

            Derek Jeter may well want 25M a year until he’s 42, ARod style. He may want contracts until he’s 45 so he can chase down Pete Rose. He may want to be the first 30M baseball player. There’s lots of shit Derek Jeter probably wants that the team should not give to him under any circumstances.

            • Mike HC

              When I say want, I mean what he is willing to accept without a prolonged, ugly, contract negotiation, or where Jeter threatens to leave.

              What Jeter “wants” is not necessarily his first proposal, but what he is ultimately willing to accept, whatever that number may ultimately be.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Okay, that’s fine. That’s a more nuanced position than what you said initially.

            • Brian in NH

              hookers

          • Mike HC

            So put yourself in the Steinbrenner’s shoes. You have just inherited the Yanks and YES. You just avoided paying like 500 million in inheritance tax because your dad happened to die in the right year. You have so much money you are looking to buy a soccer team in Europe.

            Now, you would not be willing to overpay Jeter maybe 10-12 million a year for 2-3 more years than you think he is literally worth? You would rather run him out of town by offering a Damonesque market value contract and then replace Jeter with who? While Jeter plays for the Sox or some other contender. Good luck with that.

            • Brian in NH

              That won’t happen. His market value will be lower than what they offer. I see them starting an offer at around $15 million but likely going higher. $20 isn’t out of teh question

            • hornblower

              The tax laws give the team to Mrs. Steinbrenner. The reports about this year being lucky for them are not true. The spouse can inherit without penalty in any year.

      • Johnny O

        Much more concerned about years than average annual salary.

  • Sal

    Call up Montero!!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      /NintendovsSega’d

  • currambayankees

    The future is just around the corner for these players just like it was for my all time fav Donnie. Down on the farm some of the players that will be taking over are waiting to be given the chance. As mcuh as I love Jeter, I truely hope the Yankees don’t give him more then a 3yr deal and once he hits the 3000 hits or even before move him off short. The future waits for no one not even these great ones just ask the ones that came before them.

    • Brian in NH

      i don’t want more than a 2 year deal. I shudder to think what he’d be lumbering around like at age 39

  • hornblower

    It would be possible for Nunez to caddie for Jeter and Laird to give Arod time to DH. Montero’s catching is sub-par at present but I think he will be in left-field at some point. Hell, I saw Yogi and Elston Howard play there on championship teams.
    Betences will pitch for the big club next year on a Hughes like innings limit. He is that good! They are building a great bullpen which will be a strength. Look for Brackman to be a part of it soon.
    If Jeter starts to slip noticeably he will walk away. He is too smart to hang on. Arod is breaking down in the hip area. There is no permanent cure. He can hit for a while but should play the field less. Posada will try next year on a very reduced contract but he will break down and retire. There is no market for him. He has been a great Yankee. Look for them to push Romine.
    He is a fine catcher and will hit eventually. Cervelli will also be in the mix.

    • currambayankees

      Montero does not have the foot speed to be an outfielder. He’s a catcher/dh who profiles better as a DH at the current time.

    • Brian in NH

      And you’d be lucky to get him to backup at 1B but there are a thousand guys who can do that.

      Hopefully Cervelli will not be in the mix. His bat is non-existent and his defense is nowhere near advertised. he’s basically an emergency 3rd catcher who should likely be playing AAA ball

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Virtually none of this is accurate.

      • Tank Foster

        But virtually everything in the above sentence IS.

  • Januz

    I know this is extremely unlikely and even more unpopular. But if they would win the Series this year, I might even be willing to let Jeter & Rivera leave, and not sign Lee. The goal would be to make sure the mistakes of the period from Post 1962 to Steinbrenner’s purchase are not repeated.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      That doesn’t make sense.

      • Januz

        It actually does, if you are willing to bite the bullet for a year, and restock the farm system. Baseball is becoming an more athletic game, and the days of the 3 run homer (Like the Shaq-type center are coming to an end). Getting younger, getting more athletic, and yes more inexpensive is the way to go.
        Do I actually think they would go that far? No I don’t, But I would be willing to let Jeter become a free agent, and offer him arbitration (So it is one year or bye).

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I’m referring to your advocacy of not signing Mariano Rivera (who’s still amazingly good) or Cliff Lee (who’s still amazingly good) in some attempt to “make sure the mistakes of the period from Post 1962 to Steinbrenner’s purchase are not repeated.”

          What happened in 1962 is utterly and totally irrelevant to today’s team.

          • Januz

            I don’t mind going year to year on guys, that is fine, What happened in the 60s is very relevant. Remember the phrase: “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”. I don’t want to see Alex Rodriguez in 2014 as 1967′s Mickey Mantle. If the guys like Heathcott, Montero, Sanchez & others make it, we won’t. But room needs to be made for them.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              There’s room for Montero even if we resign Jeter, Lee, and Mariano. Room for Heathcott and Sanchez is way too premature to even worry about yet.

    • nathan

      Well, I think Rivera is open to a rolling 1 year contract thats far more palatable than what Jeter seems to want.

      Regarding Lee, unquestionable talent with a questionable build and probable injury profile. I am not as excited as other Yankee fans on him.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Why does he have a probable injury profile? He’s started at least 30 games every year since 2004, doesn’t have a history of arm trouble, and he’s 6/3 190- a little thin maybe, but he’s not exactly Tim Lincecum. By all accounts he has a nice, smooth delivery. On what are you basing that judgement, other than some kind of “gut feeling?”

        • nathan

          I have forgotten now but, i remember him missing time with injury while with Cleveland.

          he also missed close to a month at the beginning of the year with Seattle with oblique strain.

  • viasistina

    Jeter might want $30M?? Thats a hoot. Ask yourself, where is he going to go and who will play a 37 year old shortstop even $15M besides the Yankees. No one is going to go to the park and pay good money just to watch someone get close to 3000 hits. But lets not put words in Jeter’s mouth..lets just wait and see.
    On the other hand, Posada is clearly showing the wear and tear of 39 years. He should have the dignity to hang them up next year. Do we really want him “mentoring young catchers”…see you at old timers day!

    • Brian in NH

      The Knicks would do it

  • Nolan

    What about doing this next year:
    1) move ARod to DH full time. He can play 1b and 3b a few games a month to keep other players fresh
    2) move Jeter to 3b full time. Jeter has great hands, a strong arm and can charge the ball very well. The only thing he is sub par at is moving side to side and this should minimize that weakness and maximize his strengths.
    3) Make Jorge the part time catcher and bring up either Montero or Romine. If Montero can’t catch then make it Romine. Jorge should catch 50% of the games and be a pinch hitter late in games.
    4) Bring up Eduardo Nunez to play ss. Yes he’s probably not going to be anything better than your average ss. But, an average ss that allows ARod’s legs to stay fresh improves your defense AND offense over the other option: Jeter plays ss (below avg ss), ARod plays the field (below avg defense and less offense)
    Gardner, Swisher, Tex, Arod (DH), Cano, Posada/Montero, Granderson, Jeter, Nunez
    5) Sign Cliff Lee and bring back Andy Pettitte: starting rotation: Cliff Lee, CC, Hughes, Pettitte, Burnett

    • nathan

      My $.02

      1) Thats coming, though not the 1B
      2) Not happening. If he ever moves off SS it will be to OF
      3) Thats already in place though unfortunately with Cervelli donning the Montero role
      4) I just know Nunez’s #s from DOTF but i would like to think he is a massive improvement over Ramiro Pena
      5) I think Andy was coming back until this latest injury. I now firmly think he will ride off into the sunset happily. I also think Lee to Yanks looks a lot like Beltran to Yanks. I see him ending up somewhere else.

    • Horace C

      Jeter has simply lost the ability to hit against RH pitchers. As this has represented 70% of his late appearances this season, that’s a serious problem:

      vs. RHP .651 OPS
      vs. LHP .902 OPS

      Yes, I know wRC+ is better, but OPS+ tells the story as well.

      Jeter also has a wRC+ of 28 in high-leverage spots this year. Ouch.

      I don’t think that bat will pay at 3B. And A-Rod doesn’t want to chase the HR record (tainted though it is) from DH at age 35 and up.

      • Horace C

        I found Jeter’s wRC+ for 2010:

        vs. RHP 82
        vs. LHP 149 (career average coming into 2010 was about 150)

        Jeter just can’t identify pitches from RHP this year. He’s unable to out fastballs in play, and is swinging at breaking balls down out of the zone, or outside. He’s also almost helpless on two-seamers inside. Is this permanent? The Yankees are going to have to bet tens of millions of $ that it’s not.

      • Tank Foster

        The HR record, if set by ARod, is NOT “tainted.”

        • Horace C

          Oh yes it is. In both perception and reality. I know that steroids apologists are trying to make the case that steroids don’t enhance the ability to hit home runs, but that is nonsense.

          • Tank Foster

            Willie Mays and every other star of his era used amphetamines. They help performance. Players of every era play in different ballparks, which changes the opportunity and the ease with which a homer can be hit. Babe Ruth and players of his era got many homers added to their records which today would be ruled “ground rule doubles.”

            Players have ALWAYS used everything at their disposal to try to get an edge. I’d argue that voices like mine are not “steroid apologists,” and that much of the flap about steroids is actually overblown fluff created by the modern media machine.

            It is absolutely not a settled question that steroids are behind the homerun surge….at the very least, we do not know how much steroids contributed to the homer surge, and for certain there are other factors which have also contributed.

            http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlo.....-steroids/

            Baseball writers fawn all over their idols, and then when said idol shows they are flawed in the slightest way, they turn on them like a pack of wolves.

            The status of all of the drugs in question was not explicit in the rules….the owners’ actions gave the use of PEDs tacet approval. Both pitchers and hitters used them. The benefits of the drugs – the degree of which has never been established – accrue only to players willing to put in the time in the gym to make it happen, and the drugs also have side effects (increased injury risk) which offset the benefits to a degree.

            It is incredibly unfair to this generation of players to state that their accomplishments are “tainted.” By that definition, the entire record book is tainted.

            • The209

              So what why were all those guys taking ‘roids? They’re gonna be pissed when they read that article.

              • Tank Foster

                Well, there are two answers: First, I’m not saying steroids don’t help, by making players stronger. The question is how much stronger do they get, and does the strength account for ALL the differences in homerun rates? Second, people do all sorts of things that they believe work, but which have no basis in fact. The “balance bracelets” and all those magnets you see athletes wear, the “Q” pendant guys wear (Beckett?). I read that corking a baseball bat in the usual fashion that players try doesn’t really help at all in terms of hitting a homer or hitting the ball hard. The fact that alot of players bulked up on steroids is not a priori evidence that it helped them play better.

                • The209

                  I agree with you that players in all sports (at all levels) have always used whatever they can get their hands on to be better.

                  And “the year of the pitcher” is probably just as much that players have moved off steroids to hgh/etc.

                  Regarding all the other shit (bracelets, etc.) — I’d say half of that has some basis in what actually works (eastern medicine, etc.) — and the other half is probably baseball players’ insane obsessiveness / superstition.

                  But saying that steroids didn’t help power is insane. Talk to anyone that uses them…

                  Just because Joe P. from SI can’t quantify it (“Bonds would only have had 358 HR w/o juicing”) doesn’t mean that they don’t have an impact.

                  I’m not saying any of this judgmentally — at the same time I’m not crying for any of these athletes. I just watch the games for the artistry of it; if the athletes want to f* up their futures, that’s their business. I played with kids (in HS & coll) that were on PEDs, and it helped them with power. From friends-of-fiends or relatives, I know that pros are using — and it helps: first and foremost, with power.

                  But your statement “It is incredibly unfair to this generation of players” rings false for me.

                  The most recent generation got caught, that’s all. I agree with you, though, that it’s annoying to say they are the only ones…

          • Januz

            The reality of the matter is as far as most people are concerned the REAL HR record belongs to Hank Aaron, and anything else is a slap in the face to a dignified, decnt man who overcame a lot (Including racist death threats) to break the Ruth record.

    • Mark

      Some good ideas there, especially seeing the lack of attractive options in the FA market this winter for a SS. I just really cannot see Jeter moving to 3B, as mentioned by others he lacks the power and has not (to my limited knowledge) played there in his career. Also Romine is struggling with a full season catching at AA which would worry me if he were then thrown into MLB even as part time catcher, I also think it could seriously damage his development in the long term.
      I do agree that the Yankees are going to have to start getting cvreative with their lineups next year to keep everyone healthy and happy.

  • hornblower

    Yogi Berra played the outfield in the ’60 WS. Howard played it when Yogi caught. Berra was a below average runner and Howard had a piano on his back. Left field is about positioning and can be learned. A good arm is an asset which Montero has. After Damon anything would be an upgrade.
    Jeter will never switch positions. He will work out a deal quietly and walk away at the right time. No way he ever plays 3rd.
    Don’t could on Lee he will be the symbol of Texas’ new approach. It’s time to give young pitchers a chance.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Please use the reply button.

      • The209

        please be more understanding of the occasional mistake.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          A.) I wasn’t nasty when I said what I said.
          B.) This isn’t hornblower’s first time not using the reply button. Far from it.

          • hornblower

            Sorry I didn’t know I should use the reply button. I will in the future.

            • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

              As you can see, we’ve installed it to make conversations flow better. That’s why it’s there in a big blue and white letters. Appreciatie your willingness to use it. Thank you.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Thanks.

          • The209

            gotcha…thanks. and i was just kiddin’ around.

  • Tank Foster

    Well written.

    I’ve been one of the “Debbie Downers” in the weekly fan polling, precisely because of the age issue.

    The Yankees have, in the three players you mention, essentially 3 DH’s. The logical step with ARod and Jeter might have been to move ARod to 1b and Jeter to 3b, but obviously that’s not an option with Teixeira. If ARod can get his hip fixed (I think he needs surgery), I still think he has 4 seasons of 30+ homers in him, so I don’t worry about fitting him in wherever he needs to be, 3b, DH, etc.

    Jorge still OPS+’s over 100, quite solidly, at 122….I think you just keep playing him and catching him because he’s still much better offensively than the average catcher. 13 homers in 85 games is great for a catcher. Let him rotate in the DH spot. When he’s ready to quit, even at his current level, it’s likely his replacement will be worse offensively (unless Montero does end up catching at the MLB level).

    Jeter is the problem. He’s worse as a DH candidate than either ARod or Posada. He doesn’t really have corner OF numbers, and you could argue he’s no better, or perhaps slightly worse, offensively than even Gardner and Granderson. I guess he could play 3b and would be less of a defensive liability there, but the team is not going to get better with Ramiro Pena playing regularly at SS.

    The best thing it seems is to just grin and bear it and keep Derek right where he is. When someone comes along who is better, then we’ve got a real problem, because now you’re dealing with the face of the Yankees. Heaven help us if we sign Hanley Ramirez.

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      If we sign Hanley Ramirez I’ll get down on my knees and thank god every day.

      • The209

        are you related to ghost of phil rizzuto?