Mailbag: Giants, Catching, Swisher, Jeter


Just four questions this week, nothing crazy. Please use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar whenever you want to send us something, mailbag questions or otherwise.

I think we can all use a year off from the beard. (REUTERS/Darryl Webb)

Many of you asked: Can the Yankees trade Rafael Soriano to the Giants? What could they get in return?

As soon as the news broke that Brian Wilson will miss the season with his second Tommy John surgery, our inbox was flooded with “trade Soriano to the Giants!” comments and questions. Seriously, you guys didn’t hesitate. San Francisco is going use a closer platoon for the time being, with Jairo Garcia Santiago Casilla getting the majority of the save chances.

Can the Yankees trade Soriano to the Giants? Sure, his contract does not include a no-trade clause. His salary — $11M this year and $14M next year, plus the opt-out — effectively serves as a no-trade clause for him, however. Given his erratic performance over the last season and his injury history, Soriano has negative trade value. They’re not getting Brandon Belt for him, they’re not getting a Grade-B prospect, they’re not getting anything of value. It would be another A.J. Burnett trade, with the Yankees eating money and receiving what amounts to nothing in return. The Giants do a wonderful job of evaluating pitchers — Barry Zito notwithstanding — and are unlikely to overvalue a Proven Closer™. The Yankees made their bed with Soriano, and now they have to sleep in it.

Steve asks: What is the status of Austin Romine and the Yankees’ strategy for the system’s catching depth? With the recent injury to Brett Gardner, it’s evident how quickly a strength can turn into a problem.

Forget Gardner, it was evident how quickly depth can disappear when Romine got hurt. Apparently it takes two defense-first guys — Chris Stewart and Craig Tatum — to replace him. Anyway, there has not been a Romine update since Spring Training and I can only assume that he isn’t close to returning. Backs are tricky, especially since he had a similar issue last summer and suffered a setback in camp.

The Yankees continue to say that if Russell Martin were to get hurt, Frankie Cervelli would take over as the everyday catcher, not Stewart. Frankie’s toiling away in Triple-A with Tatum as his backup while Gus Molina and Jose Gil handle catching duties in Double-A. Most of the club’s high-end catching depth is in the lower minors, specifically J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez. Murphy could probably use a couple hundred at-bats in High-A this season, though Sanchez is probably just a weeks away from a promotion to that level after starting the season back at Low-A. They can split catching and DH duties for a few weeks, it’s not the end of the world. Those guys are certainly not big league options this year and are unlikely candidates for next year as well.

"Do you know what MFIKY means?" (Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Jon asks: Do you see any scenario where the Yankees keep Nick Swisher instead of Curtis Granderson?

Sure, I could absolutely see something like that playing out. It all depends on the kind of contract Swisher wants, but something a little north of Michael Cuddyer money (three years and $31M) is perfectly fine by me. He’s a year younger than Granderson will be when he hits free agency, so you wouldn’t be buying as many decline years as you would by re-signing Grandy after next season. Swisher is also likely to cost less given Granderson’s offensive showing over the last year and a half. With Brett Gardner capable of stepping into center fielder, it makes a lot of sense to re-sign Swisher this offseason and let Curtis walk after next year.

Daniel asks: With the way that Derek Jeter has performed since coming back from his injury and if he can continue his performance this season and next, what are the chances that Jeter declines his player option after next season and asks the Yankees for another 15+ million per year? Also, how might this influence the 2014 budget plan?

Jeter has been brilliant since coming off the DL last Independence Day, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. He still has all of this year and all of next year to go before that player option becomes an issue. The Cap’n would have to maintain this level of production for the next 18 months before this becomes a realistic scenario. At that point he’ll be 39 years old and I have a very hard time thinking any team will pay a shortstop that age $15M annually. Maybe the Yankees would do a two-year, $20M deal if he declines the option and keeps hitting like he has, but even that’s pushing it. They’ve already paid Jeter very handsomely for what he’s done for the franchise, at some point reality has to come into play.

Categories : Mailbag
  • Plank

    His salary — $11M this year and $14M next year, plus the opt-out — effectively serves as a no-trade clause for him, however. Given his erratic performance over the last season and his injury history, Soriano has negative trade value. They’re not getting Brandon Belt for him, they’re not getting a Grade-B prospect, they’re not getting anything of value. It would be another A.J. Burnett trade, with the Yankees eating money and receiving what amounts to nothing in return.


  • Bonnie Parker

    We will not keep Swisher over Granderson. Yeah, let’s keep a worse defender and a worse offensive player because of a couple of bucks. If Swisher wants to stay in NY he’ll have to come back at a discount. We need that money for Cano and Granderson. Mo comes off the books. If only we could get Soriano off the books, too.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Clearly, this is someone in the know.

      ::Rolls eyes::

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Posts like that make me wonder what screenname the former Hester Prynne is now using.

        • Erica

          You should see her on last night’s game thread, boldly declaring that the “Phil Hughes experiment is over!” – it’s actually pretty funny.

    • thenamestsam

      So Swisher has to come back at a discount but they should keep Granderson no matter what? That’s a total contradiction. If money isn’t important than they should keep Swisher even if it’s not at a discount. If money is important than obviously you sometimes do have to keep an inferior player over “a couple of bucks”(maybe fifty million dollars in this case).

    • Erica

      They see me trollin’…

      • Slugger27


    • JobaWockeeZ

      Wow someone gets canned for saying Granderson is more valuable than Swisher? His worst year in NY is a typical year for Swisher and Granderson even missed a month of playing time.

      There’s a 189 million dollar budget and even all the Swisher overdefending can’t drive away form the fact Granderson is a much more important piece for this team.

      • jjyank

        Yes, Granderson is the better player at the more premium position, but his new contract will reflect that. Swisher will be cheaper than Granderson, and with Gardner being able to step over to CF, a competent left fielder will be easier to replace.

        Nobody is denying that Granderson is the superior player, but the Yankees will likely have to fork over a much larger contract for Granderson.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    We need some better outfield depth. I need to keep my wife happy. Therefore, I respectfully submit my trade offer of Soriano for Melky.

    *runs and ducks*

    • STONE COLD Austin Romine

      I have no problem at all with Melky coming back in 2013

      Just as I have no problem with the Yankees signing Jesus Montero (if he doesn’t get extended by the M’s) as a 1st base/DH bat off the bench.

      Former Yankees prospects and farm hands are always welcomed back.

      • Andy Phillips

        You rang?

        • jjyank

          Haha, +1

      • Robinson Tilapia

        A fact they took so literally that they made Dave Eiland pitching coach. :)

  • Bubba

    Ahhh Randy Levine… the gift that keeps giving. You guys know a lot more about baseball than I do, but has there ever been a worse contract in baseball? What was the Yankees’ best case scenario with this abomination?

    • Plank

      I would say it’s a great contract for Soriano.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Soriano’s contract sucks the big one but Pavano, Igawa and Burnett’s all were worse.

      Signing free agent pitchers usually doesn’t work out, especially for the Yankees

      • Slugger27

        the pavano contract is overrated in its awfulness. dude made what? $10M a year? he was like the 10th highest paid player on that 05 team. it has the repuation for being zito-like, and it just wasnt.

        all that is beside the point, though. the soriano contract isnt good.

        • Ted Nelson

          It’s not just the money, but also what you get for it.

          Pavano gave them 125 IP and 1.1 fWAR in 4 years… it was pretty bad.

          Zito has given the Giants 7.1 fWAR in about 838 IP the last 5 seasons and change. They’ve paid less than twice as much and gotten 7x the production.

          So, Pavano’s contract was pretty terrible value.

    • http://musicaldaddy.blogspot.com Chuck M

      A-Rod’s contracts – both of them – were worse. Barry Zito’s and Kevin Brown’s, too. Pavano’s? Igawa’s contract?

      • Slugger27

        arods first contract certainly wasnt worse… have you seen that dudes numbers starting in 01?

      • A.D.

        Jason Schmidt deal ended up being miserable

        Denny Neagle to Colorado
        Hampton and Kile to Colorado

        Albert Belle may be the worst since he refused to retire… and to think the Yanks were in on him

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Just the mere mention of Mike Hampton feels like passing a kidney stone.

        • Dale Mohorcic

          Belle didn’t retire because the O’s had an insurance policy that required he be on the active roster for the O’s to receive insurance money. http://www.baseball-reference......abled_list

          I used to draft him at the end of fantasy drafts and stash him on the DL for the season.

          • A.D.

            If Belle retired the O’s wouldn’t have owed him the money, and thus wouldn’t have needed to collect insurance

            • Ted Nelson

              Why would he retire? Very, very few people would retire in that situation.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        There was absolutely nothing wrong with A-Rod’s first contract. If anything, it was a bargain given his production.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Bubba, meet Barry Zito.

      • Bubba

        I don’t know if all of those contracts sucked before the first pitch was thrown or bat was swung. Best case for the Soriano contract was he pitches lights out for 2011 then opts out. For that privilege, the Yankees gave up a 1st rd pick to a division rival and paid Soriano closer money not to close. How super sucky is that.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Still not as sucky as staring at Barry Zito for 8 years or sharing the wealth of paying for Mike Hampton’s latest injury with half of baseball.

    • Steve (different one)

      It’s not even the worst contract given out to someone with the last name Soriano….

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Comment of the day RIGHT HERE. Check is in the mail.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    When you see closers like Soria, Wilson, Madson and Bailey drop like flies all at a relatively young age, it just makes what Mariano has been able to accomplish all that more remarkable.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      ….and those are just the more recent examples. The Marlins made great use of disposable closers in their firsts years. Hello Robbie Nen and Matt Mantei. Even our favorite analyst, Rob Dibble, didn’t last long.

  • Gonzo

    Wait till you guys hear that Randy Levine extended Soriano as an overreaction to Mo’s retirement.

    Randy will then sign Madson and K-Rod to 5 year deals.

  • mac

    Grandy is four months younger than Swish.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Right, but he doesn’t hit FA until after next year. Swisher will be a FA at 32 this winter, Granderson at 33 next winter.

      • papa

        why do we have to wait until 2014 to go below 189 mil if Ravera retires this year the Yankees will have over 50 mil coming off the books at the end of the year. And most of it in areas of strength.

        • Ted Nelson

          The big incentives for going under kick in for 2014, I believe. They can do it in 2013, but the incentives aren’t as big.

  • gageagainstthemachine

    That caption is spot on. I dislike his beard so much. With the obvious die job it doesn’t even look real. And real closers don’t need gimmicks to be popular. They just need an untouchable cutter and a whole lot of class.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      You may be too young to remember Al Hrabosky (AKA the Mad Hungarian) who was closer for the Royals in the 70s who used to do a little act getting all fired up storming around the mound before throwing a pitch.

      He pulled his act with Reggie Jackson at the plate in a playoff game and Jackson hit one into the fountains in center field. It was awesome.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Oh God. Too young to remember him in real time, but own the baseball card.

      • gageagainstthemachine

        I am just a little too young to see that. In relation to that story, I hope that Granderson-ARod-Cano-Teixeira go back-to-back-to-back-to-back on Jose Valverde numerous times this season. That joker needs to be put in his place.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Someone should buy Valverde’s son a trampoline.

          • jjyank

            Hahaha I almost spit out the pizza I was eating. Someone introduce Valverde to “Stairs”!

  • Slugger27

    to me, granderson seems just as much of a dead pull hitter as tex, but teams seem to shift less against him for whatever reason. he loves that hit directly down the right field line. still, i could see his dead pull tendencies as a problem in the future.

    what about letting swisher walk and offering grandy a nice contract to play RF going forward? put gardner in CF and figure out a stopgap for LF or something.

    would grandy be open to this if we paid him well?

    • Dan

      I don’t think Granderson has the arm for right field, I think they would sooner move him to LF and find a stopgap in RF.

      • Slugger27

        good point. same idea, though. would grandy be open to moving to LF permanently starting next year? we rip up his 2013 option and give him a 5/85 contract or hopefully 4/72(im just guestimating) or something and tell him hes the everyday LF. i dont think its unreasonable.

        • Dan

          I think that is a possibility. My concern with Granderson is that if he continues to show the power he has shown since making the adjustments to his swing is that he will look at contracts like Crawford and Braun, and will want similar money. If he wants around 20 mill per year, I think the Yankees will need to make a decision between him or Cano. With the the money already tied up in CC, Arod, and Tex, it seems like it would be nearly impossible to add on 2 other 20 mill contracts and stay under the 2014 luxury tax.

          • LiterallyFigurative

            They could do it, but would have to go with a cheap rotation behind CC and younger guys at catcher and RF.

  • DM

    I don’t buy the Murphy/Sanchez idea. Both need to work on their defense a lot so I can’t see them being at Tampa together for any length of time. If Murphy can hit his way to AA, they’d promote Sanchez to Tampa — but I can’t see them splitting defensive development time.

  • Alright, stop with the Soriano crap..

    To my fellow Yankee fans, WTF is this infatuation to trade Soriano? Seriously, I hear and read it all the time and I just don’t get it. Yeah, sure, the guy is way overpaid, considering his role, but I absolutely think he would be valued in the range of $7mm on the open market. The Yankees made the difference of $4mm back as I write this comment and the same will likely apply next season. So I don’t get it. He is a terrific arm to have in the pen as added depth. He has actually been pretty decent outside of the first few months last season. While, I still think the deal as a whole, on a dollar basis, was nuts for Levine to offer, I actually understand why he did it. Some commenters think this is the worse imaginable contract of all time. Seriously? Far from it guys, let’s please move on from the Rafael Soriano talk.

    The Romine injury really bothers me too. I was very high on this kid and I still am, but back injuries are not good and I’m not feeling good about his future behind the plate and unfortunately, he’s not Mauer and can’t be a DH or 1st baseman.

    Like most fans, I am completely hung up with the Granderson and Swisher conundrum. Part of me is very concerned about the clubhouse if Swisher were to leave. He is the Ying to everyone else’s Yang and the guy is a great presence. He truly wants to stay in New York it seems and for a lot of reasons, including his wife and personal life. While no baseball player would “take significantly less” to play somewhere, this could be that rare exception where Nick takes a 2-3 year deal for $27mm-$30mm. Very unlikely as I think he’ll be coveted on the open market. Granderson is perhaps one of the best current day ambassadors to baseball. He is a highly intelligent, very well spoken, dynamic player. His value is not only on the field. I’m really conflicted about these two if given the choice of who to sign. The Yanks have no choice, but not to get under the $189mm threshold for 2014, so I unfortunately don’t see them retaining both.

    Jeter is playing great and his contract is now looking very good. Even if he regresses significantly later in the season or early next season, it will be only 1 year left (excluding player option). I agree with Mike’s sentiment. I don’t see Jeter approaching the Yanks and at best, if he keeps the production up, through the end of next season, perhaps he declines his player option and re-signs for 2 years and $20mm. Part of me is starting to believe that we will see Jeter in pinstripes, manning SS for another 3 full seasons.

    • Slugger27

      regarding soriano, i think most peoples problem with it is that we already had an established bullpen. soriano probably would get $7M on the open market, but that would go to a team looking for a closer, not a team who already had a HOF closer and a good setup man (joba) and another good setup man waiting in the wings (robertson).

      theres already higher leverage innings going to other guys. soriano would be valuable as the top man if a team didnt have one (someone like the red sox), but theres just not enough high leverage innings to give out on the yankees to justify $36M commitment.

    • jjyank

      I agree about Soriano. I didn’t like the contract, but there’s no denying he makes the team better. He certainly has more value in our bullpen right now than he would have in a trade.

    • Bubba

      While there are definitely more costly contracts out there, this one sucked and sucked from day one regardless of performance.

      1. Grossly overpaid
      2. Not even remotely an area of need
      3. Give a first round pick to a division rival
      4. Give extreme leverage to the agent in the form of opt out after each year

      All of the above negatives were known before performance is taken into account. This contract was DOA.

      • Ro

        Yo Bubba,

        1. Yankee’s made $20mm rolling out of bed this morning.
        2. See Red Sox. You can go from 4 to 1 in a day.
        3. Yeah that sucked.
        4. I do not see how the agent comes into play at this point. The deal is agreed and signed. If Soriano wants to opt out or threaten to opt out, then ok, see ya later. I don’t get point.

        If Soriano were signed to the same exact terms, except total dollars, call it $18mm, not a single person would be complaining right now.

  • A.D.

    Not advocating they trade him, but it would be interesting to see what Robertson’s trade value would be right now, would a team needing a closer pony up way to much to get D-Rob?

    • Slugger27

      i bet he could fetch a nice haul at the trade deadline to some NL team that really needed a closer.

      • Slugger27

        by nice haul i mean relatively, obviously. not several good prospects, but one good one. matt freaking capps got wilson ramos

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Robertson may be worth more to the Yankees than he is another team right now.

      I get the sentiment regarding relievers in general, but has his general filthiness gotten him over some sort of hump where it’s silly to even consider whatever “selling high” would mean? The better he looks, the less I envision Soriano for a year as rebound closer.

    • I feel better now..aka Rafael Soriano

      It’s a lot. His value is pretty immense, considering his ability, and relative to age and cost. It ain’t going to happen. You’re talking a single swap of a top 3 prospect from most teams, imo.

      • Slugger27

        agreed with your post, but what does your screen name mean?

        • Rafael Soriano

          Just a continuation of my earlier comment in response to the overall discussion. See above.

      • Dale Mohorcic

        I like Soriano for the “year of he’s not Mo” that will follow this season.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Perhaps someone would offer quite a bit, but how do you replace him, both short and longer term? Soriano for now, I guess, but until Joba comes back and proves he can fill that role again, or Hughes is moved to the ‘pen and performs solidly there, I don’t see this happening. Just my opinion.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I actually think his value’s being overstated in this thread.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          I think Yankee fans value him quite highly. Not sure how the rest of the league views him, but I can see a team in need of a closer, looking at his performance, age, and salary, making a nice offer for him. But again, as we’ve seen, unless there’s a replacement plan in place that doesn’t involve injured players, I don’t see the Yankees making a move.

        • Rafael Soriano

          Dude, Matt Capps netted Wilson Ramos, and while he’s not the next Mike Piazza, Robertson would definitely bring back a single top 3 prospect. We’re not talking Trout or Harper, of course, but to 28 other teams, they’d without question have to cough up something big. You say overstated too. There is nothing about Robertson delivery that is cause for concern. He’s really a smooth pitcher. He’s got a good future ahead of him and there is a very VERY good chance we already have our Mo successor.

          • jjyank

            See my comment below. Capps sucks, but he had 9th inning experience, and I think teams place some value in that (though I don’t). D-Rob is awesome, but I think this is another case where he has more value to us as a set-up man or closer after Mo retires than he would in a trade.

            Now if Robertson takes over as the closer next year and pitches like he has been, racks up a bunch of saves, then I would totally agree with you.

            • Robinson Tilapia


              I fail to see what the value of trading Robertson for someone else’s prospect is. So many comments on here focus on not-prospect-hugging but, inherent-volatility-of-relievers aside, you’re going to pick now to trade a 26 year-old pretty well positioned as your closer of the future once Mariano retires for someone perhaps three years younger who will have to show they can cut it in the majors? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Frankly it speaks more to people’s concerns as to potentially replacing position players as it does to their concerns about Dave Robertson.

        • jjyank

          Yeah, I think teams put a lot of value in the “proven closer” thing. I’m sure D-Rob is worth more than most other set-up men, but his value won’t skyrocket until he racks up a few saves.

    • Guest

      This is actually a very interesting thought. Very interesting. I LOVE D-Rob, I think he might develop into a great closer…BUT

      Only three high leverage relievers (that I can think of) have been consistently great for a long period of time: Mo, Hoffman, Eck.

      Other than those three, we’ve seen people dominate and then quickly fade for some reason(usually injury (Nathan), finishing a roids cycle (Gagne) or suffering the ill-effects of giving up a big HR at the exact wrong time (Lidge for every year except ’09 since Pujols took him deep)).

      So–as much as we love D-Rob the person, the homegrown prospect success story, and the pitcher–the odds are his time as an elite reliever will be short lived.

      And yet we also know that, despite all the evidence telling them not to, teams STILL over-value high leverage relievers. Given this, and the fact that he still has a few years of team control left, the Yanks might be able to get back a pretty big haul for Robertson if they trade him at the right time to a team that is desperate enough.

      As a fan, I’d rather D-Rob continue his ascent to greatness while wearing the Yankee pinstripes and eventually become Mo’s successful replacement. But if I were Cash, I’d have to think about the fact that he’s an asset who is likely to be overvalued on the market…which is pretty much the best trade chip you can have.

      • Rafael Soriano

        Trade Robertson and Hughes to the Angels for Peter Bourjous and Jean Segura. Flip Boujous and Adam Warren to the Nats for Anthony Rendon.

        Boom problem solved.

        Yankee infield of the future. Rendon, Segura, Cano!

        • Robinson Tilapia

          There’s a confidence-inspiring scenario.

          • Rafael Soriano

            In a scary way, it actually makes sense. Everyone fills a need (Angels are desperate for two arms like this now) and finding a player of Bourjous caliber has been Rizzo’s White Whale to date. The Yanks plug both those guys in the minors for another year or two. Rendon likely two, which would work perfectly. Ain’t going to happen, however.

      • Kosmo

        Actually if you dig a little deeper you´ll find quite a few “high leverage“ relievers who had success over long periods of time.

  • Kosmo

    The Giants have a young closer at Fresno Heath Hembree who they feel is the real deal, but still needs a little more time at Fresno. He´ll if all goes well be called up mid-season.

  • Darren

    “At some point reality has to come into play.”

    Exactly. So when is everyone going to wake the F up and accept that the REALITY that Jeter has ALREADY exceeded every projection of what is supposed to happen to a shortstop as he hits his mid 30’s. To continue to look at what happens to 99.9999% of all shortstops, when Jeter has already shown he is in the other .0001% is just as foolish as not looking at any numbers.

    Basically, if – obviously it’s a big if – Jeter continues to hit above .300 for the next 18 months and looks the same in the field (steady & quick), the most important reality will be Jeter’s track record and not the fact that Walt Weiss or whoever declined at 35. Giving Jeter another 2-3 year deal at 15 million would be good BASEBALL sense, not just rewarding Jeter for ticket selling ability and past heroics.

    Didn’t you see what he did last year for his 3,000 hit? Don’t you relaize he is not just a normal shortstop?! Get you heads out of your calucaltors for a minute and enjoy the show.

    THAT is the more important reality than the uninteresting fact that he’s 37.

    • Mike c

      You should have read the whining and jeter bashing on this blog when they signed the deal. They obviously don’t realize what they have. Spoiled children sounds more like it

    • thenamestsam

      I like Derek Jeter. I greatly enjoy the show when he’s on the field. He was a great, great player at his peak and he’s still (in my estimation)a slightly above average shortstop and a valuable player which is absolutely amazing at age 37. That said, giving any 38 year old a 3 year 45 million dollar deal is insanity, and calling it “good baseball sense” shows an absence of just that. Derek is hitting great right now, but he recently went through more than a full year of being below MLB average as a hitter and he has always been a very bad fielder. We’ve seen bad Derek. It exists and it could easily return any day. You can’t take that risk if you’re on a budget.

      • Darren

        Slightly above average shortstop? You relaize he’s one of the best 6 in the game? As in right now?

        Jeter is not “any” 38 year old. Can you say that giving “any” 40 year old reliever a two year $30mm deal doesn’t make sense? It sure as hell made sense with Mo didn’t it? And it would with Jeterif he keeps this up, which would not be shocking at all. Shocking compared to other shortstops. Not shocking compared to Jeter.

        If you think Jeter has always been a very bad fielder you simply have never watched a game or you don’t know how to express yourself. An accurate description is to say that
        Jeter has always been an extremely steady fielder, with incredible field knowledge (which is not just an intangible), some amazing flashes of brilliance and one obvious, not insignificant flaw – his lack of range to his left. Which is made up for x10 by his hitting ability. So focus on that one flaw and use it to characterize him as a very bad fielder ruins any shred of an argument you would have had.

        Will Jeter fall apart this year? I’ll put $200 that he won’t. Care to take the bet?

        • thenamestsam

          Not sure by what measure Jeter is the 6th best SS in the game. From 2010-present day he has the 10th highest fWAR at SS. He is probably overrated by fWAR on defense (I’ll be addressing that below), so that might be a little bullish on him. I’d say he’s somewhere around the 10-15 range. I’d call that slightly above average, but it’s mostly semantics.

          As for his defense, very bad might be generous to it. I think a case can be made that accounting for longevity Jeter is the worst defensive shortstop of all time, and possibly one of the worst defensive players at any position of all time. I’m sure that’s not a popular opinion around here, but there is a large body of evidence for it, much of which is summarized well in the comments of this thread:


          Really, very bad is the best thing you could say about his defense. It is probably too generous, and maybe far too generous. He’s a great player and a hall-of-famer, but even at his peak he wasn’t really at the MVP level that perception had him at, and he’s not that player any more. I’m not saying they shouldn’t resign him, just that they should proceed with caution.

    • RetroRob

      I hope and pray that we all can have this conversation about Jeter’s “next contract” at the end of 2013 since it means he’s continued to hit at a high-enough level for it to merit serioius consideration.

      He’s killing the ball right now, but let’s not forget that he hit great in April 2010, triple slashing at a .330/.354/.521 rate before setting Yankeedom into a panic by being quite mediocre for the next year, May 2010 through May 2011. The same can happen again. Yet his April 2012 hitting is not quite the same as his April 2010 hitting. Jeter right now is more similar to the Jeter of old, hitting the ball with the authority since June of 2011. In April 2010, there were developing signs that something was off with Jeter’s hitting approach. I seem to remember FanGraphs did an article on it before Jeter’s season went south. He was a bit lucky to start the season, and the pitchers caught up. I’m not seeing similar signs this year, so that’s good.

      Last, I do agree with you that comparing Jeter to past shortstops is not helpful. I’ve made that point in the past, such as before 2009, when some would note that no team in MLB history had ever won a World Series with a 35-year-old shortstop. That could no longer be said by the end of 2009. It’s an example where people try to apply sabermetrics without acknowledging that the aggregate means little when applied to an individual like Jeter. He’s an outlier; always has been.

      How long is this going to continue? I don’t know, but I’m not looking to the past for the answers.

      • thenamestsam

        I don’t agree that the past is not informative with regards to Jeter. Sure, he’s an outlier, but even outliers are related to the majority of the data. If I asked you: Will Jeter be an effective major league shortstop at age 50? You’re not going to tell me: “There is no way to say, Jeter has no relationship to all the data gathered in MLB history” are you? While Jeter is aging far better than most shortstops he is still clearly aging (last 2 years were more than a full win below anything since his rookie year by fWAR).

        The past isn’t going to give us any exact readings on Jeter, but it doesn’t do that for any player. Every player is unique. That doesn’t mean it provides no information.

        • Rookie

          Well expressed, thenamestsam.

    • Mike HC

      Yea, people have been claiming Jeter is done or declining for years now. Seems like they are the ones who can’t accept reality.

      • Rookie

        You’re absolutely right, Mike. And when FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com show him having a dramatic decline in WAR in 2010 and 2011 to the lowest level since they’ve been keeping the stat in the case of the former and since he was a 21-year old rookie in the case of the latter, they’re not accepting reality either.
        Thank goodness we have you and other Jeter fanboys to explain to us that all the stats and stat services and the rest of us who see him declining are delusional.

  • RetroRob

    With Joba out perhaps forever, I wouldn’t be in such a rush to trade Soriano. The money they’re paying him remains stupid, but he has value. Trading AJ made sense. They had too many starting pitchers. Trading Soriano, and throwing in millions of dollars to offset the contract, makes little sense.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    The Soriano contract was overkill. But why trade a proven, really good pitcher out of your pen when you can end games after 6 innings?

    1) Who would replace him as the 7th inning guy?

    2) What are you trading him for? And how much of the salary would you have to pay?

    Does the salary suck? Yeah. But he’s already here. He hasn’t been AJ Burnett horrible.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Mike, if you have time, could you make a post comparing Swisher and Granderson to the other possible FA outfielders due to be free in 2013 and 2014?

    Not just their stats, but what the other teams outfielders could project to be paid?