Archive for Derek Jeter
Got six questions this week, so I tried to keep the answers short and go rapid fire. If you want to send us questions or links or complaints or whatever, the Submit A Tip box in a sidebar is the best way to go.
Joe asks: If Joe Girardi leaves who would be on your short list of replacements?
I don’t even know where to start. There are no great candidates out there. You’d need someone familiar with being in a big market just because it’s completely chaotic, or it can be if the manager lets it. Bench coach Tony Pena seems like an obvious candidate and I guess the just-fired Dusty Baker is as well. Triple-A Scranton manager Dave Miley and Double-A Trenton manager Tony Franklin seem like long shots. I want no part of Mike Scioscia (if he’s fired) or Don Wakamatsu, who has big league managerial experience (with the Mariners) and works in the Yankees front office. I don’t see a ton of obvious candidates out there. Pena is clearly the best at this point.
Joey asks: B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla are both well-paid and under-performing for Atlanta. If the Braves cover most of the salary, do you think the Yankees would be interested in either player and would think its a good idea?
I don’t think the Braves would eat a ton of money to move Upton after just one year. Not with his brother still on the team and a roster that still managed to win 96 games despite his terribleness. As for Uggla … I don’t think I’d touch him. He hit .179/.309/.362 (91 wRC+) with 22 homers in 537 plate appearances this season, and he’s also 33 years old (34 in March). That’s right around the age second baseman tend to fall off the cliff. This sums up where his career is heading:
Go look at Uggla’s graph page on FanGraphs and notice how pretty much everything has been trending in the wrong direction for three years now. The Braves left him off their NLDS roster and they own him $13M in each of the next two years. Yeah, the Yankees could use him as a backup corner infielder/DH, but even if Atlanta eats so much money that he’s a $4M a year player, I wouldn’t touch him. The Bombers already have one Vernon Wells, no need to add the infield version as well.
Anthony asks: Say #HIROK decided to retire, could the Yankees still offer him a qualifying offer and get a pick?
The only way the Yankees would get a draft pick for Hiroki Kuroda (or any other player who turns downs a qualifying offer) is if they sign a Major League contract with one of the other 29 times before next summer’s draft. That’s it. They don’t get a pick if the player retires, goes to Japan, or signs a minor league contract.
Mr. Fish Fingers asks: Any interest in/chance of acquiring Jason Castro this off-season or (more likely) at some point in the season? Got to cost an arm and a leg, but he had a nice season in Houston and is under team control.
Theoretically, the Astros would want to build around Castro going forward, right? He just turned 26 and hit .276/.350/.485 (130 wRC+) with 18 homers this season, plus he’s a standout defender behind the plate. That’s a cornerstone player. If you’re a rebuilding team, you keep him. That said, the Astros seem to have completely given up on being competitive and are instead focused on having a strong farm system, so who knows. I’d take Castro in a heartbeat — he is arbitration-eligible for the first time this year and can’t become a free agent until after 2016 — and would open up the farm system to give Houston whatever they want. Gary Sanchez and Rafael DePaula? Sure thing. You hope that in six years, Sanchez will be what Castro is right now. Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy? Tyler Austin and Mason Williams? Done deal. No-brainer for me. I think Castro is the one guy the Astros will keep, however.
Jon asks: MLBTR got me thinking about Asdrubal Cabrera as a possible 2014 shortstop target. If I remember, Brian Cashman was hot on him previously, only one year left on contract and coming off a down year. Possible buy low, would the Yankees want the Indians to kick some money in to offset $10M ’14 Salary? What would it take in prospects?
Cabrera would make sense as a shortstop target if he was actually a shortstop. The 27-year-old is an awful defensive player — pick any defense stat and it’ll say he’s been terrible for several years running now — and to make matters worse, he isn’t hitting all that much either. Cabrera put up a .242/.299/.402 (95 wRC+) line with 14 homers this year, which is way better than what the Yankees got from the position this year but way below what his reputation would lead you to believe. He’s better than Eduardo Nunez, but we’re not exactly setting a high bar there. Is he so much better that it justifies the massive salary and a trading away a prospect or two? Asdrubal is someone worth looking at more in-depth if he actually ends up on the block at some point. My short answer is: meh.
Elliot asks: If Derek Jeter declines his option (crazy talk) do you see a situation where he wants a longer contract guaranteed, but will spread out the cost over more years and help the team get under $189 million?
I don’t know if Jeter will want that, but there is a scenario in which opting out and signing a multi-year deal would help the Yankees get under the luxury tax threshold. Right now his option is worth $9.5M and can be worth as much as $16.5M with awards-based incentives. The team would have to treat him as a $16.5M player in 2014 — you can’t plan on him costing only $9.5M and then have him blow the whole thing up by finishing fifth in the MVP voting or something. They could, I suppose, guarantee the extra $7M (instead of basing it on incentives) and spread it out over multiple years. Instead of a one-year deal worth $9.5M and potentially $16.5M, it could be a three-year deal worth $16.5 guaranteed. That would lower the average annual salary (and his “tax hit”) from at least $9.5M and possibly $16.5M in 2014 to $5.5M flat. It’s worth considering, but remember, it takes two to tango.
Via Dan Martin: Derek Jeter as not yet made a decision about the $9.5M player option in his contract for next season. “I haven’t even thought about it. Our season just ended right now, so I’ve given no thought to the offseason,” said the Cap’n, who has until three days after the end of the World Series to officially exercise or decline the option. Awards-based incentives could increase his salary to $16.5M.
Jeter, 39, went 12-for-63 (48 wRC+) in only 17 games this season while missing time with a series of leg injuries, most notably the fractured left ankle he suffered last October. He has called this season a “nightmare” and I have a really hard time thinking he will decline the option and try to coax the team into giving him a two or (gasp) three-year contract. Jeter has zero leverage at this point.
In other news, Jeter said he is planning to begin offseason workouts relatively soon. He couldn’t work out on his usual schedule last winter because of the ankle injury, so hopefully having a regular offseason will help keep him healthy and productive next summer.
Brian Cashman held his annual end-of-season press conference on Tuesday afternoon and, unsurprisingly, there were no announcements made. Not even a minor one. He fielded questions for about an hour and in typical YankeeSpeak, the GM said a lot of words that had little substance. The team’s higher-ups have a knack for dodging questions and giving vague answers while talking a whole bunch. Anyway, let’s recap the presser:
On Joe Girardi
- Cashman confirmed he met with Girardi “for a while” yesterday and will meet with agent Steve Mandell tomorrow to continue talks. “After tomorrow, I think I’ll get a real good feel for where we’re at,” he said. “I think he likes it here. We’re going to give [Girardi] a real good reason to stay.”
- “His effort and his efforts in pre-game preparation for each series and how he runs Major League Spring Training … he’s been consistently tremendously at it,” said the GM while also crediting Girardi for working with such a poor roster this season. “[His] job as a manager is to make sure these guys compete on a daily basis … I thought he did a great job, him and his staff.”
- Cashman would not comment when asked if the Cubs (or any other team, for that matter) had contacted the team to ask for permission to speak to Girardi. His contract expires November 1st.
- Cashman closed the press conference with a preemptive “no comment” about how things go (went?) with Mandell tomorrow. He told the media not to bother to reach out for an update because he won’t give one. It was kinda funny.
I’ve never really been fond of the term “Core Four.” Not because it’s cheesy or because I hate pretty much everything, but because I feel it’s disrespectful to every other player who had a role in the dynasty years. I’m talking about guys like Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Paul O’Neill — the guys who were on the field celebrating Mariano Rivera‘s career yesterday. Even more recent players like Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, and CC Sabathia deserve to be any kind of “core” talk.
The Core Four or whatever you want to call it is no more at this point. Jorge Posada retired two years ago and both Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte will play the final games of their careers within the next week. Derek Jeter is still hanging around and figures to return next year — I have a very, very, very hard time thinking he would go out with a disastrous 2013 being his final season — but otherwise all the on-field ties to the dynasty years are gone. Even if Jeter does return next season, it’s hard to think he’ll be the same player he was just last year, nevermind 1996-2001.
The homegrown core of those dynasty years is not something we’re ever going to see again. Not in our lifetimes. The collection of players who came up through the farm system in the 1990s was historic, more than once in a generation stuff. Just think about it this way: if you were building a team today, from scratch, what types of the players you would target to build around? In no particular order, they’d be:
- A switch-hitter center fielder who hit for average, power, and got on base.
- A switch-hitting catcher with power and patience.
- An elite offensive shortstop who had all the intangibles associated with being a franchise cornerstone.
- A workhorse left-handed starter.
- A durable reliever who was unfazed in the biggest moments.
Those are the five guys you’d want to build your team around, right? Strength up the middle and strength on the mound. Now imagine not only drafting/signing and developing those five guys all at once, but imagine all of them having careers long enough that they turned into this:
- A borderline Hall of Fame center fielder.
- A borderline Hall of Fame catcher.
- A first ballot Hall of Fame shortstop.
- A borderline Hall of Fame left-hander.
- A first ballot Hall of Fame closer and the greatest reliever in baseball history.
That’s the core that came up through the Yankees’ farm system all at once in the 1990s. It’s a historically great crop of players that you’d be thrilled to develop over the span of 25 years, nevermind in just five or six years. In recent memory, I think only the Phillies — Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels — come even remotely close to developing such a high-end core in the same period of time.
The development of that five-player core is not something the Yankees or anyone can repeat. You can’t fire that idiot Brian Cashman and replace him with that genius Gene Michael, wait five years, then have another core with those caliber of players. It doesn’t work like that. The Williams/Posada/Jeter/Pettitte/Rivera core is a combination of both great scouting and historic luck. I’ve been using the word historic a lot because that’s what this is. There’s no other way to describe these guys individually or as a five-player unit.
As amazing as that development was, you know what I find just as fascinating? With the exception of Jeter, all of those guys were dangerously close to being traded at one time or another. Bernie was rumored to be involved in separate deals for Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and Jeff Blauser, among others. The Yankees originally wanted to include Posada in the Tino Martinez trade with the Mariners before relenting and giving up Russ Davis. Mariano was almost dealt for Randy Johnson, Felix Fermin, and David Wells at different times. Pettitte was on the trade block all throughout his first tenure in pinstripes it seemed, and the most notable rumor involved the Phillies and Adam Eaton. All it would have taken was one “yes” to dismantle the core of a dynasty.
Rivera and Pettitte saying goodbye to the Yankee Stadium crowd yesterday was about more than just saying goodbye to the fans. It was saying goodbye to one of the greatest runs in franchise history, a historic era that featuring five World Series titles and seven pennants in a 14-year span. We watched Jeter reach 3,000 career hits, Pettitte claim the team’s all-time strikeout crown, Bernie become the all-time leader in postseason RBI, Posada play in more playoff games than any other catcher in history, and Rivera save more games than anyone else in baseball history. It has been a privilege and an honor to watch all five of these guys — as well as anyone else who helped out during the dynasty years — but like everything else at one time or another, this great era of Yankees baseball has reached its end.
Sunday: Phelps has indeed been activated. He threw a two-inning simulated game on Thursday, so at least he had some kind of tune-up appearance under his belt. Derek Jeter was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.
Saturday: Via Dan Barbarisi: The Yankees will activate David Phelps off the 60-day DL prior to Saturday’s game to help their, uh, disheveled bullpen. Last week we heard Phelps had just started playing catch and was still a few days away from throwing in the bullpen. He’s been out with two forearm strains since early-July. There is pretty much zero chance Phelps is big league ready. Desperation is a stinky cologne.
Thanks to their back-to-back come from behind wins over the Orioles, the Yankees are right back in the thick of the wildcard hunt with 16 games to play. Yeah, just 16 games left. The end of the season is right around the corner. Here are some thoughts as we await the final of this four-game series against Baltimore:
1. The Yankees crept to within two games of the second wildcard spot in the loss column, and you know what the most ridiculous thing is? They haven’t evenly played all that well recently. They’ve lost four of their last seven games — the Red Sox just demolished them over the weekend, that was ugly — and trailed in all three wins. The Rays are letting New York and every other team right back into the race. Tampa has dropped five of their last six games and 13 of their last 17 to fall from tied atop the AL East to eight back in the loss column. Last night, in the biggest moment of their season (to date), Joe Maddon brought the pitcher former known as Fausto Carmona out of the bullpen. He promptly walked the bases loaded and surrendered a grand slam. You kinda deserve to collapse when you do that. The Yankees were going to need some help to climb out of the hole they dug themselves a few weeks ago, and the Rays have happily obliged. The Bombers just have to start playing a little better to finish this thing off.
2. Can you imagine where New York would be right now if they had gotten anything out of CC Sabathia this season? I was pretty optimistic about him coming into this year because he finished 2012 well (ALCS Game Four notwithstanding) and had his elbow cleaning up over the winter, but boy was I wrong. Think about it, Sabathia’s has been replacement level this year (0.2 bWAR). Replacement level! Nearly 200 innings (198, to be exact) of 4.82 ERA (4.15 FIP) ball. That’s hard to believe and tough to swallow. Obviously Sabathia isn’t the only reason the Yankees are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, but there’s no doubt he has played a big role in the team’s general mediocrity this summer. I think we all knew CC would decline during the course of his contract, but I don’t think many expected to see him go from ace to fifth starter in one year. Yuck.
3. I’m convinced Derek Jeter will return next season. I don’t see him going out like this, not in a million years. He’ll pick up his $9.5M player option and work like hell this offseason to make sure there are no more physical issues next year. I’m sure of it. At the same time, I don’t see any way the Yankees can count on him in 2014. I think they need to go out and find a permanent shortstop solution this winter so they can treat Jeter as a full-time DH who can step in and play the field on occasion. If he can do more than that, great. I just wouldn’t expect it. I know he’s Derek frickin’ Jeter and a god around these parts, but we are talking about a 39-year-old shortstop who lost what amounts to a full season with a series of leg injuries. The Yankees should plan for the worst because guys like that usually don’t come back and be productive.
4. Hypothetical: what happens if, after the season, Andy Pettitte decides he wants to pitch again in 2014? He had that really ugly stretch after coming off the DL, but he has been vintage Andy of late. Not dominant, but steady and reliable. Pettitte is already the oldest starting pitcher in baseball at 41 and he’s shown that he’s not physically up to the rigors of a full season, meaning 30+ starts of 100+ pitches. The Yankees will need pitching next year and, despite that hiccup a few weeks ago, I think most people would welcome Andy back with open arms. What’s a reasonable cost though? He’ll earn $12M this year and I don’t see any way the team could give him a raise. If Pettitte wants to come back, I think my absolutely maximum would be $10M for the year. Preferably, I’d guarantee him like $6M with incentives that kick in around 20 starts or so. Let’s say a $6M base salary plus $500k for every start after number 20, giving him a chance to match this season’s $12M salary if he manages to make a full 32 starts. Reasonable? That would be a pain to work into the luxury tax-drive payroll, but I think it’s fair considering Andy’s expected production and marquee value to the franchise.
The Yankees have placed Derek Jeter on the 15-day DL with continued left ankle problems, the team announced. Brian Cashman confirmed the Cap’n is done for the season and won’t return even if the Yankees manage to qualify for the playoffs. Bummer.
“It’s very disappointing not to be able to play, especially this time of year. This is when I want to play the most,” said Jeter. “This entire year has been pretty much a nightmare for me physically, so it’s kinda fitting that it ends like this.”
“This was a much more difficult rehabilitation situation than we ever expected,” added Cashman. He acknowledged the DL move was made to protect both Jeter and the team from rushing things, and also said they weren’t planning to shut him down as recently as yesterday.
Jeter, 39, played just 17 games this year with a series of leg problems, including quad and calf issues. Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the ankle surgery last October, said Jeter needs to strengthen the area around the ankle and there simply isn’t enough time to do so at this point.
“I haven’t been able to work out my legs since October of last year,” said Jeter when asked about returning next season. “I truly believe that with a full offseason working out how I’m used to working out, I can return to doing what I normally do.”
The Yankees acquired Brendan Ryan from the Mariners last night to bolster their shortstop depth. He is not eligible for the playoff roster, however. If they manage to get that far, Eduardo Nunez will be the guy.
Via Bob Nightengale: Team president Randy Levine confirmed the Yankees have not received any indication from Derek Jeter that this will be his final season. “There’s been no indication of that, none. We haven’t heard anything like that,” said Levine. “It’s frustrating for him. It’s frustrating for all of us. He’s a warrior. But the overwhelming priority here is to do what’s best for his health … It has been a very trying year.”
Jeter, 39, has played in only 17 of 144 games this year because of a series of leg problems, most significantly the left ankle fracture he suffered last October. Soreness in the surgically repaired ankle has him on the sidelines right now. When he has been on the field, the Cap’n hasn’t done much at the plate (47 wRC+) and his mobility at shortstop is nonexistent. I would be completely stunned if Jeter retired after this season. Floored. I have a hard time seeing how he’d allow himself to go out like this. Jeter will pick up his $9.5M player option and try to prove everyone wrong. After next year … who knows.
Derek Jeter is day-to-day with soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle. He was removed from yesterday’s game because Joe Girardi didn’t like the way he was running. The Cap’n will be re-evaluated in a few days, but as of right now, there are no plans to shut him down for the season. Eduardo Nunez is the only other player on the roster who can play shortstop unless they add Alberto Gonzalez to the 40-man or something.
5:47pm: The CT scan came back clean, but the results will be sent to Dr. Anderson in North Carolina for further review. He performed Jeter’s surgery in October.
5:04pm: Jeter is being sent for a precautionary CT scan, Brian Cashman confirmed. “He’s been through a lot this year … We’re just going to take a look under the hood,” said the GM.
4:43pm: Joe Girardi said he removed Jeter from the game because he “didn’t like the way he was running … there’s some concern on my part.” It’s unclear if Jeter will go for an MRI or be available tomorrow.
4:29pm: Via Ken Rosenthal: Derek Jeter left this afternoon’s game due to an issue with or near his surgically repaired left ankle. Replays showed the Cap’n stumble a bit fielding a ball in the hole in the sixth. He stayed in the game to finish the inning defensively and bat in the following inning before being lifted for a pinch-runner. No word on the nature or seriousness of the injury, so stay tuned.