Sweeny Says: What Will Jeter Get?

By Sweeny Murti
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That’s the most fascinating question of this off-season. It’s fascinating for so many reasons: Jeter is the face of the Yankees, but 36 years old and coming off the worst season of his career, going into a year in which he will become the first Yankee ever to reach 3000 career hits.

There is none of the intrigue reserved for other free agents who have multiple suitors. Jeter wants to be a Yankee, and the Yankees want to keep him, and his value on the open market is a fraction of what his value is with the Yankees. What makes this so interesting? The final numbers.

If this was last year, Jeter coming off one of the best seasons of his career (.334 BA, Gold Glove, World Series Championship) this wouldn’t be nearly as tough to figure out: a five year deal for $100-125 million, right? But this year Jeter hit .270 with a .340 OBP and .370 SLG. All three percentages were easily the worst of his career. Was it an aberration or the beginning of a downward trend?

Anybody who knows Derek Jeter is betting on a rebound in 2011. But the Yankees have to bet with real money because they have to sign him to a new contract. And the one factor they can’t ignore is the natural decline that comes with age. Jeter turns 37 next June.

So with all this in mind, I decided to poll some experts to find out what they thought Derek Jeter would end up signing for. I asked 26 people around baseball (13 agents and 13 current or former executives) for their predictions. For obvious reasons, none of the executives were from the Yankees and none of the agents was Jeter’s rep Casey Close. The results were as interesting as I hoped they would be.

Of the 26 guesses, I tossed out the highest and the lowest. The highest was a $150 million dollar lifetime package, and the lowest was 2 years at $10 million per year. Both those guesses came from team executives. Of the remaining 24 figures, the average terms were 2.9 years at $17.1 million per year. The 13 agents averaged out at 3 yrs, $17.6 million, while 11 executives averaged out at 2.7 years, $16.5 million. Many of these people added possibilities for deferred income, a personal services deal after his playing days, and a 3000-hit marketing/bonus clause.

The year Jeter is coming off in 2010 is the main reason why this exercise is so intriguing. Of the 24 guesses used in the figures above, the AAV (average annual value) ranged as low as $10 million and as high as $23 million. If I polled the same people about Cliff Lee, I doubt I would get as big a disparity in the AAV. And while the agents’ AAV averaged slightly higher than the executives’ guesses, the $23 million guess came from a team exec, acknowledging the deep connection and the deep pockets that play into this equation.

This topic is so interesting it’s being discussed not only on the airwaves and at water coolers, but also in classrooms. “The Business of Baseball” is a graduate level class in the Sports Business Management program at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. The class is taught by Vince Gennaro, author of the book “Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball.”

Earlier this month, the class dissected a case study of Derek Jeter and his upcoming contract negotiations. The 22 grad students, asked to submit their proposals based on all the on-field and off-field factors, posted a median contract of 4 years. $18 million per. The length in this study is skewed a bit by six proposals for five-year deals and two more for six-year deals. Of those in my poll, only two agents guessed as high as four years in length.

So again we come back to this…what is Derek Jeter going to get? We all know he is going to be a Yankee for life. Maybe that’s the important part. It’s just not the fun part.

Sweeny Murti

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell on Derek Jeter’s contract situation

  • http://www.alltogether.se/?p=786 Aussie rates debate intensifies | Alltogether Gambling

    […] Sweeny Says: What Will Jeter Get? Jeter wants to be a Yankee, and the Yankees want to keep him, and his value on the open market is a fraction of what his value is with the Yankees. What makes this so interesting? The final numbers. Read more on CBS New York […]

  • joek

    i think fans and jeter should both realise (though itl b harder4 jeter cus of these$$$$$$$!) that the objective is 2 win and right now jeter is not helping! so give him wat he wud get on the open market wich is around 2 years 5-6mil per if he dosnt like it lets see how much endorsment money ,respect, he loses he needs the yankees more than they need him!!

  • http://riveraveblues.com/2010/10/guessing-on-the-years-and-the-dollars-for-jeter-37605/ Guessing on the years and dollars for Jeter | River Avenue Blues

    […] the Yanks or Jeter — for their takes on the Derek contract situation, and the results show a wide range of potential deals. The results? An average of three years at $17 […]

  • Greg R.

    I think the “right” deal, a sane offer would be two years, maybe $12.5 million per. And that is overpaying him for what he will deliver on the field. One can expect .270 4 55 numbers from here on in. A third year as a team option would be OK. Four years is ludicrous! Who the heck wants a 40-year-old shortstop hitting .250 with no power?

  • Richard

    Do the right thing. Jeter is Jeter. Nothing like him. He’s the Captain and the heart of the team. Do the right thing.

  • Josh "Big Daddy"

    Whatever Jeter gets I hope the Yankees keep in mind that he is a “Yankee Great” and will find his face in monument park someday. I would hope that Jeter keeps the Yankees in mind and does his part to help build a team that can win it all next year. I love being a Yankee fan and I thank Jeter for the roll model that he is for my kids.

  • 7

    Its more about the years than the money – Derek should get per year what Aroid gets, +1. But he needs to retire gracefully and not drag it out for more than a couple of years

  • NESN

    I’m a die hard Yankee fan, but Why do you have to give Jeter whatever he wants? If he is the big, classy guy everybody says he is, then he should know that he is on the downside of his career and isnt worth anything close to 18 mil a year. Did you see his numbers this year? .270/10/67/.340/.370. If his name was Joe Smith, everybody would be yelling to get him out of here. The Yankees owe him NOTHING. he made over 190 MILLION dollars in his career from the Yanks. Give him his personal service contract and tell him to play shortstop at the old timers game for the rest of his life. if anything, if he is a true yankee, he will take a one year deal, 10-15 mil, get his 3000 hit and walk off into the sunset.

  • BleacherCreature26

    Big Dog thats exactly right. I despise Brian Cashman, but i think even HE will understand that you must give Derek whatever he wants. The guy has shown nothing but class, and has done nothing but help the team win.

  • Big Dog

    You cannot put a price on winning nor can you put a price on integrity. Jeter has both in spades. The Yankees will not only pay Jeter handsomely for what he will do this year but for what he has and will mean to this organization publicly.

    • John Foley

      This is almost pure nonsense. Of course you can put a price on winning; it’s called “a player’s salary.” Free agency determines a player’s value on the open market. Derek Jeter didn’t win anything this past season, and that’s how he should be evaluated. Nobody’s arguing against his overall value career-wise, or saying he’s not a Hall of Famer. The issue is whether or not he will have enough value GOING FORWARD to merit a huge contract for multiple years. Objective analysis would suggest that no, he will not.
      Jeter made 26 million dollars last year, and put up a .710 OPS. The year most players would make a contract push, he played horribly. There was no smoke and mirrors at play here. By any measure Jeter was not a very useful player. OK, fine, measured against other shortstops his offense was still acceptable, but other shortstops at least play good defense. And they don’t charge $26 million to do it.
      Derek’s defense has never been his strong suit, but we put up with it because his offense was superlative. That may no longer be the case. He didn’t hit for aveage. He didn’t hit for power. He didn’t walk very much. He struck out over 100 times. He hit into an ungodly number of double plays. And this leadoff hitter began seemingly every game, not by working the count and wearing out the pitcher, but by swinging at the first pitch and grounding out weakly to an infielder.
      Look, maybe he has one more MVP-caliber campaign left in him. I would love that to be the case. I just don’t think it will be. I can only base my estimation on what I saw and what I expect, not what I would hope for.
      Overpaying Derek Jeter because he’s a TRUE YANKEE, because he’s been great in the past, is too much to ask. You absolutely CAN put a price on winning, and allocating a huge chunk of payroll to a player who isn’t helping the team is too high a price to pay.
      I’m not saying they should dump Derek and go for Adam Everett or Juan Uribe. I’m only saying they shouldn’t give the guy a blank check, either. He’s been handsomely rewarded for his time in pinstripes. The Yankees don’t “owe” him anything. He’s owed what he’s worth on the open market. If they want to work some kind of personal services stipulations and lifetime employment into the deal, fine. What I don’t want to see is 4 years, $100 million. If he makes more than $10 milion next year, the Yankees will be every bit the laughingstock people make them out to be.

  • Dean

    I agree partially with Lloyd. On the one hand, I DO think this may be the beginning of the end, but on the other, I don’t see it as being a drastic dropoff as this year would indicate. In other words, I indeed feel he’ll bounce back to some degree, but, in the bigger picture, you have to wonder how many years he has left.

  • Lloyd

    Jeet’s going to get 4yrs 70-80 million because despite the past season he is still Derek Jeter. I don’t see why everyone is freaking out just because he had a down year, everyone has one. Jeter is going to go into this offseason, work hard to find that hole in his swing, and come back even better next year.

    • John Foley

      Because a down year at age 37 is vastly different than a down year at age 29.

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