The New York Daily News ponders whether, in the case of Derek Jeter, the Yankees will break their longstanding rule of not entering into contract negotiations with current players until their current deal is up. The Captain is entering the least year of his ten-year, $189 million deal. The most interesting question raised by the article is whether Jeter would actually take the bait from another team if he’s allowed to become a free agent:
Would the Captain test the market to punish the Yankees for stringing
him along? And if he did, is there a team out there with enough
resources – and guts – to try to put Jeter in another uniform to finish
his career? . . . With most teams looking to reduce payroll, it’s unlikely to think that
any other franchise would commit the kind of money it would take to
lure Jeter away from New York – assuming that money exists. But as one
GM pointed out, “All it takes is one team.”
I would place the likelihood of the Yankees letting Jeter go elsewhere — or Jeter wanting to go elsewhere, even for more money — at approximately .000000001%, and the only reason that number is above zero is to reflect the probability that a meteor strikes New York while Jeter is out of town between now and next fall, thereby eliminating the Yankees as a possibility.
The Yankees overpay for everyone, so there’s no reason to think that they won’t overpay to keep their most significant player since Mickey Mantle in the family for life. If they didn’t ask themselves whether or not Alex Rodriguez would still be a useful player in 2017, they sure as hell aren’t going to be too concerned if Jeter is going to be useful in, say, 2013 or 2014.
And is there any player in baseball who strikes you as more mindful of his legacy and place in history than Jeter? He more than anyone knows just how much him wearing a Giants or White Sox jersey would screw with the space-time continuum. He will realize singular post-career value — actual value, historical value and psychic value — if he retires a life-long Yankee, and he knows it.
My prediction: unless Jeter utterly falls off a cliff in 2010, his contract negotiations next winter will take approximately ten minutes (if he falls off a cliff it’ll take 20 minutes). He will leave those negotiations with a contract that probably pays him a bit too much and probably pays him a bit too long.
And absolutely no one in the universe will be bothered a bit by it.
Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.
[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.
He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.
Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.
Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.
For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.
So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?
The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.
I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.
Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.
But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.