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.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.