Derek Jeter: Yankees owner

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jeter.jpgKevin Kernan thinks that Derek Jeter’s future is in ownership:

The Yankees need to find a way to make Derek Jeter a Yankee for Life.
There’s really only one way. At some point the Steinbrenner family
would have to take him into the ownership group . . . Jeter is set on being an owner when his playing days are done.
Without specifically talking about the Yankees, Jeter told The Post
yesterday that being an owner is “definitely a goal of mine.”

First thought: why do the the Yankees need to find a way to make Jeter a Yankee for life? He’s important, sure, but I think the Yankees are more important to him than he is to them. The team has done just fine without making Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, or Reggie Jackson an owners, so I tend to think they’ll survive just fine if they were to hold the line at “special assistant to the general manager” or “spring training instructor” when it comes to Derek Jeter’s future role with the team.

But let’s say all parties are interested in Derek Jeter being an owner. How would that work?

There was a time not too long ago when the Yankees’ ownership club wasn’t the most exclusive in the world. George Steinbrenner was only one of many notables in the original ownership group that purchased the Yankees from CBS in 1973. Included were guys like financier Lester Crown (who still holds a stake), Football legend Lamar Hunt’s brother Nelson, and John DeLorean of all people.  There were a lot of smaller investors from here in Columbus, Ohio, one of whom was a nice old lady who used to be a client of mine. She had Yankee stuff all over her house and used to joke with people that she was going to fire Joe Torre whenever the Yankees beat the Indians as, business aside, they were her true rooting interest.

In recent years the Steinbrenners have either bought out the minority owners or had their shares revert to their control upon death or what have you.  But that doesn’t mean that they can’t let someone like Derek Jeter into the club.  It would just take a (likely token) capital investment and some paperwork.

But it wouldn’t be meaningful ownership. According to Forbes, the Yankees are worth $1.5 billion, and at that price it would cost Jeter way more than he can afford* in order to get a significant stake for himself. And of course, the majority shareholders — the Steinbrenners — are hands-on owners to say the least, so there’s no way they would ever give a minority shareholder real ownership responsibility the way the Giants do, for example.

So if Jeter simply wants to say that he owns a chunk of the Yankees I’m sure that can be arranged. If he really wants to act like an owner some day, however, he’d do better to put together a group of investors himself and buy the Royals or something.

*Kernan mentions Michael Jordan’s recent ascension to owner of the Charlotte Bobcats as an example that Jeter could follow. Worth noting, of course, that the Bobcats are worth less than 1/5 of what the Yankees are worth, and that Michael Jordan has probably made a billion dollars since he left UNC.  Jeter, in contrast, makes something less than $30 million a year in salary and endorsements. Not too shabby, but not the kind of dough you’d need to be able to so much as make decisions regarding office supplies for Yankees headquarters.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.