Lupica: Yankees should open purse strings for Jeter

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If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear all sorts of reasons as to why the Yankees should not pay impending free agent Derek Jeter an exorbitant amount of money this offseason. 

First and foremost, they don’t have to.  No other club is going to hand a major contract to a 36-year-old shortstop with diminishing skills offensively and defensively.  Jeter, a stellar .314/.385/.452 hitter throughout his career, batted just .270/.340/.370 in 663 at-bats this season.  He had an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -4.8.  Oh, and he’ll be 37 in June.

But none of that matters to the New York Daily News’ Mike Lupica.  He thinks Jeter should be awarded whatever he wants — up to $20 million per year over four years.  Why?  Because he is “the kind of Yankee” that “everybody still wants the Yankees to be.”

Jeter is going for his sixth World Series ring with the Yankees. He has
become the iconic Yankee of his time in New York, is regarded as one of
the great winners of his time, in any sport. More than that, Jeter is
the Yankee brand they sell with both hands – class, history,
excellence – and has been since the winning came back to the old
Stadium.

Those are all great things, sure, but why not approach the situation with a little business sense?  A former general manager told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York last week that Jeter is worth no more than $12 million over the next two seasons — as in, $6 million per year.  That’s probably a bit of an overreaction, but it’s not really that far off.

We’ll see a leaner Yasiel Puig in 2017. Just like we did in 2016.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers tips his hat to Vin Scully as he announces his final home game for the Dodgers during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Yasiel Puig made a public appearance today. He was a guest barista at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Los Angeles as part of a charity . . . thing. I dunno. I just hope that, after finishing the foam on someone’s latte he airmailed it past his fellow barista at the counter and got it to the customer on the fly 300 feet away, after which he flipped the espresso machine. Gotta stay on-brand.

After that he talked about baseball. Puig, who was demoted last season and then brought back up in a part-time role, said that it’s his goal to be a starter again, if not in Los Angeles than someplace else. As for the someplace else, the Dodgers explored a Puig trade last season and it was thought they’d try again this offseason, but it’s been all quiet on that front.

What is Puig, for his part, doing to become a starter again? Getting in shape. From MLB.com:

Puig has been working out at Dodger Stadium the last two weeks. He is conditioning his leaner body to avoid injuries that have plagued him and working with batting coaches in search of regaining the impact bat that once had him on the verge of superstardom . . . The 6-foot-2 Puig, who last year was listed at 240 pounds, now has a personal chef to prepare healthier foods.

A leaner Puig. That’ll certainly be a game-changer, right?

Yet as a new season dawns, the team still hopes he can recapture the form he displayed as a rookie in 2013. The organization asked Puig to slim down and focus on durability rather than musculature. Friedman sounded pleased with the result. Puig had suggested he weighed about 240 pounds, down 15 from his listed weight in 2015.

Oops. That was from January 30, 2016.

If he keeps getting leaner each offseason eventually he’ll just disappear, right?

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.