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Derek Jeter, six-year deals, and how HBT makes sense of the hot stove rumor mill

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Jon Heyman is reporting that Derek Jeter is asking for a six year deal. Oh noes! That’s crazy!  But hey, before we get into this, let me say a few words to those of you who weren’t reading HBT last winter — or those of you who forgot — about how we deal with rumors around these parts:

Between now and spring training, there will be at least one new rumor every day.  Often dozens, but even on Christmas freakin’ Morning, some Johnny Sportswriter will say that they heard this, that or the other about Freeagent Smith being linked with the Whereverthehell Gray Sox.  You’ll be surprised to learn that there’s not a lot of merit to most of them. They’re not made up — really, it’s rare that someone passes along word about these things without having some basis for it — but a ton of them just aren’t credible, either on their face or upon some scrutiny.

That’s where we come in. We post about a lot of rumors. Not all, but most. But just because we mention a rumor, doesn’t mean we think there’s anything to it. To the contrary, we often mention rumors in order to explain why we think they make no sense. Or why they do make sense. Or what six things would have to happen before said rumor could become a reality. Rather than merely aggregate them here, we view ourselves as filters of sorts, trying to help you make sense of where any given rumor fits into the grand scheme of things. Not because we have special expertise necessarily — we don’t talk to as many baseball people as a lot of the reporters do — but because we have the time and experience and wicked search engine skills to put those things into context so you don’t have to. You could debunk this stuff just as easily if you didn’t have real jobs and lives. Which we don’t, when it comes right down to it.

So: Jon Heyman tweets thusly:

jeter could take awhile. #yanks may be thinking 2-3 yrs. but industry sources suggest he could ask to stay ’til hes 42 (6 yrs), a la arod.

And we respond thusly: interesting, but implausible in our minds. Why? Because Jeter has never made an irrational, ill-considered business move in his baseball life, and we can’t see him starting now.  If he insisted on six years, the Yankees would tell him to go away. Even Derek Jeter.  They’re not going to commit to him that long because it makes zero sense for them to do so.

Does this mean that Heyman is wrong? No. I have no doubt that he heard what he heard. But if Jeter is asking for six years, there has to be more to it than we’re getting in this little tweet. Say, three years guaranteed plus a three year commitment that is convertible to a personal services contract with the team in the event he retires.  Or it could mean that Heyman heard it from someone who misunderstood what he heard. Or it could mean that Jon Heyman has a very low threshold for what he considers to be actionable gossip and that he has been accused in the past of being a tool of agents seeking to plant negotiation points in the press. You know, the normal grapevine dynamic.

What we can feel confident in saying, however, is that if Derek Jeter goes in looking for a straight six year contract, he’s kind of nuts, and we don’t have any reason to believe that Jeter is anything but shewed in terms of business and P.R. savvy.

So that’s how we operate here.  We hope you find it helpful.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.