I’m not sure what to make of Derek Jeter’s total value. That is, his value as both a baseball player and a piece of marketing and good will and all of that. And those are the terms in which his current contractual situation are being played out.
There’s just so much uncertainty there. I think those who say that Jeter is irreplaceable or that he’s worth tens of millions as a personality alone are frankly deluded. There’s a value to that stuff, sure, but I don’t think it’s that great. At the same time, anyone who completely discounts the notion that Jeter has some value over and above his OPS and defense is loony too (not that I’ve seen anyone totally discount it). It’s just that unless you’re privy to all of the numbers the Yankees and Jeter’s representatives have along those lines, you can’t know this stuff. And even those people then have to take a leap of faith because the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Still, I think we can recognize baloney when we see it, and there’s some baloney in this morning’s article by Bob Raissman, in which he quotes an alleged expert on sports marketing who thinks that Jeter would be valuable to any team who is launching a regional sports network like YES. The example he uses is the Astros, and he drops this beauty:
“Jeter’s presence at a fledgling regional sports network has value,” said Lee Berke, president of LHB Sports, Entertainment & Media Inc., a company that advises sports and entertainment properties on network start-ups. “Jeter’s leverage is this: Suppose he goes to a team that’s just developing a network, like the Astros.
“You’re out there trying to sell the network to cable systems for the first time,” Berke said. “When a team doesn’t have a record of recent success, you’ve got a real advantage saying (to cable operators) ‘We’ve got Derek Jeter. We are committed to excellence.'”
Really? Does a Derek Jeter signing and a one-day press conference that would accompany it really signal to smart business people and the viewers who pay for their services that the Astros are “committed to excellence?” Depending on the contract price, it could mean that they’re committed to delusion. Depending on how he hits between Opening Day and May 11th it could mean that they’re committed to paying for the shadow of a once-great player. How much did Hank Aaron mean for the 1975-76 Brewers’ bottom line?
Which isn’t to say that Jeter is done. He may bounce back remarkably. It’s just that trying to value him separate and apart from what he actually brings in terms of baseball production is silly. Even the Yankees have to weigh his average and OPS over his Q score. He’s a baseball player, after all. He’s not hosting a talk show.
Amid the din and clatter of the Cubs’ National League championship on Saturday night, one member of the 2016 squad found himself celebrating 1,710 miles away in Mesa, Arizona. Kyle Schwarber, whose remarkable recovery from torn ligaments in his left knee appears to be fast-tracking him toward a World Series appearance, was showered in champagne by his fellow Arizona Fall League teammates following the Cubs’ clinch.
According to FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke, the celebration wasn’t a total surprise: Schwarber had been following the Cubs-Dodgers action on an iPad from the dugout of Sloan Park.
Schwarber appeared in the Mesa Solar Sox’ 7-2 loss to the Salt River Rafters on Saturday, giving Cubs’ brass another look before they decide whether or not to assign him an active role on the World Series team. The 23-year-old batted second in the DH spot, going 0-for-3 with a walk and lining out sharply to Rockies’ center fielder Noel Cuevas in his third and final at-bat. While his knee did not appear to be ailing him (if anything, Stokke noted, the outfielder was dealing with a number of blisters on his hands), Schwarber took it easy on the basepaths and was not exercised in the field. He’s expected to fill the same role if he makes it into the Cubs’ lineup next week.
With their 2016 season and 11-game playoff run in the books, the Dodgers are refocusing their attention on the upcoming 2017 season. Two outstanding performers, third baseman Justin Turner and right-handed closer Kenley Jansen, are on the cusp of free agency heading into the offseason. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Dodgers intend to make qualifying offers to both Turner and Jansen, but may not be prepared to go the distance to keep both of them on the 2017 roster.
Turner finished his third season in Los Angeles with a .275/.339/.493 batting line and a career-best 27 home runs, riding a hot streak that made him one of the most productive players on the Dodgers’ squad this October. He started in all 11 games of the NLDS and NLCS, engineering a .286 average and two home runs — one of which was the difference-maker in a 4-3 win during Game 1 of the NLDS. His glove has become a much-needed asset within the Dodgers’ organization as well, as he currently ranks sixth among qualified third basemen with seven Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and second with a 14.1 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) in 2016.
While Turner’s production rate suggests that he’s made a full recovery from the microfracture procedure he underwent in 2015, the Dodgers appear to have reservations about the 31-year-old’s age. Heyman indicated that the veteran infielder prefers to stay in Los Angeles, but the chances of the Dodgers jumping into a fierce bidding war appear to be low for the time being.
Jansen, on the other hand, is expected to incur more interest from the club. The right-hander commanded a 1.83 ERA and 9.45 K/BB rate through 68 2/3 innings in the regular season and was instrumental in closing the door on five wins during the postseason. His 3.2 fWAR performance in 2016 made him the most valuable reliever in the major leagues, eclipsing fellow standouts like the Indians’ Andrew Miller and the Cubs’ Aroldis Chapman. Assuming the Dodgers are as serious about retaining Jansen as they were about pursuing Chapman during the 2015 offseason, the 29-year-old closer should stand a decent chance of returning to Los Angeles for another season.
Should the Dodgers fail to match an offer levied to either Turner or Jansen, they’ll receive compensation in the form of unprotected draft picks.