If we told you that a 36-year-old free agent shortstop with poor range defensively and a .270/.340/.370 batting line in 2010 felt slighted at a three-year, $45 million contract offer, you’d call us crazy, right?
Fine, we’re nuts.
According to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, the agent for veteran shortstop Derek Jeter is hoping for more years and far more money than what the Yankees’ most recent contract proposal will provide.
Why? Because his client is a legend in pinstripes and because his value to the franchise goes beyond his contributions on the field. Yup, that’s the sales pitch.
“There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats,” said agent Casey Close. “And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling. They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”
The Yankees undoubtedly recognize that Jeter is an important part of the club’s past and present. It’s why they made him such a generous three-year offer — the kind of offer that he wouldn’t come close to landing on the open market.
A former general manager told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York in October that Jeter is worth no more than $12 million over the next two seasons. That might sound like a stretch, but it’s not far off if we’re just talking about on-field value. Middle infielders don’t age well and Jeter showed real signs of wear and tear this past season.
Reports last week had Jeter seeking a contract of at least four years and preferably five or six. A deal is going to get done between the two sides — that’s pretty much a sure thing — but it’s become apparent that negotiations are not going to be completely pleasant and that “the captain” is not going to be handed a blank check.
The Brewers offloaded outfielder Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a team announcement on Friday. Choice signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in early May, but did not earn a major league stint in 11 weeks with the team.
It’s been two full years since the 27-year-old outfielder snagged a big league opportunity of any kind. He last appeared with the Rangers in 2015 and played in just one game, striking out in his only at-bat. His production rate sagged through three consecutive minor league assignments with the Indians, Orioles and Brewers and peaked in 2016 after slashing .246/.304/.456 with 14 home runs for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus. He was off to a decent start this season for the Brewers’ Double-A Biloxi, working a .272/.349/.503 batting line with nine home runs and an .852 OPS through his first 195 PA.
Choice is poised to join several other ex-major leaguers on the Heroes’ roster, including left-hander Andy Van Hekken, right-hander Jake Brigham and infielder/outfielder Danny Dorn.
Our old friend Joe Posnanski tackles a venerable topic over at MLB.com: guys you totally forgot played for a given team. Mostly superstars who had brief stops at non-signature stations at the end of their careers. Or guys, like Mike Piazza and Reggie Jackson, who were with a team for a blink of an eye in between more famous way stations.
We’ve all had this conversation before: remember Willie Mays with the Mets? Doc Gooden with the Astros? John Smoltz with the Cardinals? Heck, I had forgotten about Smoltz with the Cardinals and he was a star on my favorite team once upon a time.
Posnanski calls them “Irony Jerseys.” That’s pretty appropriate, as one can totally imagine someone buying, say, that Dale Murphy Rockies jersey in the name of obscurity. Whatever you call it, it’s a good read.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get my Ted Simmons Braves jersey for a party at some place uptown that you’ve probably never heard of.