The fundamental difference between Team Jeter and Team Yankees people (note: I’m assuming these “teams” exist, because the media is obsessed with such things in today’s discourse) is perspective. Team Jeter seems to be looking backwards, at all of the things Jeter has accomplished and all that he means to the New York Yankees. Team Yankees looks forward and has trouble seeing how Jeter can possibly be worth $20 million a year at age 37 and later. Heck, even that $15 million seems steep.
Today Howard Megdal shows us why. He looks at the top five 37-year-old and older shortstops of all time, and wonders if Jeter has a chance to be worth his contract going forward. The short answer: don’t count on it. Of the top five, one is Honus Wagner who, as perhaps the greatest player of all time, should probably not form the basis of comparison. Three played, long long ago. The fifth is Mike Bordick, whose offensive production was low to begin with, making his “improvement” after age 37 a relative proposition at best.
I can’t see Jeter joining that group. Even if he does, I can’t see him transcending them. Hold the line Yankees. Stick with your $15 million offer. See what happens.*
*Yes, I realize they won’t do this, but a boy can dream.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.