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.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.