We’ve heard rumblings about this for years, but on Sunday Derek Jeter reiterated his desire to own and/or run a baseball team someday. Via the New York Post:
“That’s the next goal, buddy . . . Calling the shots, not answering to someone, that’s what interests me. I’d like to think I would be good one . . . I’d probably be a little bit more behind the scenes than the Boss,” he said. “But I learned a lot of things from the Boss.”
It would have to be hands off because any ownership interest Jeter could get in any team would likely be a pretty small minority interest. I mean, yes, by baseball player standards Jeter is rich, but by baseball owner standards he’s not. One of the worst-run franchises in all of professional sports, subject to a somewhat disadvantageous arena deal, is selling for over $2 billion. Jeter’s entire net worth is likely ten percent of that. Tops. At best he could head up an investment group to buy a baseball team, but barring a decidedly disinterested group of investors, he’d likely have less actual power than anyone in it. At the very least he’d answer to them.
How about some role with the Yankees? If it’s an ownership interest, well, good luck having any power at all. Over the past 40 years the Steinbenner family has taken increasing control of the team, buying out the original group of investors who went in with old George back in 1973 when he held only 51% of the team. There are still a handful of those people around, but their share in the team is shockingly small. They get tickets and swag and meet-and-greets out of it in addition to any profits the Steinbrenners choose to distribute (they may choose not to) but they certainly have no say anything. Maybe the Steinbrenners float Jeter a piece like that as a goodwill gesture, but that sure as heck ain’t ownership.
I feel like the best Jeter could do if he really were to call the shop would be to get into baseball operations. Maybe an apprenticeship deal where he learns the ropes he does not yet know — and really, he may know more than we know; we don’t know that much about Jeter as a person — and eventually turn into a GM or team president type. Over years he gains some power and maybe a bit of equity in a team like Billy Beane has. I feel like that’d be a much better deal and a much more substantive position than being a figurehead for some billionaires.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.