Kevin Kernan of the New York Post gives us one of your more barf-inducing pieces of Jeter-worship in a year that has already seen many (and which will see many, many more over the next month and a half):
It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter.
The way the Yankees are playing, there will be no October in Jeter’s final season . . . At the age of 40, Jeter was supposed to go out the right way, playing October baseball and letting the chips fall where they may . . .It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter . . . It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter.
Those last two refrains of “It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter” are what sends this over the top. Three total, which turn a column about Jeter’s October exploits into a fanboy bit of hand-wringing. Or is it wishing? Or maybe praying? To be honest I have no idea what this is all about. I’m not sure if Kernan — who normally does not tend to skew sentimental — is merely trying to serve the Yankee homers who do or if he’s actually letting his guard down and is getting genuinely verklempt.
Either way, he would have done well to explain to us why Jeter is so damn special that he deserves to go to the playoffs when so many other greats did not get to end their careers on high notes. Indeed, you can probably count the ones who did on one hand. Babe Ruth quit in May while playing for a team that lost 115 games. Mickey Mantle’s last year saw the Yankees finish in 5th place. Yogi Berra ended his playing days with a 112-loss Mets team. Ted Williams finished with a great personal season, but on a team that lost 89 games.
That’s usually how it goes in baseball. Why Derek Jeter should be an exception is beyond me. That people argue with a straight face that he somehow deserves to be is what aggravates the holy hell out of people about folks in the media who write about Derek Jeter.
A wise man once said that everything ends badly. Otherwise it wouldn’t end. Maybe that’s not 100% true, but it’s true often enough that wishing otherwise is just that. Wishing. And wishing is not a great look for the sporting press.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.