Derek Jeter, six-year deals, and how HBT makes sense of the hot stove rumor mill

15 Comments

Jon Heyman is reporting that Derek Jeter is asking for a six year deal. Oh noes! That’s crazy!  But hey, before we get into this, let me say a few words to those of you who weren’t reading HBT last winter — or those of you who forgot — about how we deal with rumors around these parts:

Between now and spring training, there will be at least one new rumor every day.  Often dozens, but even on Christmas freakin’ Morning, some Johnny Sportswriter will say that they heard this, that or the other about Freeagent Smith being linked with the Whereverthehell Gray Sox.  You’ll be surprised to learn that there’s not a lot of merit to most of them. They’re not made up — really, it’s rare that someone passes along word about these things without having some basis for it — but a ton of them just aren’t credible, either on their face or upon some scrutiny.

That’s where we come in. We post about a lot of rumors. Not all, but most. But just because we mention a rumor, doesn’t mean we think there’s anything to it. To the contrary, we often mention rumors in order to explain why we think they make no sense. Or why they do make sense. Or what six things would have to happen before said rumor could become a reality. Rather than merely aggregate them here, we view ourselves as filters of sorts, trying to help you make sense of where any given rumor fits into the grand scheme of things. Not because we have special expertise necessarily — we don’t talk to as many baseball people as a lot of the reporters do — but because we have the time and experience and wicked search engine skills to put those things into context so you don’t have to. You could debunk this stuff just as easily if you didn’t have real jobs and lives. Which we don’t, when it comes right down to it.

So: Jon Heyman tweets thusly:

jeter could take awhile. #yanks may be thinking 2-3 yrs. but industry sources suggest he could ask to stay ’til hes 42 (6 yrs), a la arod.

And we respond thusly: interesting, but implausible in our minds. Why? Because Jeter has never made an irrational, ill-considered business move in his baseball life, and we can’t see him starting now.  If he insisted on six years, the Yankees would tell him to go away. Even Derek Jeter.  They’re not going to commit to him that long because it makes zero sense for them to do so.

Does this mean that Heyman is wrong? No. I have no doubt that he heard what he heard. But if Jeter is asking for six years, there has to be more to it than we’re getting in this little tweet. Say, three years guaranteed plus a three year commitment that is convertible to a personal services contract with the team in the event he retires.  Or it could mean that Heyman heard it from someone who misunderstood what he heard. Or it could mean that Jon Heyman has a very low threshold for what he considers to be actionable gossip and that he has been accused in the past of being a tool of agents seeking to plant negotiation points in the press. You know, the normal grapevine dynamic.

What we can feel confident in saying, however, is that if Derek Jeter goes in looking for a straight six year contract, he’s kind of nuts, and we don’t have any reason to believe that Jeter is anything but shewed in terms of business and P.R. savvy.

So that’s how we operate here.  We hope you find it helpful.

Nationals complete NLCS sweep of Cardinals, punch ticket to World Series

Patrick Smith/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Nationals will officially appear in the World Series for the first time in franchise history. The team that had a 19-31 record in late May, putting manager Dave Martinez on the hot seat, improbably fought back to snag a Wild Card slot, won the play-in game, beat the heavily-favored Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, and polished off a sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS on Tuesday night, winning 7-4.

After Patrick Corbin tossed a scoreless top of the first inning, the Nationals’ offense wasted no time getting to work. Single, double, sacrifice fly, RBI double, intentional walk, reach on error, RBI single, two-run single, sacrifice bunt, two-run single. That’s how the Nats hung a seven-spot in the opening frame against Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright.

To the Cardinals’ credit, they cleaned things up from there. The Nationals would not score for the rest of the game while the Cardinals clawed back for a run in the fourth before plating three runs in the fifth. Yadier Molina went yard off of Corbin in the fourth. In the fifth, a Tommy Edman ground out and a José Martínez two-run double accounted for the Cardinals’ runs in the fifth.

Corbin ultimately gave up the four runs on four hits and three walks with, impressively, 12 strikeouts across five innings of work. Tanner Rainey worked a 1-2-3 sixth. Sean Doolittle did the same in the seventh.

Doolittle remained in the game in the eighth, getting the first two outs before relenting a single to Marcell Ozuna. Right-hander Daniel Hudson entered for the four-out save opportunity. Hudson hit Molina with a fastball, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Paul DeJong. DeJong worked a full count, then walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter emerged from the dugout to take his cuts against Hudson. After five tense pitches to Carpenter, Hudson got him to ground out to second base to end the inning.

The Nats went down quick in the bottom of the eighth. Hudson emerged from the dugout to send the Nationals into the World Series. He did just that, getting Kolten Wong to fly out to shallow left field for the first out. Matt Wieters popped up to the catcher in fair territory for out number two. At long last, Edman flied out to center field. Nationals win 7-4.

The only other time the franchise reached the Championship Series was in 1981 when the Expos lost three games to two to the Dodgers. The Expos/Nationals then went from 1982-2011 without a playoff appearance. The Nationals lost four Division Series appearances in a row in 2012, ’14, and ’16-17, three of which went the maximum five games. Now they’re in the World Series, improbably. They will await the winner of the ALCS, which the Astros currently lead 2-1.