Posted November 01, 2013

Yankees sign Derek Jeter to one-year contract that could be his last

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, Yankees

Derek Jeter played only 17 games in 2013 and will turn 40 years old next June. (Getty Images)

There was never any doubt that Derek Jeter would return to the Yankees in 2014, but coming off a season in which he made $17 million but managed to play just 17 games due to injury, it looked as though he was going to be forced to pick up the $9.5 million player option on his contract, effectively handing himself a $7.5 million pay cut. However, the two sides found a face-saving alternative that resulted in Jeter declining that option and then signing a new one-year deal for $12 million on Friday.

The contract benefits Jeter not only by paying him more money than his option (which had a base value of $8 million and added a $1.5 million bonus for his 2012 Silver Slugger award), but also by sending the signal that the team believes he can still be a valuable player even heading in his age-40 season. Meanwhile, the Yankees appear to have shed the bonuses in Jeter’s former contract that would have, however unlikely it may have been, allowed Jeter’s salary to swell to $17 million.

Jeter’s player option gave him leverage that he was able to use in direct negotiations with principal owner Hal Steinbrenner. Those negotiations were quick and quiet, a stark contrast to the talks between Yankee general manager Brian Cashman and Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, over the star shortstop’s last contract in the fall of 2010, which found Cashman taking a hard line regarding Jeter’s value. Even then, the resulting deal ($51 million over three years plus the player option and bonuses) exceeded Jeter’s apparent value coming off an age-36 season in which he hit just .270/.340/.370, all career lows. However, Jeter’s 3,000th hit remained in the future, and the Captain validated his faith in himself by finding the fountain of youth during a June 2011 disabled list stay and hitting .321/.369/.434 from his return through the end of the 2012 season.

Things are different now. The right ankle Jeter broke during the 2012 American League Championship Series cracked again during spring training, starting him off on a miserable season in which he missed 145 games, made four trips to the disabled list and batted .190. There’s no guarantee that Jeter, who turns 40 next June, will be able to stay healthy in the coming season, let alone make a positive contribution as the Yankees shortstop.

Only three players in baseball history age 40 or older have qualified for a batting title while playing at least 75 percent of their games at shortstop: Omar Vizquel, who did so in 2007 while hitting .246/.305/.316; Luke Appling in 1947 and 1949, and Honus Wagner from 1914-16. One clearly must be an exceptional player to add his name to that list, and Jeter is that, but all indications are that he has finally reached the end of the line.

It’s telling that Jeter didn’t negotiate a second year or even an option onto his new deal. With Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera having retired, Jeter is now the last active player of significance from Joe Torre’s championship Yankees teams. With his body having betrayed him so often and so significantly in 2013, it seems it is finally clear to Jeter himself that his time is almost up. It’s likely that this contract will be his final one, which would make the 2014 season Derek Jeter’s last.

46 comments
oasis1994
oasis1994

So much hate out there. There is no reason for it. Let the man try and play next year and see how it goes. No one should say anything till this guys gets on the field. Even then, he needs at least a few weeks of the regular season to get into it. 

As a Sox fan I love this guy and all that he does. He never quits and plays the game the right way.

nygiants56
nygiants56

Last game of the 2014 season is Yankees at Red Sox.  If 2014 is it for Jeter, Sox fans will give him the long ovation and send-off he deserves.

j.goodwin.125
j.goodwin.125

I like Jeter as he plays with his heart.  Hopefully this year will be a banner year in which he will finish with more than 3400 hits depending on how many games he plays.  to have proper closure is important to Jeter as he has given his all those years with the Yankees.


I hope he will find his significant other and become a Dad someday.

chipdavis
chipdavis

As a west coaster and a die hard Cards fan (OUCH), Jeter is one of the Great Yankee's. Even if he plays in only 50 games next year, he deserves the cash and the retirement road swing, ala Rivera. I've been fortunate to have been to Yankee Stadium one time in my life and made sure to buy his Jersey, which I gave to my son. I am a baseball fan ans consider myself fortunate to have seen Yankee Stadium and Fenway (Even tho I hate the Red Sux).  Jeter appears to be an arrogant SOB, but one I hope my son emulates. I should be so lucky......

Dave C
Dave C

He is just another player hanging on for the money.  he is no different than anyone else.  Bye bye.

tracejuno
tracejuno

What's with all the hate? Let him play a few games, people.

hddh
hddh

Great deal for both sides. The Yankees get to add a sorely needed jolt of offense into the lineup and it's great to see the organization taking care of one of the legends. Nice move.

GO22JETS
GO22JETS

Love the  Yanks but 12m? Comn Jeter hang it up  with class like Mick, Lou and the others. Don't hang on when YOU know its over ('77 Rams Namath)

RichW
RichW

Truly one of the great players of his era, maybe the best. But I do think he should retire already!

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Desperate attempt to keep fans buying tickets for a team likely to finish in 4th place again next season.

yankee42
yankee42

Well talk about WELFARE HANDOUTS. The Yanks could have used that money to get a decent SS, as Jeter's time is over.  Wait, he did play ALL OF 17 games last year, I wonder how much he got paid for each of those games????? Jeter has been a GREAT SS but his time has come and gone. I wonder if the Yanks are going to re-sign RYAN, probably not because they have JETER who should play at least 20 games this coming year. I was really looking forward to 2014, but this takes the wind out of my sales. The Yanks could really show the fans the exit. They could re-sign Hafner and some more over-the hillers. Is Seaver available, also Gooden, O'Neill, Tino, and maybe put out life-size figures of the Babe, Lou Whitey,The Mick, Joe D. and hope they can hit....... I am sorry for this post but giving Jeter over 12 mil is dumb, dumb........

dt1982
dt1982

After all the fanfare and warm farewells  that Mariano Rivera received when he retired, it would not have seemed right for Jeter to retire at the end of this past season without having a chance for a proper send off (particularly since he had an injury).  This will undoubtedly be his last season and i anticipate Jeter will announce his retirement at the start of the season and then, every team (and fans) will be able to give him a hero's send off.

RD
RD

I like Jeter but he needs to retire a Yankee.  I don't think the Yanks will resign him next year if his numbers are bad so this should be his farewell year. Go out with class Derek.

William27
William27

how will he pay his bills after he has retired, he has only made a couple hundred million so far.

woe is all of us

laurielynn78
laurielynn78

You mean Joe Torre's steroid enabled championship teams...

riley8
riley8

@tracejuno He can do whatever he wants, including making a complete fool of his legacy.

yankee42
yankee42

@hddh A ''''''''''''GREAT JOLT''''''''' to the offense. Are you S----y me. He """"WAS"""" a great player during  his era, but like everyone he's getting OLDER. Can he still move to his right and left with ease and speed?? I played the game and someone told me that the 1st things to go are your "LEGS" (they knew what they were talking about).  He' needs to retire with class not flat on his A--!!!!!  I was/am looking forward to the2014 season, but not with Jeter at SS. Ryan maybe!!

dinohealth
dinohealth

@yankee42 If you read the article you would know he got paid 17 million last year for those 17 games.  That is about one million per game.  Jeter is worth that!

JerryBelle
JerryBelle

@yankee42 - you should change your moniker from yankee42 to redsox666.  You're some fan.  

Michael10
Michael10

@dt1982 With all the talk about "captain" and "team player" and "Core Four," it seems pretty obvious Jeter did not want to share any attention by retiring with Pettitte and Rivera as he should have. Now he'll be the albatross the Yanks have to wear 2-3 times a week (if he can play that much) so that he can have a proper parade of his own...

joey311164
joey311164

@dt1982 There is no guarantee that Jeter will not get hurt again next year.  Rivera is the exception, rather than the rule.  Jeter should retire.

riley8
riley8

@RD I think Jeter will be the latest in a long list of legends who stick around too long.

NEsports27
NEsports27

@laurielynn78 Based on what?  What evidence is there anyone mentioned in the article used steroids?  The closest thing to it is Pettitte admitted using HGH, but that wasn't a performance enhancer; he was trying to recover from an injury.

If this is Jeter's last year I hope he gets the whole farewell tour Mariano did this year.  Both guys are class acts and a couple of the greatest players ever.  It's been a privilege to watch them play over the years.  As a lifelong Red Sox fan, it's at many times been a painful privilege, but a privilege nonetheless.  1st ballot HOFers, no question

kj4027
kj4027

@laurielynn78 Are you saying the core 4 of Jeter, Rivera, Posada and Williams also used? Pettite admitted to taking HGH which in itself is not considered "a performance enhancer". It helps the healing process but has nothing to do with strength and size. Does your comment also include O'Neil, Girardi and Brosius?

Michael10
Michael10

@Sneeral @GO22JETS over his last 4 seasons, Mantle averaged 3 wins above replacement level with an OPS+ of 149 (in the pitching dominated 1965-1968). Jeter has been exactly league average over the past four years (100 OPS+) and been worth a single win per season. Even on his creaky knees, Mantle was three times as valuable as Jeter.

riley8
riley8

@dinohealth @yankee42 They should have just given him a $1 million per game contract for the upcoming season.  The Yanks would have saved money because I doubt he gets to game 10.

yankee42
yankee42

@dinohealth @yankee42  HAHAHAHAHAHA,YEAH SURE he was worth it!!!  Put down the bottle or pipe please and read between the lines. HE'S done.. Yanks need to move on....

yankee42
yankee42

@JerryBelle @yankee42  Hey Belle, I've been a Die-Hard Yankee fan since the mid 40's. You can't handle the TRUTH about Jeter, the Yanks need to move on. Jeter has been well PAID for his Yankee years, and needs to hang up the spikes with class and not hang on. He sure doesn't need the $$$$$$$. GO YANKEES in 14......

joey311164
joey311164

@JerryBelle @yankee42 Why, because yankee42 speaks the truth??? Jeter should retire. He WAS a great player.  His body is telling him to retire.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@riley8 @RD  Of course I don't know what makes Jeter tick but one thing that is tough for one who has been so good for so long is that when they start reaching career milestones, it must be tough to leave when they are so close.  I'm sure Jeter had thoughts of climbing very high up the all time hit list (he is way up there, don't get me wrong, but I mean like top 2 or 3 at one point must have crossed his mind).  Had he played all of last season, even at a reduced level of play from 2012, plus played this coming season, he would have been in that rare company.  The thing about career totals is that they take so long to accumulate, historic totals I mean and to be so close after 17, 18 yrs and to have to walk away must be tough for some.

Jeter is currently 4 hits from moving up to 9th place on the all time hits list.  He is 104 hits from moving into 8th place on the all time hits list and 105 hits from moving into 7th place.  He is 116 hits from moving into 6th place on the all time hits list.  Jeter most likely thought he would have played all of last season and gotten enough hits to end this past season in 6th place on the all time hits list.

Now, who knows what he'll do this coming season.  He'll move into 9th place for sure but his health and production will determine whether he may get the 100 something hits he needs for the next rungs...

Similar stats apply for Jeter on the all time runs scored list too.

Michael10
Michael10

@kj4027 @laurielynn78 The "Core Four" includes Pettitte, not Williams. 

HGH (like steroids) accelerates healing/rebuilding of tissues, thus creating a competitive edge by keeping players on the field. That's why it's banned along with everything else...

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@kj4027 @laurielynn78  

Human GROWTH Hormone.  Helps you grow.  In other words, helps muscle and tissue growth.

I guess that would have nothing to do with athletic prowess.

yankee42
yankee42

@Sneeral @yankee42 @hddh At least I went to High School. What game did you play?? NO,NO playing in the closet with the lites OUT is not a game.. TSK,TSK...................