September 13, 2010

Captain Twilight

Senior Yankee officials have discussed dropping Derek Jeter -- who is 9-for-his-last-68 (.132/.244/.221) and hitting only .247 since May 2 -- to the #7 spot in the batting order.

Since the beginning of the 1998 season, Jeter has started 1,946 regular season games (and 118 post-season games) and he has batted lower than third only once -- July 10, 1999, when he hit cleanup. A move to the lower third of the Yankee lineup would be big news.

After having one of his finest seasons at the plate in 2009, CI is on course to post career-lows in average, on-base and slugging. More than two-thirds of his batted balls this year have been on the ground, putting Juan Pierre's single-season record of 368 grounders, set in 2003, within reach (CI has 324).

Jeter has made more outs (461) than any player in baseball in 2010 and in Win Probability Added (batting only), he is 320th (of 398 players) in the AL at -0.8. For reference, Kevin Cash (with an OPS+ of 5) is 12 spots higher at 308th.

Joe Posnanski, September 2:
I went to have drinks with Michael Schur — brilliant creator of "Parks and Rec" and Ken Tremendous of Fire Joe Morgan — and the entire conversation was more or less about Derek Jeter. Michael admits that he spends most of his leisure minutes these days thinking about Derek Jeter. ...

You know the deal. Jeter's contract with the Yankees is up at the end of the year. ... The Yankees cannot possibly let perhaps the most beloved Yankee of them all go somewhere else and ... Jeter cannot possibly go play for the Rockies or the Brewers or the Red Sox or the Mets ... But it is also becoming more and more clear by the day that Derek Jeter is declining pretty rapidly as a player. ...

How will the Yankees handle this? How will Jeter handle this?
Example
Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
If this weekend was any indication, October might be a very short month for the Yankees. ... Joba Chamberlain coughed up a lead in the eighth inning on Friday and Mariano Rivera blew a save on Saturday ...
Ben Shpigel, Times:
Well rested and fully healed, Lee began the game by walking Jeter, then set down the next 15 batters. None of them hit a ball into the outfield until Eduardo Nunez spoiled his no-hit bid with a one-out single in the sixth.
George A. King III, Post:
Despite losing six of seven and getting swept by the Rangers across three weekend games at The Ballpark, the [free-falling] Yankees open a three-game series tonight against the Rays at Tropicana Field holding a skinny one-half game lead. ...

And in losing six of seven, the Yankees batted .209 (14-for-67) with runners in scoring position ...
King, Post:
[T]onight's part of the undercard is very delicious ... CC Sabathia and David Price ... Tonight starts an 11-day stretch in which the Rays and Yankees meet seven times.

15 comments:

L-girl said...

The Yankees cannot possibly let perhaps the most beloved Yankee of them all go somewhere else and ... Jeter cannot possibly go play for the Rockies or the Brewers or the Red Sox or the Mets ... But it is also becoming more and more clear by the day that Derek Jeter is declining pretty rapidly as a player. ...

We saw this in the 1980s with Don Mattingly. This time it's even more exaggerated, given NYY's success in the Jeter era.

Unless the Yankee organization has had a drastic change of attitude since the days when I was more familiar with them, they will handle it the exact same way. They will do nothing, not wanting to hurt their image with their fans. Jeter will wear pinstripes and play SS until he decides it's time to hang up his cleats.

If the fans are lucky, he'll have too much pride and he'll retire before it gets much worse.

L-girl said...

PS: Go Rays!!!!

redsock said...

Right, but how much will they offer him in yrs/$?

A 5/100 contract was rumoured at the beginning of this season, but that seems silly now. Voters at Fangraphs averaged out at 3/45.

CI is compared to Chipper Jones: "Like Jeter, he’s a one organization guy, and both parties wanted to see him end his career in the same uniform he has always worn. The Braves gave Jones a 3 year, $42 million deal for his age 37-39 seasons, though his age 36 season was significantly better than what Jeter is putting up right now. On the other hand, the Yankees have more money than the Braves and Jeter probably has more perceived intangible value."

You're fuckin' right he does.

Patrick said...

I hope they sign him for at least 3 years. The left side of the Yankee's infield is looking to be a 40 million dollar league average mess.

Now if Sabathia's arm will finally fall off, that team will be a complete mess!

redsock said...

BP had a piece on his contract situation at the beginning of the month.

Also, a SoSHer wrote recently: "I think there is literally nothing that Jeter could do in negotiations to tarnish his legacy, cost him goodwill, or alienate any of his fans. The club has to accede to his demands, and "team-friendly" for him is anything short of extracting maximum flesh."

I wonder how accurate that is. Could CI turn the fan base against him with a crazy demand? What happens in October will probably have an effect, too. It'll be an interesting winter.

Ish said...

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what A Fucking Miracle is:

-Red Sox sweep the Mariners.
-Rays sweep the Yankees.
-Red Sox gain 1 game on Yankees non-head to head.
-Red Sox win 5 of 6 against Yankees.

And then, of course, win a one-game playoff.

Or something similar.

redsock said...

Or something similar.

Sign me up.

I'm so fucked up, I still think something is possible. Of course, it is -- literally -- possible, though 99+% improbable.

Benjamin said...

Schadenfreude, Captain Twilight edition.

Hopefully they don't drop him in the order except to have him bat second through fourth, so he can hit some of those ground balls into double plays.

johngoldfine said...

I don't understand these young millionaires' attitude toward their own money. They are already rich beyond the dreams of avarice. They don't need more money, and if it's glory they want, asking for more money than the other guy isn't the way to get it. Bigger isn't better.

If Jeter wanted to have New York loving him even more than it does, he could say, with humility, "I want a one year contract at major league minimum, which is in line with my value offensively and defensively right now. Give me incentive bonuses for hitting these certain benchmarks."

johngoldfine said...

I'm so fucked up, I still think something is possible.

Uh, you sound a lot like a Red Sox fan. Am I getting warm?

L-girl said...

I don't understand these young millionaires' attitude toward their own money. They are already rich beyond the dreams of avarice. They don't need more money, and if it's glory they want, asking for more money than the other guy isn't the way to get it. Bigger isn't better.

On the other hand, the young millionaires play for multi-billionaires. Why should the NYY organization simply pocket more money, instead of doling it out to the people who are the very reason fans come out, buy merchandise, and spread the NYY brand?

johngoldfine said...

"Why should the NYY organization simply pocket more money"

Well, they shouldn't! As Derek's new agent, I'm not only going to insist he make major league minimum, but I'm going to make that contingent on a 50% reduction in prices for the cheapest seats, 40% reduction for slightly better seats, and so on. No reduction for luxury seats, of course.

Sure, Derek shouldn't let the Steinbrenner boys walk off with change jingling in their pockets. But, on the other hand, the vicious circle of millionaires holding up billionaires ends with tickets to Fenway being a rare luxury for most people.

L-girl said...

Baseball tickets should not be a luxury for most people. But we actually have no idea how much the young millionaires contribute to that. We are led to believe high slaaries = high ticket prices, but we only have the owners' word on that. And we know what that is worth!

Derek Jeter's salary is a matter of public record. His employers' profits are not.

IMO, the first step is not the employees sacrificing themselves on some supposed principle of fairness. It's transparency on both sides. How much are the Steinbrenners (and John Henry, et al) really raking in? Including all revenue streams from advertising, merchandising, ticket sales, everything. What percentage of that goes to players' salaries? When we know that, we can justly ask both the players and the owners to scale back.

johngoldfine said...

I'm not really even asking the players to scale back, but it seems weird that this player who's less valuable on the field every day somehow has these intangibles worth millions. What I was trying to say originally was that if Jeter wanted to magnify the intangibles exponentially and become next mayor of NY, the way to do it is to show some humility and not insist on dollars his play can't begin to justify.

I agree completely that Labour should not bow, kowtow, knuckle under, knuckle forehead, belt-tighten, belt up, give up, or ever be afraid in Johnny Sain's immortal words, "to climb those golden stairs." That was certainly my philosophy the years I was negotiating faculty contracts.

There isn't much doubt that owning a baseball team is a paying proposition--whatever poormouthing is done by the owners as they cry all the way to the bank--nor that the owners have become their own scalpers, gouging fans for tickets and then subjecting them, as you know, to an unending stream of crap.

I hate it when my students write about baseball because they always say the same dumb thing: 'those salaries are ridiculous.' I wouldn't dream of saying any such thing, l-girl. Those salaries are exactly what the market will bear and no doubt, Jeter will continue to cash in. Fine, more power to him. But, as you say, no one has any real idea how the owners do, but we do know exactly what tickets cost--and that IS ridiculous, even if it's what the market will bear, because eventually those owners are pricing themselves out of the hearts of their potential future fans.

L-girl said...

Cool, John, thanks for saying that.

Jeter's value to the NYY organization is relatively disconnected from his performance as a baseball player. That much is clear. He's not alone in that, but he's one of the most egregious examples.