Yes, even the Yankees can overspend. Believe it or not, every business has some sort of budget. Sports franchises are certainly businesses, and while the Yankees may look like a bottomless pit of money the line must be drawn somewhere. Derek Jeter could push New York toward the line.
The Yankees have found themselves in a situation where they have to pay a player for past performance. When that player is one of the greatest players of all-time and has spent every season of his career with baseball’s most storied franchise, do they really have a choice? The answer is no, but New York also has other needs to fill and an already astronomical payroll. More specifically, they need Cliff Lee.
The Yankees shortstop will be 37 years old next season. His 2010 batting average of .270 was the lowest of his career — more than 20 points lower than a previous low of .291 in his sophomore season. Jeter’s on-base percentage of .340 and slugging percentage of .370 were also the lowest totals of his career. Everyone knows the correlation between his age and declining numbers is no fluke. Sure, Jeter won a gold glove this season, but there aren’t many out there who believe he deserved it.
Yet somehow the numbers being thrown around when discussing Jeter’s contract extension are three years and around $50 million. It was originally reported that the Yankees would offer a more-than-reasonable three-year, $45 million deal. There is now word of New York being willing to go as high as three years and $60 million, with an option for a fourth year.
In other words, now is the time we’re going to find out how much money the Yankees really have to spend. If they can pay a 37-year-old shortstop with declining skills $20 million per year for the next three or four seasons and not miss a beat in free agency, they could be the exception to the traditional business model which includes a ceiling on spending. I suppose that’s the price you pay for drafting and retaining one of the greatest players of all time. Oh and by the way, Mariano Rivera is looking for a two-year deal, too.Google+