By signing a three-year, $51 million extension prior to last season, Derek Jeter made it official that he will retire as a Yankee. That is, before he went out at age 38 and put together one of the best seasons of his career. Jeter ranks third in the American League with a .323 batting average and has belted 15 homers. He has over 200 hits on the season for the eighth time in his 17-year career. At the moment, the captain is showing no serious signs of slowing down.
The Yankees have an $8 million option for Jeter in 2014 which could increase to $11.5 million if he wins a Silver Slugger award and finishes in the top six in MVP voting. Given his numbers, that is certainly possible. If the Yankees decide that is too much, would they actually let him walk?
“Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes,” Jeter told ESPN’s Rick Reilly when asked if he can see himself playing for a team other than the Yankees. “It’s a business. People forget that.”
When it comes to Jeter in pinstripes, we do indeed tend to forget that it is a business. He wants to keep playing shortstop, but the one thing that is deteriorating is his range. People point to the fact that Jeter hardly ever makes errors, but a lot of that is due to the fact that he can no longer get to balls he once used to gobble up.
New York faced a difficult decision with Jeter two years ago when he was 36. It will be even more difficult when he’s 40 — especially if he still wants to play shortstop and is not open to being a DH just to retire a Yankee. If Brian Cashman wants to keep him, he’ll probably have to pay. Plenty of teams are willing to open their checkbooks just to sell tickets with a name like Derek Jeter.
H/T Eye on Baseball
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