O how the mighty have fallen. MLB free agency is already heating up. And as usual, the Yankees are in the thick of the conversation for any major player on the market. One of the marquee names is one who most are very familiar with. People refer to him by a plethora of nicknames. Some of these are Mr. October (or November for that matter), The Captain, the Quintessential Winner, and the King of New York. You all know who I am referring to after hearing the laundry list of nicknames. None other than Number 2..
So when did the Jeter love affair become so bitter?
The kid rose up through the Yankee organization and debuted with the Bombers in 1995. Starting in 1996, he became the every day shortstop and captured the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He also won his first of 5 World Series. 16 years later, the love affair appears to be over. The 5 Gold Glove Awards, the 11 All Star selections, and the 4 Silver Slugger Awards are just a mere memory.
Derek Jeter is no longer the King of New York. He has now become dare I say, damaged goods. A “has been” if you will. It is hard for me to say. But the numbers do not lie. Last season, Jeter, had the worst batting average of his career (when playing the full season). A man who has a career .314 batting average hit just .270. In addition, he had both the lowest on base percentage and lowest slugging percentage numbers of his career. The King played like a shell of his old self.
In 2009, Jeter had an outstanding season in which he appeared to be back to his old form. The team won a World Series, and all was good. This season, Jeter looked mediocre, and old at times. Now Derek is a free agent. Could anyone really see this guy wearing anything but the Pinstripes?
Jeter made 22.5 million last year. The Yankees offered Derek a 3 year contract worth 45 million (15 million a year) last week. Jeter is looking for something in the range of 23 to 25 million a season.
Derek was by far the highest paid shortstop in the MLB last year. The next highest paid SS in the League is arguably the best SS in the game, Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez is over 10 years younger than Derek and will make a salary of 11 million in the upcoming season.
As much as I respect the Yankee Captain and realize all he has done for the organization, there comes a time when the man has to wake up and smell the roses. He is no longer one of the elite shortstops in the game. I realize that generally as people age, their salaries increase within companies. Their performance generally improves each year as well, or at least plateaus. Jeter’s play has gone backwards.
Will the King of New York wake up before it is too late? Or will America have to witness one of its elite stars dawn another jersey?
I just pray that this does not turn into a Brett Favre Part 2. America could not handle something like that again.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.