Joel Sherman has a column up on Derek Jeter that got me thinking. The point of Sherman's piece is that Jeter's contract is up after 2010 and:
After all, what team official wants to tell Jeter he has to take a pay cut or has to move positions or - gulp - just has to move on? How would you like that on your baseball epitaph: You were the Yankee executive who told Derek Jeter thanks for the memories?At first I thought Sherman was being premature but the goal of any good column is to get you thinking and this one succeeded at that.
Of course, the alternative is not too appetizing either. Because kowtowing to Jeter's legacy by paying him lavishly and keeping him at short means tying yourself to a late-30s icon well beyond his expiration date.
As if the matter needs complications, Jeter will conclude his current 10-year, $189 million contract on the doorstep of 3,000 hits, a total never reached by a Yankee.
My guess is that 3,000 hits or no 3,000 hits - Jeter will probably retire after 2010 instead of sullying himself by going the Varitek route. Of course I could be wrong and Jeter could go the Wade Boggs route and try to hang on for 3,000 hits. I mean he could average just better than .232 for the next four years and that would still be good enough for him to finish with both over 3,000 hits and a better than .300 career batting average.
If Jeter does call it quits after 2010 then that begs the question "Is Derek Jeter a Hall of Fame player?" The gut reaction seems to be "Yes!" but I'm not so sure.
Jeter will probably finish in the top 30 in career runs scored and in the top 50 for hits. If you ask me - Andre Dawson has much better credentials - 8 Gold Gloves that aren't tainted, an MVP award and Dawson can match Jeter's "intangibles". Jeter will probably get in due to his popularity but I'm thinking it won't be the slam dunk that many people expect.