Captain Clutch is no more.
Derek Jeter entered this season an elite shortstop, but proved in the end why he is no longer worth the money. The former rookie of the year, two time Hank Aaron award recipient, four time Silver Slugger, six time Gold Glover, and once a World Series MVP had a dismal season. His batting average dropped to .270, and he hit just .231 in the ALCS.
While Jeter's career numbers have many Yankee fanatics screaming for him to be re-signed, the reality is that the Yankees could improve by signing or trading for a better, younger shortstop. The offer made by Brian Cashman (three years, $45 million) was an act of generosity. This offer was Brian Cashman doing what is politically correct. He did not want to disappoint Yankee fans, and with the depth of Yankee wallets constantly open, many figured Jeter's signature would be on the dotted line as soon as the contract came out of the printer.
However, Jeter decided that instead of taking this sweet deal, he would ask for another year or two onto that contract. If he really wants those extra years, he better settle for considerably less, because there is no way a 41 year old Derek Jeter will be worth $15 million. Some may say that this last year was a fluke, that it was an off year. However, at age 36, this is an excuse for a decline in play due to age. It happens to all players at one point in their career. Not only is his performance an indicator of how little he is worth, but the negotiations between the two parties indicates it as well.
Is Derek Jeter asking for too much?
If the Yankees sign him to a four year deal, then you have proof that the Yankees are not looking to improve their infield. If Jeter were to leave, remember, that the Yankees could sign a third baseman or a shortstop, due to the versatility of Alex Rodriguez. And for $15 million a year, they could get a very good player.
You will not see the New York Yankees let Mariano Rivera leave this franchise. They will pay the demanding price, because they do not have any other viable options to replace Rivera. However, from within or free agency, the Yankees can replace Derek Jeter. GM Brian Cashman encouraged Derek Jeter to test the free agent market. Why? Because he knows that Jeter will not get the money and the years that he has demanded. However, Mariano Rivera has not been told to go try his luck, because you can be sure that if he leaves, the markup on one of the best closers of all time will be crazy.
Derek Jeter's career is on it's back end. I'm not saying his play will continue to decline as it did this year. However, expect numbers similar to those of this season or worse for the next few years, until his career ends. Everyone's career has to end, but will one of the most prolific players in Yankee history retire as a Yankee? Most likely yes, but only after a well needed reality check.