Derek Jeter's Worth For the New York Yankees Is in Cumulative Stats
Derek Jeter will be a New York Yankee next season. Let's just get that out of the way.
Both sides have been a little wrong and a little right in the ongoing negotiations for the free agent and future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
With the Yankees reportedly offering the captain a three-year, $45 million contract, they are clearly willing to pay far more than market value for a 36-year-old shortstop who set career lows with a .270 average, .340 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage in 2010.
But I can also understand Jeter's rejection of the offer after the Steinbrenners and general manager Brian Cashman went public with the negotiations.
The five-time World Series champion is the face of the franchise. He's bigger than Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams, and is on par in the Yankee Universe with legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, so he should be treated with the utmost respect.
“He’s done so much for this team, so much for the city, and so much for the game of baseball," teammate Nick Swisher recently told FOX Business Network. "Who knows what’s gonna happen, but I could not see him in any other uniform than the pinstripes.”
But the organization shouldn't just pay Jeter for what he has done, but also for what he will do.
Jeter is only one season removed from a year in which he hit .334 and finished third in the MVP vote, so to say he is done is premature.
Will Derek Jeter be a Yankee in 2011?
The 11-time All-Star picked a bad time to have his worst Major League season, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect his numbers to climb back toward his career marks in 2011. A .300 batting average with 100 runs, 30 doubles and 15 steals seems like a good guess.
But Jeter's true value lies in cumulative stats.
He is just 74 hits away from becoming the first Yankee to reach 3,000 for his career and is on pace to reach that historic milestone sometime around June 7 in the Bronx against the Red Sox.
You can just hear the Steinbrenners salivating over the publicity and merchandise sales that would accompany the feat.
But Jeter won't stop there.
If he plays five more years, like reports have him asking for, the captain should finish his career at least sixth on the all-time hits list, passing baseball immortals like Honus Wagner, Carl Yastrzemski and Willie Mays.
And there's an outside shot Jeter could reach 3,800 hits, leaving him third all-time ahead of Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker.
Next season alone, he'll pass Rogers Hornsby, Barry Bonds, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Wade Boggs, Rafael Palmeiro, Lou Brock, Rod Carew and Rickey Henderson.
And then there's the less sexy, but still important, all-time runs scored list.
Jeter currently sits 27th with 1,685 and could finish his career as high as fifth, passing Ruth and Aaron (but not Alex Rodriguez) in his final days in the Major Leagues.
These are milestones the Yankees' front office wouldn't dare have Jeter achieve out of pinstripes, which leads me to believe the two sides will agree on a four-year deal worth about $80 million sometime in December.
And everyone will forget this ever happened by the time Jeter notches his first hit on March 31 to tie him with Al Simmons for 35th all-time.
Follow me on Twitter at @ JordanHarrison .
Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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