Garrison Lassiter Sued Yankees for $34M; Blamed Derek Jeter for Lack of Success

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2020

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 06: A New York Yankees hat and glove sit in the dugout before the start of the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles game  at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

$34 million lawsuit filed by former prospect Garrison Lassiter against the New York Yankees was dismissed by a judge in May, it was revealed Thursday.

According to NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, Lassiter alleged that the Yankees and future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter conspired against him because Lassiter was a shortstop and Jeter was afraid to compete against him.

Lassiter was selected by the Yankees in the 27th round of the 2008 MLB draft out of West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, North Carolina. In five minor league seasons, Lassiter never played above High-A ball and hit just .244 with four home runs and 73 RBI in 235 games.

Per Kuty, Lassiter represented himself and said he was suing the Yankees for the "interference and lost years" of his baseball career. Lassiter also said he has had to live in his car after spending the $675,000 signing bonus the Yankees gave him.

Included in the lawsuit were letters Lassiter had written to MLB teams. One of them read: "I cannot get on the field due to the New York Yankees trying to control my career. I'm the only Baseball Player that will stand up to the New York Yankees."

Lassiter left the Yankees after the 2012 season to pursue a career in football. He joined the University of Miami football program as a quarterback but never appeared in a game for the Hurricanes.

After Lassiter's lawsuit against the Yankees was thrown out, he sued the Cincinnati Reds for $1.635 million. He then sued Proehlific Park, which is a North Carolina training complex owned by former NFL wide receiver Ricky Proehl. Lassiter said he filed the suit because he did not receive an NFL tryout after working out at the facility.

While Lassiter believes he was held back by the Yankees, his former manager begs to differ. According to Kuty, Aaron Ledesma, who managed Lassiter in High-A ball, said Lassiter was only "OK" offensively and "below average" overall.

Ledesma also said Lassiter didn't have the footwork needed to thrive at shortstop, which led to him being moved to third base.

In his lawsuit, Lassiter said it was "blatantly obvious" that Jeter was pulling the strings within the Yankees organization. Regardless, the odds of Lassiter taking Jeter's spot weren't good even if he had advanced to the Double-A level.

During his 20-year career with the Yankees, Jeter accrued 3,465 hits and batted .310 with 260 home runs, 1,311 RBI and 1,923 runs scored. Jeter was also a 14-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove award winner and five-time World Series champion.

Given Jeter's accolades, it is safe to assume that the Yankees are comfortable with their decision.

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