Derek Jeter and Free Agent Fails: Infamous Times a Hero Has Been Snubbed
The sports industry is an odd one.
You can give your heart and soul to a team and its fans, and they can want no part of you when it comes to a new contract.
There have been several instances where a player has chosen to move on, or a team chooses to trade a player and at least get something for their star player.
But, in rare instances, a player wants nothing more in the world than to remain with his team. Only to find out that the team doesn't feel the same, but some other team is more than willing to take them in.
Right now in New York, the Yankees general manager has encouraged iconic short stop Derek Jeter to shop his services around baseball to see if he cant best a Yankees offer of three years for $45 million
If the Yankees let Jeter go, he would undoubtedly be the biggest fan favorite not to retain a contract with the team he became famous with.
For comparison here are ten instances where it has happened in the past, and feel free to use the comments section to remind me of the ones I missed.
10. David Beckham
OK so I don't understand how the soccer system works as well as I do the NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL.
With that said, from what I understand, Real Madrid let David Beckham go because of sub-par play.
Club president Ramon Calderon told university students in Spain that "our technical staff were right not to extend his contract, which has been proved by the fact that no other technical staff in the world wanted him except Los Angeles."
However, at the last minute Real made a last ditch effort to scrap the deal with LA, but LA refused. Then immediately following Beckham's signing with LA, Real again tried to acquire him, but not no avail.
Beckham went through the same process years earlier when Manchester United allowed him to transfer to Real Madrid originally. For one of the best soccer players in recent history, Beckham has had a hard time maintaining a steady home.
9. LaDainian Tomlinson
After LaDainian Tomlinson was chosen to five Pro Bowls, and won an MVP as a Charger, he was told to hit the road.
Yeah, Tomlinson was getting older, but he deserved better than that.
He received a two year contract from the New York Jets, and through eight games had five touchdowns and was averaging nearly five yards a carry.
8. Johnny Damon
In 2001 Johnny Damon signed a four year contract with the Boston Red Sox.
In those four years Damon quickly became a fan favorite with his flowing locks in center field.
It didn't hurt that Damon was a key piece in the Red Sox winning their first World Series in nearly a century.
So when he was a free agent at the end of the 2005 season, many assumed the Sox would offer him another long term contract.
Instead, the Yankees swooped in with an offer of four years for $52 million, which the Sox refused to match, despite losing Damon to their hated rival.
7. Drew Brees
The Chargers' first snub of Brees came when they opted to draft a quarterback in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Brees would have lost his job in 2004 had Philip Rivers not held out of training camp.
Instead, Brees had his then best season, and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Brees remained the starter in 2005, but when he was hurt the Chargers offered him a low-ball to remain their quarterback in 2006.
Instead Brees went to New Orleans, and the rest is history.
Brees has a Super Bowl MVP award, and holds the NFL single season record for completion percentage.
6. Pedro Martinez
Pedro Martinez is another Red Sox player who was not rewarded with a free agent contract after contributing to their 2004 World Series title.
During Martinez's seven years with the Red Sox, he won two Cy Young awards and had a 117-37 record.
Despite all that, the Red Sox did not match the Mets' offer of a four year and $53 million contract, which was almost identical to what Damon received.
5. Greg Maddux
In 1992 Greg Maddux was coming off his second All-Star nomination.
Oh, and he had just won his first Cy Young award.
So it made sense when the Cubs, the team he was drafted by, told him they wanted to explore other free agents. Right?
Maddux went to the Braves where he would win 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, win three consecutive Cy Youngs, and be a six time All-Star.
Maddux would eventually return to the team who had snubbed him, albeit way after his prime in 2004.
4. Jason Taylor
As a Dolphins fan, I experienced heart break the day I heard Jason Taylor signed with the Jets.
At first I felt betrayed by one of my favorite players in the game, how could Taylor do this to his fans?
But then came Taylor's message that he loved the Dolphins, wanted to play for the Dolphins, but that no offer ever came.
Bill Parcells never had a good relationship with Taylor, and apparently decided he wasn't worth offering a contract too.
I hate that decision everyday.
3. Mark Messier
Mark Messier had some of his arguably best NHL years with the New York Rangers, but in 1997 the Rangers told him they had no interest in re-signing him.
Messier was a New York hero, yet general manager Neil Smith showed him the door.
In Messier's time in New York, he scored a game winning goal to win the Stanley Cup and helped lead them to several first place finishes.
He also had a 99 point season while he was there.
2. Steve Nash
Steve Nash played for the Dallas Mavericks from 1998-2004.
In those years he became one of the league's premier point guards, but when he hit free agency in 2004, Mark Cuban refused to match the offer made to Nash by the Phoenix Suns, despite Nash going out of his way to ask Cuban to do so.
Nash has won two MVP awards in Phoenix so far and become a perennial All-Star.
Cuban has to wonder if Nash could have been the x-factor that would have given the Mavericks a 2006 NBA Championship over the Miami Heat.
1. Derek Jeter
If the Yankees let Jeter slip through their fingers, it would make the rest of these incidences look minor.
Jeter is so much more to the Yankees than their shortstop.
For years he has been their leader, their captain, their heart and soul.
I'd have to imagine Cashman would be forced to match any offer Jeter received, but with Cashman's bold dare already made, would Jeter feel the need to ask the Yankees to match a better offer?
All I know for sure is that it is making the off-season a heck of a lot more interesting than usual.