Derek Jeter: 10 Better Ways for Yankees To Spend Jeter's $15-20 Million
Derek Jeter and the Yankees are still locked in one of the strangest contract negotiations in recent memory.
Given the decline that the Yankee shortstop experienced in 2010, the line drawn in the sand by the Yankees is pretty fair. Paying $15 million a year for a player who's going to hit .270 with limited range in the infield is pretty generous.
And right now, it's not very likely that Jeter is going to get a better offer from anybody else.
But what if the Yankees decide to just let him go? That would leave them with $15-20 million to spend.
Here are 10 things they could do with it.
10. Make Illegal Campaign Contributions
George Steinbrenner's only real motivations in life were greed and vanity, or perhaps some unimaginable combination of the two.
And as far as I can tell, his sons are a definitely a chip off the old block.
This is especially true of Hank. Any man who can say that putting the Yankees back on top would "restore the universe to order" definitely has blood ties to The Boss.
In any case, the point: one of George's most infamous blunders was a set of illegal campaign contributions that he made to Richard Nixon, which got him a two year suspension from baseball.
2012 is quickly approaching, and it's always tough to defeat an incumbent. Maybe the Brothers Steinbrenner should use that Jeter money to fund some kind of cloak-and-dagger thing that will satisfy their political interests, whatever they may be.
9. Do Something About the Empty Legends Suite Seats
Okay, let's get semi-serious.
By all accounts, the New Yankee Stadium is a great place to take in a ballgame. And the rumor is that the Legend Suite Seats, the ones that occupy the first eight rows of the field level, are some of the best seats in baseball.
But it's a mere rumor. And this is because nobody sits in those seats. They're too damn expensive.
Indeed, the seats are regularly empty, and it just doesn't look good for the Yankees when you watch them on TV. As a Red Sox fan, I think it's hilarious. But the Yanks need to do something about it.
So they either need to use Jeter's money to make some renovations, or they could simply use it to eat the cost of those seats over the next three years.
8. Move the Left Field Fences In
One of the Yankees' biggest advantages in the new Yankee Stadium is that their lefthanded hitters totally understand that all they need to do to help out the club is hit a little pop fly to right field. Rest assured, it will land in the bleachers.
But righthanded hitters don't have this same luxury. It may be 318 feet down the line, but it quickly jets out to 399 in left center, as opposed to 314 (which can't be correct) and 385 in right and right center.
I'm not sure what the going rate is for major ballpark renovations these days is, but I'm sure that $15 million could bring in the fences a few feet.
That would level the playing field considerably. Then players like A-Rod could simply flick their wrists at an inside pitch and put a quick run on the board.
7. Extend Brian Cashman's Contract To Encompass the Rest of His Life
Brian Cashman gets a bad rap. He's been the Yankees GM ever since 1998and has built Yankee teams that have won four World Series and six American League pennants.
And yet it always seems like New Yorkers are calling for his head.
Well, with Cashman's deal up at the end of 2011, it is my opinion that the Yanks should use the bucket of cash they were going to use on Jeter to sign Cashman to a deal that will take him to his grave.
The Yankees get a man who can build competitive teams for the rest of his natural life, and I get to listen to Yankee fans bitch about him whenever the team is struggling. Fair deal.
6. Eat A.J. Burnett's Contract, and Trade Him to Florida for Hanley Ramirez
Is this simply mindless speculation? Absolutely.
But I still think it's a good idea. The Yankees made a mistake with Burnett. I know that, you know that, and they know that.
And if they let Jeter walk, they're going to need a new shortstop. Sure, they've hinted that they're fine with Eduardo Nunez as Plan B. But if I know the Yankees, they won't be satisfied unless they have a big name player manning short.
Hanley Ramirez is the biggest there is. And hey, he and the Marlins had issues last year. If they crop up again in 2011, maybe the Marlins will look of unload his big contract. If they can get a player like Burnett for free, who is a good National League pitcher, and can get rid of Hanley's contract, then we might have a deal.
5. Sign Adam Dunn
A report surfaced today that Adam Dunn is being courted by the Oakland A's.
The Yankees are one of many teams that have the capacity to outbid the A's for Dunn's power hitting services. And despite the fact the Yanks haven't been mentioned as a potential suitor for Dunn, they should ponder for a moment how he would mesh with the embarrassingly short porch in right field.
And then they should fork over the cash that they were going to pay Jeter for something like 10 or 12 home runs for the 40-50 they could get out of Dunn.
But where to put him? Jorge Posada is going to DH most of the time after all, and they can't run the risk of disrespecting him by relegating him to the bench.
But they should. Hell, if they're going to cut ties with Jeter, they may as well start nudging Posada towards the door as well.
4. Sign Rafael Soriano
It's hard to imagine any scenario that doesn't involve Mariano Rivera pitching in pinstripes in 2011, hence the reason why I am not even going to suggest they simply use Jeter's money to sign Mo.
But I do think they should use it to sign Soriano, and they should give him a multi-year deal. If the idea is to give Jeter $45 million over three years, they could easily use that to give Soriano a four or five year deal worth around $10 million a season.
And it would be money well spent. Soriano was quite possibly the best closer in baseball in 2010. He had 45 saves, a 1.80 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP, and a .163 opponent's batting average.
They could put him in an eighth inning role for 2011, and maybe 2012, depending on what kind of deal Rivera gets. After that, there would be no need for the Yankees to go out and find a closer to replace Mo.
3. Sign Carl Crawford
The word on the street is that the Red Sox have met with Carl Crawford. And with serious questions about their lineup without Victor Martinez and (probably) Adrian Beltre, the probability of them adding Crawford to the top of their lineup is no joke.
So maybe the Yankees should do with Crawford what they did with Mark Teixera: swoop in at the last minute and offer him more years and more dollars.
If the idea is to find a replacement player for Jeter, then the Yankees could do worse than Crawford. No, I'm not suggesting that he can play short. But he could easily assume Jeter's leadoff spot and would immediately be a far better option.
As for Gardner in left, the Yanks could either keep him as a bench, or trade him. There are plenty of clubs out there would would love to have him. Maybe he could be a part of that Hanley Ramirez trade.
2. Tack On an Extra Year for Cliff Lee
To be sure, the thinking around baseball right now is that the Yankees are going to sign Lee anyway. Some of the numbers out there include five to six years at as high as $23 million a year, which is about what CC Sabathia made in 2010.
But with reports coming out the the Rangers are prepared to make an offer, the Yankees may as well use Jeter's money to tack on an extra year for an extra $20 million. That would be an offer that no man could refuse.
1. Give It to Robinson Cano
I don't like the Yankees, but I'll be damned if Robinson Cano isn't one of the best players in baseball.
The Yankees have him locked up through the end of the 2013 season, provided they pick up his options in 2012 and 2013, and he stands to make as much as $55 million.
Well, since they're sitting on potentially another $45 million in this little exercise, I say they may as well go ahead and give it to Cano.
In a sense, they could make Robby their next Jeter. He's a young middle infielder, a proven winner, a brilliant hitter, and a great fielder.
If he is indeed the next Jeter, then it's just a matter of time before the Yanks start paying him more than he's worth. That is, after all, what they do with their players.