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Posts Tagged ‘Hanley Ramirez’

Part 1 of 2


The principle topic of discussion in Yankeeland for the past week has been, how much should Derek Jeter make on his next contract? The debate has raged on since Sunday, when details began leaking of the Yankees $45 million, 3 year offer and Casey Close’s “bafflement.” Yesterday, I saw a bunch of tweets about Jeter asking for 6 years and $150 million. I don’t know where those rumors started, but I also saw a bunch from Close stating those figures were “rubbish.” I’m also hearing that the $15 million average salary offered to Jeter represents a number perhaps twice his true market value, which sounds like so much rubbish to me. But before I start tossing around opinions, I thought I would do a little research into the matter.

The central questions to all of this tug-and-pull remains what, exactly, is Jeter’s worth to the open market and what is his worth to the Yankees? I think pretty much everyone with a little common sense understands that Jeter is for more valuable to the Yankees than to any other team and for the Yankees to pay him based strictly on what he is worth to, say, the Giants is ridiculous. And Jeter would be just as ridiculous to expect the same type of money from the Giants as he would from the Yankees. Harvey Araton of the NY Times has a good article today in which none other than Brian Cashman compares Jeter to Lou Gehrig. Like Gehrig, Jeter is a for more valuable commodity to the Yankees than to any other team.

So what is Jeter’s worth?

To start, I looked at what a typical major league team pays for players of Jeter’s caliber. By using WAR, we can determine how much a player is paid based on how many wins he is better than a typical replacement:

2011

2011

Rk Player

WAR

Salary

$/WAR

1 Albert Pujols

42.6

$ 16,000,000.00 $ 1,877,934.27
2 Joe Mauer

33.8

$ 23,000,000.00 $ 3,402,366.86
3 Chase Utley

30.8

$ 15,000,000.00 $ 2,435,064.94
4 Hanley Ramirez

29.1

$ 11,000,000.00 $ 1,890,034.36
5 Alex Rodriguez

26.3

$ 31,000,000.00 $ 5,893,536.12
6 Mark Teixeira

26.2

$ 22,500,000.00 $ 4,293,893.13
7 Miguel Cabrera

24.9

$ 20,000,000.00 $ 4,016,064.26
8 David Wright

24.8

$ 14,000,000.00 $ 2,822,580.65
9 Chipper Jones

24.1

$ 13,000,000.00 $ 2,697,095.44
10 Kevin Youkilis

23.2

$ 12,000,000.00 $ 2,586,206.90
11 Adrian Gonzalez

22.9

$ 5,500,000.00 $ 1,200,873.36
12 Robinson Cano

22.1

$ 10,000,000.00 $ 2,262,443.44
13 Derek Jeter

21.4

$ –
14 Justin Morneau

19.8

$ 14,000,000.00 $ 3,535,353.54
15 Jose Reyes

19.4

$ 11,000,000.00 $ 2,835,051.55
ML Average –> $ 2,945,945.95

First up, Derek Jeter is the 13th most productive player in all of MLB since 2006. I think that lost in all of the acrimony and discussion of how bad Jeter was last year is that simple fact – only 12 players in MLB have been more productive than Derek Jeter. That’s pretty amazing, if you consider that more than 600 individuals have donned a major league uniform over that time. (I went back 5 seasons, so as to get a representative sample). You’ll also notice that even with some horrendously underpaid performers (Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez) in the top 15, the average compensation per win in 2011 is nearly $3 million. Using that figure as a yardstick, fair compensation for Jeter – based solely on performance – would be his WAR dollar value of $12,608,648.65. If you were to pay him based on WAR dollar value of players at similar ages/careers, then the number drops slightly to $12,096,338.26 – or, to put it another way, teams realize players of Jeter’s age probably won’t continue to produce like they did when they were 30 and the average “age discount” is roughly $510,000. Also, you can see that there are four Yankees in the top fifteen: besides Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano. Their average compensation per win in 2011 is $4,149,976.76 – if Jeter were paid on the Yankee scale, then his value would be $17,761,818.37.

All of a sudden, that $15 million figure offered by Cashman doesn’t represent a number that far from Jeter’s value based on performance. Best case for Cashman, they’re offering Jeter a $3 million bonus. Worst case, the offer represents shortchanging Jeter by about $2.5 million. Based strictly on performance, the two sides probably could come to a pretty quick accommodation. But the principle sticking point in this negotiation is that Jeter is worth far more to the Yankees than to any of the other 31 teams in baseball. Jeter knows it. Cashman knows it. The obvious problem is coming to an agreement on just how much value Jeter represents to the Yankees vs. other teams. Or, to put it in Cashman’s own words, how much this century’s Gehrig is worth to the Yankees.

There really isn’t any way to statistically analyze that number. Since the Yankees are not a public corporation, we don’t have access to their financials, nor do we have access for their revenue projections for the next 5 years. But we can make an educated guess.

And I’ll discuss that tomorrow.

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Apparently, somebody forgot to tell Brian Cashman that the holiday season is one of good tidings and cheer. In particular, Cashman seems to have amped up his inner Scrooge when it comes to a pair of Yankee stalwarts, men who’ve symbolized everything the Yankees are now and hope to be in the future. Quite frankly, the posturing is baffling: he runs a billion-dollar franchise in large part because of these players, not in spite of them. As much as any executive hates to admit, the Yankees truly do have two franchise players – men who mean much more to the Yankees brand than the new Stadium or even the Steinbrenner family. Men who are as iconic to the Yankees as the pinstriped uniforms with the interlocking NY they wear.

I’m talking, of course, about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

While the Yankees reportedly offered Cliff Lee megabucks (6 years, $140 million), they’ve offered Jeter and Mo peanuts. Lee is undoubtedly a wise investment for a team with a hole as wide as the Lincoln Tunnel in the starting rotation. But would Lee even consider the Yankees without the 14 post-season appearances since 1995? That is what Jeter and Mo mean to this franchise. Before their arrival in the Bronx, the Yankees had once again returned to the sort of losing remembered form the late 1960’s: a team that couldn’t hit, couldn’t field and couldn’t pitch. Rather than playing to a packed house every game, the echoes were often louder than the cheers at Yankee Stadium. How bad was it? Imagine being able to walk up to a ticket window on game day and getting tickets, 3rd base dugout, field level. Against the Red Sox. Yes, you could do it in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The handling of Jeter’s contract couldn’t get much more bizarre. They’ve reportedly refused to offer arbitration, for fear the captain would accept and the Yankees would be on the hook for roughly $25 million in 2011.Their opening offer, reportedly 3 years for $45 million, is supposedly based on evaluating him the same way a team would evaluate Jimmy Rollins or Hanley Ramirez. This isn’t to knock either of those guys, but they are not in the same class as Jeter. Ramirez is the best player on his team. Rollins is an all-star and former World Champion. But neither is the face of their respective franchise, neither has legions of fans who care little about baseball but live and die with their play and neither is the biggest draw in the biggest sports market in the country. Cashman’s concern is that at 37, Jeter’s play is deteriorating and the .270 performance of last year may be more realistic than his career .314 average. Whatever, Brian – get over it. There aren’t too many middle infielders who hit .270 and score 100 runs, either. Even at his reduced level of play, Jeter’s performance alone makes him an all-star caliber player. Add in the fact that the guy is a leader, both on and off the field – that the Yankees are just another good club without him; that the guy is proven winner and the kind of player New Yorkers love and other fans love to hate. But those pesky intangibles you apparently want to ignore mean more to your bottom line than your ego wants to admit, and you had better pay him for them.

Then there’s the matter of Mariano Rivera, the Greatest Post-Season Closer Ever. Mo would reportedly be perfectly happy to sign a two-year deal for around $36 million. In all, that seems a perfectly reasonable expectation for the man who owns nearly every record for relievers. Mariano is like a fine wine – he just keeps getting better with age. He has been and continues to remain baseball’s ultimate weapon; bring him in and the game is over. And unlike so many other 9th inning specialists, the greater the pressure, the better he performs. It’s been that way for the past 15 seasons in the Bronx and Mo shows no sign of slowing down. So why hasn’t Cashman done what should have been his easiest contract negotiation of this offseason and signed him already? Is he hoping to talk Mo down to $15 million for one year? Are the peanuts really that expensive in your supermarket, Brian?

When Cashman let Johnny Damon walk last year, I wasn’t happy about it but I could understand and even appreciate the motives. (Although I did rip him for even thinking Nick Johnson was a suitable replacement.) But giving Jeter and Rivera the Damon Treatment is unimaginable. The idea that you only pay any free agent based on future performance is laughable, especially for the Yankees and Brian Cashman. Otherwise, Carl Pavano would have been paid in Topps cards and hot dogs. In the case of Jeter and Rivera, you have to pay them for what they’ve meant to the franchise, the city and (in Cashmans’ case) your own career. If you really think the Yankees would be a billion-dollar franchise without them, then send them on their way. But stop quibbling over a few million dollars as if you’re trying to rebuild the Royals or A’s – if you honestly understand what those two mean to the team. And if you honestly don’t, then maybe it’s time for you to pack your bags and head elsewhere.

UPDATED 4:22pm: Of course, right after I posted this, Wallace Matthews at ESPN reported that Cashman thinks Jeter isn’t all that valuable, either as a player or as a commodity:

“We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account,” Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com. “We’ve encouraged him to test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That’s the way it works.”

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Home Run Derby Contestants

Home Run Derby Contestants

Tune into ESPN tonight at 8PM ET to see the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby. Bobby Abreu won the Home Run Derby back in 2005 at Comerica Park, so I don’t see why Nick Swisher can’t win it today. Abreu’s 162-Game HR average is 21, while Swisher’s is 28. Anything can happen in these competitions. Let’s Go Swisher!

Sam Borden at The LoHud Yankees Blog breaks down the history of Yankees who competed in the derby over the years. Be sure to check it out.

Back, back, back, back, back… Gone!

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