Day 4 of “Operation Jeter Countdown”

Today was sort of interesting with regard to Operation Jeter Countdown. First, I read in the Post that Casey Close and his client were hanging out in Miami to ponder their response to the Yankees’ offer and that Jeter looked like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Later, I read Tom Verducci’s piece on and thought it was the best summary yet of how the Yankees should be viewing these negotiations. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Even if you did see it, I still have to highlight the points that jumped out at me.
What do you do about a 36-year-old beloved franchise icon with fading defensive skills but enormous brand value? Why, of course, you give him a 15 percent raise to make sure the team benefits from his legacy. That’s exactly what the Baltimore Orioles did for Cal Ripken Jr. on Opening Day 1997, a sort of global view of the player that stands in stark contrast to how the Yankees are valuing Derek Jeter at the same age.

The key to his opening paragraph? CAL RIPKEN JR.
Verducci continues to make the comparison.
When rewarded, Ripken still was a year away from free agency and entering the final year of a five-year contract for $32.5 million, once the richest total deal in baseball history that included post-career compensation ($2 million for four years) and special hotel, parking, security and merchandise arrangements.

Did you catch that? The Orioles gave Ripken post-career compensation. And that wasn’t all.

The Orioles adhered to the same perspective in 1997 — not even letting the face of their franchise get to free agency. They gave Ripken a raise from $6.5 million per year to $7.55 million per year in what was a two-year extension with an option. Not only was the option picked up at $6.3 million, the Orioles also brought him back at age 40 and with a bad back and coming off a .256 season again without a pay cut, giving him another $6.3 million.

The point is, Derek Jeter, like Cal Ripken, isn’t your average ballplayer (or even your average superstar ballplayer) and shouldn’t be measured by his stats alone.

Putting a number on iconic value — especially when introducing a pay cut — is at the heart of the Yankees’ negotiating troubles with Jeter. To compare Jeter in a one-year statistical vacuum to shortstops such as Marco Scutaro is foolish. Jeter is the most marketable player in baseball, has the sport’s highest Q rating, a measurement of not just popularity but also appeal to fans, has accumulated 16 years of tremendous goodwill for the Yankees and is their modern link in the chain of Yankee Hall of Fame everyday players who never wore another uniform, from Gehrig to DiMaggio to Mantle.

Does everyone remember the ad campaign for Blackglama furs? I know, mink coats aren’t politically correct anymore. But the campaign featured legendary women in their minks – from Judy Garland to Janet Jackson.

Where am I going with this? If Derek Jeter were a woman, he’d be in one of those ads. He’s a legend, and legends don’t come along every day. Tonight’s Jeter video doesn’t have Jeter in it. Its star is Cal Ripken, since he inspired Verducci’s spot-on article.
Doesn’t Ripken remind you of Jeter? No flash. All substance. A legend, in other words.


  1. A.J. Martelli

    I totally agree. I see a lot of Cal in Jeter. Both of those guys are two of the classiest men to ever play on a baseball diamond.

    Verducci made some great points in that article, and I have to agree; Jeter’s leadership and everything he brings to the team cannot be replaced. I do however think he needs to get himself together and just take one of the Yankees’ offers. At the same time, the Yanks need to get him signed, ASAP. This drama is killing me!

  2. Jane Heller

    Jeter needs to take “one of the Yankees’ offers?” As far as I know, they only made one offer, A.J. Did I miss something? I’m sure he and his agent will make a counter offer in the next day or so, and then we’ll see where we are.


    It is encouraging that they are talking again. I hope the Yankees have read that article.

    This is a good comparison – both are very classy, good to the fans and boost the image of the franchise.

    I loved how excited the reporter was to interview Cal! That was adorable. I know Cal does, indeed, look a lot like his father, but I still suspect that he is actually the son of Paul Newman.

    Let’s hope a deal is made and Derek can go on his own farewell tour in the future as a Yankee.


  4. abby1306

    Curtis Granderson posted this on fb, in case you haven’t seen it, take a look. Hope it makes you smile. 🙂 Maybe a little preview how Cashman will look on Monday?

    With Jeter…I think most of us think the same. The Yankees don’t have to pay a “normal shortstop”, they have to pay DEREK JETER! Maybe they do have to overpay him, but what the heck? Which player is not overpaid? Every player struggles with injuries or inconsistencies every once in a while and still gets paid. Just because Jeter had a “down year” doesn’t mean he’ll have another one. Ok, he’s older, but not OLD. He can get back on track offensively and defensively he just won a Gold Glove! Other than that he IS the Yankees, he IS the face of the Yankees, the franchise, he’s the Captain, a Yankee legend (don’t they want to see him hit 3,000 in pinstripes?) and I assume the merchandising products with his number are getting sold pretty well.

    What will happen if the worst case occurs and he won’t sign with the Yankees? Have the Steinbrenner’s or Cashman ever thought about that? What happens to the oranization, how will the fans react? (We know that, but do they?) And I am sure, they’ll lose more money than the millions they refuse to pay Jeter now. Is money really more important than Derek Jeter? And it’s not like they go bankrupt with paying him a little more. Cal Ripken Jr. is the best example, I hope they read this article and follow the example. I surely can’t wait!

  5. ladyjane303

    The news this morning: They’re talking…Hank is confident that Jeter will be back… The first positive news in days, and maybe we’ll all get a present from Tampa for Hanukkah (we have 8 days, you know).
    Have a happy, everyone.

  6. Jane Heller

    Poor you, levelboss. That card of Jeter as a Red Sock must have scared the living daylights out of you. LOL.

    I laughed when I saw how excited the interviewer was to talk to Cal, Melissa. Very sweet. He really is a legend in those parts and the comparison between him and Jeter is apt. Those eyes of his (Cal’s) really are Paul Newman-like! He’s a good looking man, no doubt about it, and is articulate to boot. Somehow I can’t see Jeter wanting to do a farewell tour because he, too, doesn’t like the focus to be on himself, but as we’ve seen stranger things have happened.

    Yeah, Jeff. Verducci got it right. I know the Yankees desperately don’t want to get saddled with another A-Rod contract, but why penalize Jeter for their past mistakes?

    True, Paul. Why encourage other GMs and team executives to weigh in on this matter? They’re all scratching their heads as much as we are.

    Cashman as the Jib Jab elf is priceless, Nadine. Good job by Grandy! I guess that’s what Cash will look like when he’s rappelling down that building with Santa. LOL. Jeter won’t sign with anyone else, so don’t worry about that. I’m not. And I’m even starting to feel as others do that we’ll have a deal soon.

    Very good that they’re talking to each other instead of to the media, ladyjane. It’s about time. Happy Hanukkah to you!


    Hey, Joe Namath did a pantihose commercial back in the day – why not Jeet in a mink?!!! JK – that’s definitely not him.

    I think the talks must be going well and I think that both sides will come away happy. I think The Steinbrenners will come up with a little more than they planned and Jeter will take a little less than he asked. Everyone will be happy – especially the fans.

  8. Jane Heller

    I forgot about Namath and that pantyhose commercial, Diane. LOL! Yes, Hank sounded optimistic in his quote about yesterday’s meeting and hopefully that means a deal is forthcoming. Then we can all move on, and I can stop writing about this subject!


    Hi Jane,
    I haven’t written in a while (Barbara is the main writer in the family) but that doesn’t mean I don’t read all the blogs or that I’m not interested in the Yankees. Far from it. Several people have written about having been Yankee fans for a long time and I think I may be the fan with the longest tenure. I have been rooting for them since 1936 (turned 82 in October) and I still follow evrything about the team.
    Controversy is nothing new so I may as well add my Jeter comments. I’m sure he will remain a Yankee for several reasons. First of all I have no doubt that he wants to stay with the team and if for no other reason, he can’t command bigger numbers with another team. With another team he is just an aging shortstop while to the Yankees he is King – holder of numerous records and soon to be the first Yankee ever to get 300 hits. Jeter has made a fortune and with his personality and
    abilities he is capable of making a small fortune the rest of his life – based in New York!
    With the money the team has thrown at middling ball players why in the world would they let Jeter leave over a few million? In addition, is there some star in the wings waiting to take Jeter’s place at shortstop? I don’t think so.
    My prediction is that Jeter will be signed within the next few weeks. The bigger problem is signing one or two quality pitchers. There is no championship without that, with or without Jeter.
    I was sorry to read of the death of Gil McDougald who excelled at all the infield positions (except first base). He was a class act who probably never got over the Herb Score tragedy. Incidentally, I had turned the radio on just after the ball hit Score and listened to hear what had happened. Score was on the way to being one of the all-time greats.

  10. Jane Heller

    Hi, Harold. Always great to see a comment from you. Hope you had a good time spending Thanksgiving with Barbara. No, controversy is nothing new for the Yankees, but it’s new for Jeter. I think that’s one of the reasons there’s so much talk about his negotiations; he prefers the spotlight on the team as opposed to himself. I’m with you on your prediction, and I’m even thinking the deal will happen soon. Why, indeed, would he leave over a few million? And why would the Yankees quibble over a few million when they’ve lavished buckets of money on Igawa and other “mistakes?” And yes, we need a quality pitcher – Cliff Lee, to be exact!

  11. Jane Heller

    I don’t know about the $60 million, manoman, but I bet they’ll go to 4 years. Well, on second thought, maybe they will.

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