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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Does taking more money in 2014 than entitled by his contract make Derek Jeter selfish?

By chris.ptacek (Derek Jeter Hit #2722)
 [CC-BY-2.0 creativecommons.org
 via Wikimedia Commons 9/11/9
Yes.  Derek Jeter, depending on which source is correct, will receive either $2.5 or $4 million more in 2014 than he was entitled to.  See the previous post:

Saturday, November 2, 2013  Will the Yankees save money by paying Derek Jeter more in 2014 than required?

I'm a Yankee fan and a Derek Jeter fan.  I believe that players should get as much money as they can.  If the money is there, I'd rather it go to the players rather than the owners.  If player payroll were cut in half, do you think that the owners would reduce ticket prices accordingly?  Obviously not.  The owners will take as much as they can.  So, the players should try to get as much of that money as they can.  The players are the game, not the owners and, sure as heck, not the fans.  No players, no game.  The players put their physical well being on the line for our amusement.

However, I think that individual contracts should be honored.  Players should not demand that the team re-negotiate a valid contract.  Jeter could have exercised his player option for the 2014 season.  It is unclear but The Times article mentioned in the previous post suggests that the Yankees may have approached Jeter and offered to pay him millions more than was called for.

Should Jeter have taken more money, even if it was offered by the Yankees?  Should Jeter have tried to get as much as he could?

In 2013 Jeter received $17 of the $246 million (7%) that the Yankees paid to players, second only to the Dodgers ($256 million).  As we know Jeter was injured and contributed nothing substantial.  In 2014 Jeter will receive $12 million of ...?  The Yankees intend to be under the $189 million soft cap imposed by the Major Baseball League (MBL).  Let's say that the Yankees come in at $180 million.  Jeter's cut would be 6.7%, not much different.

In 2013 Alex Rodriguez received $28 million, 11.4% of the team payroll.  His contributions were modest but clearly more than those of Jeter.  In 2014 the contract of Rodriguez calls for him to receive $25 million, which would be 13.9% of $180 million.

The difference is that Rodriguez would receive what his contract already called for.  Jeter is essentially getting a new contract even though he was obligated to receive less.  For his career Jeter has received a little bit more than a quarter of a billion dollars, about $253,000,000.  That includes the $17 million in 2013 for playing very little due to injury.

Jeter's claim to fame is that he is a team player.  Jeter has been the Yankee team captain for several years.  The extra few million dollars that he will receive in 2014 will mean little to either Jeter or to the Yankees.  It would, however, mean a lot to another ball player.  This link contains the Yankee salaries:


Brendan Ryan, 31 years old, fits nicely into that range: $3.25 million.  Supposedly he is a very good fielder and obviously a very bad hitter.  Can the Yankees afford both Jeter and Ryan?  It's entirely possible that if both are on the team that Ryan could wind up as the starting shortstop if Jeter is injured or can no longer field well enough.  Those are real possibilities.  But suppose that Jeter fails and the Yankees do not have Ryan to step in?  We saw how disastrous that was in 2013 with a revolving door at shortstop because the Yankees did not have an adequate replacement.

Most of the responsibility for dealing with that rests with Yankee management.  But what share of responsibility do players share, especially captain Jeter?

Roger Clemens pitched most of his career with his original team, the Boston Red Sox.  Clemens left to take big bucks from the Toronto Blue Jays and he won the Cy Young award as best pitcher in the American Conference for each of his two seasons with Toronto.  But Clemens became disgruntled that the team did not win a championship because it did not have enough good players.  Clemens ignored the fact that he was taking a disproportionately large chunk of the Toronto team payroll and thus depriving his team of those additional resources.  Clemens left Toronto to join the Yankees where he played on championship teams in 1999 and 2000.  Then Clemens went on to Houston, doing no better than a loss in the finals.  In 2013 Houston had the disgracefully low team payroll of only $14 million, which made it a joke.  Nine Yankees were paid more.

I've long played with an idea that would stick it to both the owners and the players  Do away with individual contracts for money.  Each team must pay the same set amount of money to its players, maybe $100 million, but the players must decide how much each player receives in a given season.  If the players want to win then its better players would need to take less money than they would receive on a team with less talented players.  How would individual players behave in such an environment?  How would Jeter and Rodriguez react?

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