Yankee captain Derek Jeter playing for new contract in ALCS

Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:09am EDT
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By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - No matter what happens to the New York Yankees in the 2010 playoffs, they know a formidable decision awaits them in the off-season: What to do about Derek Jeter's contract.

The Yankees' marquee player and team captain just had his worst season at the worst time for him considering that he is about to become a free agent and at an age, 36, when a baseball player, especially a shortstop, can be expected to decline.

First comes the best-of-seven American League Championship Series in which Jeter's Yankees play the Texas Rangers starting on Friday, with the winner going on to face the National League champion in the World Series.

After that, Jeter's 10-year, $189 million contract expires.

The Yankees cannot treat him as an ordinary player and apply normal market conditions, meaning they are likely to pay a premium to retain the face of the storied franchise. Experts say he would be worth $10 million per season at most if he played for any other team.

Jeter could increase his value with an exceptional performance in the remainder of the playoffs, especially if the Yankees win an unprecedented 28th World Series.

"Jeter is more valuable in New York than anywhere else. Jeter and the Yankees go together. The Yankees make more money because Jeter is on their team. Jeter is more likable to fans because he's on the Yankees. So they have a strong incentive to work this out," J.C. Bradbury, whose new book "Hot Stove Economics" attempts to determine how much players are worth, told Reuters.

"Jeter has made over $200 million in his career, so a lot of this is about saving face. He doesn't want the Yankees to slap him in the face with an offer that he perceives to be unfair. He'll just go elsewhere," Bradbury said.   Continued...