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SNAP!

On last night’s Yankee Hot Stove on the Yes Network, Brian Cashman was asked about Derek Jeter’s value to the club when not between the lines, and the phrase quoted in the title was his response. The off-field value question is at the crux of the Jeter contract situation, as Derek clearly is no longer a 20 million dollar a year player based on his performance. As such, any premium that he gets over 8-10 million dollars will represent payment for his status as a long-time Yankee who is a fan favorite and an icon. Although I have yet to see a convincing study that shows that the club can in fact monetize that status to the tune of millions of dollars annually, I am willing to accept that there is some value there, particularly in terms of maintaining a goodwill relationship with Yankees fans.

That said, Brian Cashman is absolutely right to dismiss off-the-field value when talking about “his world.” Brian Cashman’s job is not to maximize profits, but to maximize victories based on the budget that he is given. As such, he needs to focus solely on baseball impact when considering a contract offer for any player, no matter what their off-the-field status. By the same token, it is the job of the owner and other team executives focused on the bottom line to interject in the case of a player like Jeter. They need to work with Brian to determine exactly what Derek’s off-the-field value is, and craft an offer that they believe fairly compensates Jeter for both his baseball prowess and his marketing value. It is no coincidence that Brian Cashman went to meet Cliff Lee alone, but was accompanied by Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to meet with Jeter.

Joel Sherman raised a similar point in his column this morning, in which he discussed how the Yankees might treat Jeter this coming season if he shows further decline:

This is a baseball team, not a fan club or an alumni association. Realistic discussions of Jeter are too often scuttled with his intangibles or his class or his history. That is all nice. But what do they have to do with winning games from 2011 forward? If you are honoring those elements with unquestioned playing time or a spot atop the order, you have lost what Jeter himself claims he is all about, which is team and winning.

At this moment, Jeter is the best realistic option to play shortstop for the 2011 Yankees. We are now done with the sure things. All else should be open for discussion and adaptation based on what is seen today, not on a highlight reel from 1999. There must be new Jeter Rules that are immune to emotional ties. He will get the money for how the fan base feels about him.

Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi need to treat Derek Jeter like a baseball player and ignore everything else. Their job is to put the best product on the field. Iconic, off-the-field value should not translate in their world.

9 Responses to ““Iconic, off-the-field value doesn’t translate in my world””

  1. Whenever I hear phrases like ‘iconic, off-the-field value’ I think of Red is Shawshank:

    ‘it’s just a made-up word, a politician’s word so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job.’

    How come nobody considers that Derek should be giving the Yankees a really good deal considering how much money he made by wearing the interlocked NY that he wouldn’t have playing for the Royals.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    Sure he has made money off of the Yankees but it’s pretty silly to think you can just say Jeter is Marco Scutaro like in production now so he deserves the same price tag.

    Jeter was not Marco Scutaro and just because his numbers are more inline with that now doesn’t mean he sees himself like that and it doesn’t mean a lot of die hard fans don’t feel that way (obvious by the 69/31% vote for Lee over Jeter.

    Sure he doesn’t deserve 20 million but he also won’t ever get anything less than 15 the sooner people accept it the better off they will be when Jeter inks a 3 or 4 year deal worth 17-20 million a year.  (Quote)

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  2. Winning baseball games this year is not the only component of a successful franchise. Thank you contracts, especially for a team that can afford them, convince would-be free agent signings that they’re not going to get left out in the cold or exiled to Kansas City once production starts to slip. Call it the Johnny Damon effect. The sort of continuity that the Yankees have seemed to possess in the last fifteen years or so is also an asset in building long-term fan relationships, selling tickets five, ten, twenty years down the road. Look at the Devils, for instance. Nearly as successful as the Yankees over a similar time span (three championships to five), but Brodeur is the only player who has worn the uniform that entire stretch. Guys like Niedermayer and Gomez have cashed in elsewhere. Even playing in a great new facility and winning games (not this year) they have had trouble selling tickets. Yes there are a million reasons why the Yankees are not the Devils, but there is added, unquantifiable value in keeping icons in house.  (Quote)

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  3. The Yankees attendance took the biggest leap the year Arod joined the team. Attendance didn’t dip when Bernie was shown the door, Tino was let go, or when AP went to Texas, and it went up after Mattingly left.
    I think Jeter owes the Yankees a lot more than the other way around. 3 @ 15 per is overpayment enough. He’d get 2 @ 10 per max anywhere else.  (Quote)

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  4. Wins turn profits not Jeter. Attendance was down in the early 90′s because the Yankees were awful despite the presence of fan-favorite Don Mattingly. Enough of this nostalgia garbage; The Yanks just paid Jeter $189 million over the last decade and should not offer him a dime more than his market value. It’s just sickening to see us throw away our financial advantage by overpaying legacy players like Rivera, Posada and Jeter. The Yankees and the media are overestimating the media backlash that will arise if Jeter is not paid for his “off-the-field contributions.” Win games and all will be forgotten.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I really don’t see how you can lump Rivera in with Posada and Jeter.

    Mo is still the best closer in the game neither Jorge or Derek can claim that anymore and unlike those two Rivera hasn’t shown the decrease due to age the other 2 have, closers are almost always overpaid based on the amount of innings they throw but I’ll take Mariano Rivera over almost any other closer on the market including the one World Series champs closer.  (Quote)

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  5. Oh,snap, Moshe… Derek provides leadership that keeps the other 24 players, inculcated as best as possible by Cashman’s incantations, to the cause. Lead ye not bleed that. Give the Cap’n his due: this has worked, and Derek has done his best, and that insipires others. Shuck that at yer risk; note the gold glove, granted by the most knowledgeable. Numbers are numbers, but spirit is all.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Im not saying to shuck it, and things like leadership are on-field issues that Cashman SHOULD consider.  (Quote)

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  6. “Brian Cashman’s job is not to maximize profits, but to maximize victories based on the budget that he is given.”

    I agree Mohse, with your overall opinion, but I think during the interview Cash also gave his impression of what he thinks maximizes profits and that is winning. I think it is fair to say that he believes if he puts too much money on Jeter and can’t sign other productive players, then the Yanks will loose money if they aren’t winning.

    Ultimately, I don’t think he is ignoring profits but rather trying to build them through division and WS titles. Success sells more so than aging stars on a potentially losing team.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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