From The Toy Department at BaltimoreSun.com:
Orioles need to sign Derek Jeter
As baseball's Winter Meetings approach and the Orioles begin looking to upgrade their roster, they need to do something bold to build on the buzz created by hiring Buck Showalter.
They need to sign Derek Jeter.
Well, it would certainly create buzz. The Orioles created a lot of buzz by spending big bucks on their bullpen a few seasons back. It was bad buzz. That is the kind of buzz this will create.
The Orioles have many holes -- first base, third base, veteran starting pitching and the bullpen. But they also need a shortstop. More importantly, they need a leader.
They need Derek Jeter.
Ah, a leader! Why didn't you say so? Jeter would make an excellent bench coach. Hell, Showalter can start grooming him to take over the helm in a few years. Jeter's a smart guy, he'd be great manager material.
Sure, he's 36 and will turn 37 during the 2011 season. But he's durable, playing at least 150 games the past seven seasons. His batting average fell from .334 to .270 and his home run total dropped by eight to just 10. But he drove in 67 runs and won a Gold Glove. He's no Cesar Izturis defensively, but he's solid and his hitting numbers crush those of Izturis.
Wait a second...he suggesting that Baltimore signs him as a player? Really...wow, ok. Let's take a closer look at this then...
The author, Ron Fritz, has already made the greatest case against Derek Jeter, a case he tries to dismiss. His age. Jeter will be 37 in 2011 which doesn't bode well for his bat. In the history of baseball, only 3 shortstops 37 and older have posted a season OPS+ greater than 100. That's Honus Wagner, Luke Appling and Ozzie Smith. Looking at the top OPS+ seasons from a shortstop since 1980:
Year OPS+ O. Smith 1992 105 O. Vizquel 2004 99 O. Vizquel 2006 93 O. Smith 1993 88 O. Vizquel 2005 82
At best, you might get a season of Derek Jeter producing at league average at the plate. The rest of the time, if you're lucky, you get a graceful decline into mediocrity. But middle infielders do not age well and Jeter is already aged. His OPS+ of 90 in 2010 was a career low, which, in a round about way, the author references (but defends him with an RBI stat which, in the face of everything else, is immaterial).
Gold Glove? Here's my response: Gold Glove, scholdglove. Jeter hasn't been even an average defender in more than 10 years, let alone an elite one. Furthermore, you can make a very good argument that he is one of the worst regular shortstops in the league. If you want to refute that fact with Fielding Percentage, I suppose you can delude yourself about his glove but it won't change the reality.
The author is correct in stating that Jeter will outhit Cesar Izturis but that is like boasting that Adam Jones can smoke Matt Wieters in the 100-yard dash. It's hardly the measuring stick you want to use to demonstrate competence.
So you would be signing an aging player with a mediocre bat and a bad glove to man what is arguably the most important defensive position on the field. But Jeter would probably provide more value than Izturis in 2011. I'll hear him out.
Jeter also would bring five World Series titles, command respect in the locker room and show a young Orioles team how to play the game. The future Hall of Famer is 74 hits from 3,000. If there is one thing the Orioles do well, it's milestone ceremonies.
I don't believe for a second that the Steinbrenners will let Jeter remove those World Series trophies from Yankee Stadium and bring them down I-95. OK, he is beloved by the Yankees, so maybe one. But not all five.
He would command respect and he could demonstrate a professional manner of play to the youngsters. But couldn't he do that as a coach? Can't we explore that avenue again?
And then he suggests that the Orioles sign a player because the Orioles really know how to throw a party.
There is not one point in that paragraph that supports the argument that Jeter improves the Orioles on the field.
But hey, a one-year deal for $5 mil or so...probably worth Baltimore's time...
If the Yankees are willing to let Jeter test the free-agency market, then the Orioles should be there with an offer, somewhere in the four-year, $60 million range. Really, whatever it takes. Ask Cal Ripken Jr. to help recruit him. And then, because you have a shortstop who does more than hit singles, you can maybe re-sign Ty Wigginton to play third or first and still be able to spend decent money for another corner infielder.
*drops plate of hot wings*
Wow...4 years for $60 million? He would be the highest paid player on the team. That's more than I suggested that the Orioles throw at Adam Dunn, a player still in his prime. How does Fritz expect the Orioles to get their money's worth on that deal? They'll be paying a 40-year old shortstop $15 mil in 2014. By then, he certainly won't be hitting anything but singles, if he is hitting at all.
The lunacy of that suggested offer speaks for itself.
Not to mention...who says he'll play for that? He's balking at similar offers from the Yankees already. It would take something closer to $20 million to lure him from the Big Apple. It's a contract that would hamstring the Orioles for years to come. It would be worse than the Barry Zito deal, the Aaron Rowand deal, any of them. An albatross. A debacle.
It would be a PR disaster for the Yankees, it would hurt them on the field and maybe, just maybe, his signing would send a signal to other free agents that Baltimore is a great place to play.
$15 mil a season could run a hell of a disinformation campaign against the Yankees. And it wouldn't hurt the Orioles on the field like Jeter would for 648 games.
If the Miguel Tejada signing didn't improve opinions about Baltimore as a place to play, why would the Jeter signing do so? It'll look like a better destination when the play on the field is respectable.
Imagine Showalter and Ripken holding a No. 2 Orioles jersey with Jeter on the back as they announce the signing. They couldn't print tickets fast enough at Camden Yards.
Don't do that again.
The seats would be full for a couple games until they fans see Jeter field up close. Then they will leave again.
Yeah, I know he's a Yankee, and Orioles fans hate the Yankees. But they hate losing even more. What better way to end years of futility than signing one of the all-time great leaders and winners in the sport?
The fact that he is a Yankee is number 9 or 10 on my list of reasons not to give $60 million to Derek Jeter. Is Ron suggesting that Jeter alone is worth 16 wins? Really? Does he have access to those Angels in the Outfield? Can he truly make runs appear on the scoreboard with sheer will?
If you put Albert Pujols on this team, are you still certain the team could break even? I'm not.
Would he consider playing for the Orioles? It's time to find out.
A) He wouldn't consider that.
B) No, it not. It's really not.
The Orioles need to sign Derek Jeter.
I had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn't April Fool's Day or something. It's a completely absurd post. Is it a fan post? Who is this guy? My only conclusion is that this is a post designed to be controversial and attract attention. Which it did, if only from this small part of the Oriole blogosphere.