It is no secret the Yankees are usually willing to pay more than other teams for top free agents. But where they often beat the competition is the willingness to add an extra year or two to the deal where other teams won’t go. The Yankees have the resources to deal with a bad contract at the back-end of a deal, in exchange for the benefits received at the front-end.
But occasionally, those long-term deals to older players come back to haunt the Yankees. Next season, the Yankees will be stuck with a 39-year old part-time catcher (Jorge Posada) that will take DH time away from those that may need it more (Alex Rodriguez).
The Yankees could find themselves in a bigger jam if they re-sign Derek Jeter to anything longer than a three-year deal. There has already been some speculation that Jeter will seek a six-year deal that will keep him a Yankee until he is 42.
How dangerous will it be to have two ageing players on the left-side of the infield? Let’s take a look at what Jeter and ARod might be expected to produce in 2014. That would be just the fourth year of a new deal for Jeter (Projections are from BaseballProspectus.com)…
As we can see above, in 2014, Jeter would be worth less than one Win Above Replacement Player (WARP). If Jeter can stay healthy the entire season (500 PAs), he is probably still only a two-win player worth about $9.0 million. Even then, $40-45 million in salary for about $13-20 million in production is not exactly the most efficient way for a team to spend their money. The Padres just missed the playoffs this season with a $38 million payroll.
And keep in mind that Rodriguez is signed through 2017, three years beyond this projection. And if Jeter is given a six-year deal, his numbers in the last two years could be horrific.
If Yankees fans think the Yankees owe Jeter for his previous contributions, that’s fine. Overpaying for Jeter and A-Rod is something the Yankees can afford to do.
But where the Yankees will get hurt, is down the road, when they are stuck with two mediocre players and Brian Cashman is unable to sign some hot shot free agents to fill their spots.
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