While some of believe Derek Jeter eventually re-upping with the Yankees is a foregone conclusion — and one that might well reduce The Captain to the World’s Highest Paid Mascot by the 3rd year of the deal—— the Baltimore Sun’s Ron Fritz argues, “what better way to end years of futility than signing one of the all-time great leaders and winners in the sport?” Indeed, why don’t the Orioles pursue Tom Brady and Michael Jordan while they’re at it? (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory and Repoz)
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.
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.
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.
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.