Human nature suggests [Derek Jeter] has given this plenty of thought. In statements he’s made in recent years to Yankee executive Gene Michael and to his own personal trainer, Jason Riley, Jeter has indicated he wants to play until he’s about 43. He has also indicated a willingness to change positions, if necessary, for his final few seasons.
Jeter is currently 36-year-old and will turn 37 in the middle of next season. His OPS+ this season was by far the lowest of his career at 90 and unlike 2008, when he had his lowest OPS+ since 1997, he was mostly healthy this season. Meaning there is legitimate reason to be concerned that his decline has started.
Late in the season he did work with hitting coach Kevin Long and hit well down the stretch putting up a .326 batting average over the final 20 games. He also hit well in the playoffs. So there could also be reason to believe his demise is overstated.
Still, that’s another seven years he could potentially be playing if he were to play until he was 43. Regardless of whether or not 2010 signaled his downfall or not that is a lot of questionable years.
What works in his favor is that he, according to O’Conner, is willing to switch positions later on because Alex Rodriguez is under contract for another seven years. To have a third baseman and a shortstop who are already entering their decline years under contract for the seven years is a recipe for disaster. The fact that he’s willing to be flexible means that they could potentially figure something out.
I think everyone would prefer for Jeter to take the Andy Pettitte route and go year-by-year, but I somehow doubt very highly that will happen. If he insists on signing a seven year deal, I hope that the Yankees can work out a situation where Jorge Posada DH’s in 2011 and A-Rod takes that spot over in 2012 with Jeter taking A-Rod’s place at third that year.
Do you see another scenario where the Yankees can work something out with Jeter? Don’t worry about the money part of it for now, that discussion will be for another day.