As part of Derek Jeter‘s current contract, he has a 2014 player option that is worth at least $8 million and can increase with bonuses. One of the bonuses he can obtain, as Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com pointed out, is an extra $2 million for finishing in the top six of MVP voting.
There is a legitimate question as to whether he can do that though.
Our own Michael Augustine did a good job laying out the case for Jeter to win the MVP award this season, but I can’t help the feeling that he, and many other Yankees fans, are looking through rose colored glasses.
The facts are simple – using WAR, an overall measure of a players contributions, Jeter currently ranks 26th in the AL with a WAR of 2.8. Most of that has to do with Jeter’s negative-13.6 UZR which ranks as the 4th worst in all of baseball. Even if you ignore Jeet’s defense, his offense alone still doesn’t put him a top the list of the best in the AL. Just looking at his wOBA and Jeter is sitting 22nd in baseball.
In lay terms, there are 25 better overall players than Jeter in the AL this season and 21 better hitters. To put things in perspective, Alex Rodriguez, who was regularly booed by Yankees fans this season, has the same .355 wOBA that Jeter has.
Jeter is enormously popular and his batting average is pretty so it is likely that he will have a large group stumping for him. But in past years Jeter has found it hard to win MVP’s even when he was deserving back in 2006 and 1999.
Still, a 6th place finish can’t be impossible. Can it? Mike Trout probably wins it. Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder easily can make a case that they have had better seasons than Jeet. Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre probably could as well. That’s six players right off the top of my head that are likely to beat out Jeter. So while he could potentially earn himself a raise this year, I am not holding my breath.