One Word Removed From Ethics Dunce-hood: Yankee Shortstop Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is not an Ethics Dunce yet, and all those who admire the career of the great Yankee shortstop—even grudging Red Sox fans like myself–have to hope and wish that he does nor become on. He is perilously close, however—one word away, in fact. The word is “no,” and if he utters it in response to the reported contract being offered to him by the New York Yankees, it is time to replace his NY cap with a tall, pointy one.

Jeter, for all you non-baseball fans out there (how I pity you!), is one the fabled New York franchise’s all-time greats, the best shortstop the team ever had and one of its best players at any position. He is much beloved, and has been the face and soul of the team for a decade and a half, one of the most successful stretches in the amazing history of the winningest professional sports team that ever was. He’ll be 37 next season, however, and his last season showed why no team ever won a championship with a shortstop that old. His fielding range was off; his batting average and power, too. Jeter was, in fact, mediocre at best, and now he is negotiating a new contract with the Yankees when every single relevant factor dictates a massive cut from the 19 million dollars he has been receiving the past few years.

Every factor except one, that is: he is Derek Jeter, icon, immortal, legend, and though baseball is undoubtedly a business, the Yankees know that having the team’s leader leave the roster under antagonistic circumstances would be a public relations disaster. Jeter has leverage, in other words, and knows it. Supposedly he is asking for a four or five year contract at an annual salary close to what he has been making, though that was the salary of a superstar, and the evidence of last season indicates that Jeter isn’t one any more. Though the Yankees have a reputation of being a bottomless money pit, they are not; the team is willing to overpay the shortstop in recognition of his status and service, but the team, reasonable, doesn’t want to be irresponsible about it. A non-iconic shortstop of Jeter’s age and current performance level would typically be worth about 10 million dollars a year for two years, and that would be generous.

The Yankees offer is said to be for three years and $45 million. Maybe Jeter could squeeze out some more, but the fact is that he doesn’t deserve it, and to use his status as a revolver at the Yankees’ head would be no better than extortion. If he is the team man he is supposed to be, then he should accept the generous offer with a handshake, a smile and a thank-you, recognizing that it is a gift, not the payment of a debt. There is no debt. Jeter was fairly paid for his contributions. Many would say overpaid. Some would say obscenely overpaid.

If, however, Jeter rejects that offer, he will have also rejected loyalty, fairness, accountability, proportion, gratitude and modesty in favor of ego and greed.

Don’t do it, Derek.

10 thoughts on “One Word Removed From Ethics Dunce-hood: Yankee Shortstop Derek Jeter

  1. Sorry, but the Yankees have asked for this.
    They have bought “loyalty” with their filthy lucre; they have stolen players from other teams with outrageous salaries; I would venture more than a guess that they have few team members who can really say they love the team more than they love the money they make.

    Only honorable men like Red Sox pitcher Schilling actually laughed in the Yankees’ faces when they tried to buy HIM off. Others were not so honorable, or loyal to the team that made them.

    So the Yankees can eat the multi-millions for their “franchise” Jeter. I guarantee you that if someone had more money to burn and offered it to Jeter just to make a point, he’d take it without a look back.

    This is the honor, loyalty, and team spirit the Yankees have spawned, for generations.

  2. Pingback: Update: Derek Jeter Is Now A Full-Fledged Ethics Dunce | Ethics Alarms

  3. Jeter, for all you non-baseball fans out there (how I pity you!), is one the fabled New York franchise’s all-time greats, the best shortstop the team ever had and one of its best players at any position

    Jeter, for all you idiot baseball fans out there (how I pity you!), is one of the New York franchise’s most incorrectly fabled all time greats, the second best shortstop the team currently has, and one of the the worst starting shortstops in the league.

    Jeter is worth $45 million to the yankees. He shouldn’t be worth 10 million a year to anyone else. There are 3 possibilities if Jeter turns down the Yankees’ offer: (1) a team pays him way more money than he’s worth (and he’s even worse off ethically), (2) a team only offers him what he’s worth, and he leaves tens of millions on the table, or (3) a team offers him more than he’s worth and he still leaves millions on the table. Take the money and run Jeter.

    • I need a clarification: are you directing this at only idiot baseball fans (that is, Yankee fans) or are you saying that all baseball fans are idiots, which would be odd, since you seem to know an awful lot about baseball for a non-fan.

      BTW, he’s currently the THIRD best shortstop the team has. And you can’t make a good argument that he isn’t the best Yankee shortstop ever. Who was better? Scooter? Lazzeri? Stick? Bucky %$$^& Dent? Come on.!

      • I’m directing it at baseball fans who are idiots, whoever they back. I’m not one to talk. I back the Orioles.

        Have the Yankees really been that divest of talent at shortstop? Anyway, I take the point on third best shortstop currently on the roster (are we sure it’s not fourth?), but I didn’t actually claim that Jeter isn’t the best Yankee’s shortstop ever, just that his fabling is (for the most part) ridiculous. He’s only rarely been good and never been great. Hardly Ruth, Mantle, and Rivera territory. He just wins, baby!

        • Don’t you think that’s a tad harsh? Has there ever been a player who has “rarely been good” who amassed 3000 hits, as Jeter will?
          Here are the top 40 players in hits, all-time:

          Pete Rose 4,256 1
          Ty Cobb 4,189 2
          Hank Aaron 3,771 3
          Stan Musial 3,630 4
          Tris Speaker 3,514 5
          Carl Yastrzemski 3,419 6
          Honus Wagner 3,415 7
          Paul Molitor 3,319 8
          Eddie Collins 3,315 9
          Willie Mays 3,283 10
          Eddie Murray 3,255 11
          Nap Lajoie 3,242 12
          Cal Ripken, Jr. 3,184 13
          George Brett 3,154 14
          Paul Waner 3,152 15
          Robin Yount 3,142 16
          Tony Gwynn 3,141 17
          Dave Winfield 3,110 18
          Craig Biggio 3,060 19
          Rickey Henderson 3,055 20
          Rod Carew 3,053 21
          Lou Brock 3,023 22
          Rafael Palmeiro 3,020 23
          Wade Boggs 3,010 24
          Al Kaline 3,007 25
          Roberto Clemente 3,000 26
          Cap Anson 2,995 27
          Sam Rice 2,987 28
          Sam Crawford 2,961 29
          Frank Robinson 2,943 30
          Barry Bonds 2,935 31
          Willie Keeler 2,932 32
          Jake Beckley 2,930 33
          Rogers Hornsby 2,930
          Al Simmons 2,927 35
          Derek Jeter 2,926 36
          Zack Wheat 2,884 37
          Frankie Frisch 2,880 38
          Mel Ott 2,876 39
          Babe Ruth 2,873 40

          Which player on the list, other than Jeter, wasn’t great? I also only count 5 shortstops. So he has more hits than all but four shortstops, and every other player among the top 40, except for one steroid case, Rose, Biggio, who is a lock, and Beckley, are in the Hall of Fame.

          Be fair, now.

  4. I am very confused. Is Jeter an “icon and an immortal” ? Surely these words have been reserved for Christ, Buddah, Mohammed, to name a few
    few. Jeter is not God. Full stop.He plays baseball and is a baseball player. He is on television pitching, cars and his “edge,” not for the greater good of society, but for his own good. That’s fine. Baseball is a business. The Yankees are a business. Jeter Inc., is a business, please don’t try to insult the loyal fans that Jeter Inc., is a not for profit.
    The Yankees have a great history, they are immortal in the eyes of baseball. . Ruth, DiMaggio,Mantle,Gerigh, to name a few, were players who the Yankees paid to play, they became icons and are now immortals. They are part of the Yankee legacy, the Yankee brand.
    Yes, the Yankees have benefitted with Jeter in their park. They made an investment in Jeter, by hiring him 15 years ago. Jeter works for the Yankees. He is an employee. The Yankees, inc. don’t always see their investments in their players perform. They have lost hugh sums of money seeing some of their investments in players, go bust.They have over payed players. Jeter’s camp makes reference to this. This is irrevalent. That’s the cost, the risks a business accepts, any business. Why then should the Yankees Inc., be judged for making profits?
    Most football players who sustain a career ending injury, get cut and don’t get paid. Finished. The sexy contract they signed is null. Baseball teams don’t have this out. They offer hugh deals to players and have to pay regardless.(most cases, I believe)There was no risk for Jeter after he signed his ten year deal. It was guaranteed, $200 million dollars. The Yanks took that risk. It has paid off. Please remember, the Yankees Inc., have paid him more than any shortshop in the history of baseball. In the history of any player ever played, he must be in the top 5 or 10? Ten generations of Jeters from now will have financial security and privledge. What a legacy. Here is my thought: You want to be an icon and an immortal in the eyes peoples outside of baseball?
    Make a press announcement on this Thanksgiving, that will trump the Yankees and say Jeter.org
    has been established and will give back the $45mm. Jeter will still be worth
    hundreds of millions… The public relations you will create doing this is
    unimaginable and the inherint wealth of Jeter Inc. would triple overnight.

    Give back to the people who have been directly responsible for your wealth:
    the fans. Create a vehicle that offers scholarships to those who can’t pay for higher education and the life opportunities that advanced studies provides.
    Create a vehicle that offers the real fans and families who can no longer afford to go to a game , the opportunity, by offering them seats. You can leave the execution for this in the hands of the great business minds that you have access to. Idea: Challenge the Yankees to match your gift. Challenge future Yankees to contribute to this foundation. Again, Jeter.org will only enhance the value and create more opportunities for Jeter., Inc.

    In closing, I admit, my thoughts are extreme, untested, lofty and represent what my imagination,and a picture of what could be. I challenge Derek Jeter to build on this ideal. It is unique and will ensure that you will be an icon not just to baseball fans but to peoples everywhere. Wow! Go Derek, make history, take the road less traveled, it will make all the difference and set you apart from any baseball player before and since. Creat you own immortality.
    Let us all thank God, or a higher power, especially on this day, for all we are blessed with in this great country.

    JEB
    NYC,NY

    • I like it!

      I think you do ask too much of the terms “immortal” and “icon,” which can properly be used in greater or lesser contexts. Jeter is an icon of baseball, Raul Capablanca is an icon of international chess, Harry Houdini is an icon in the world of magic, Soupy Sales is an icon among slapstick comics, and Fred Flintstone is an icon in the cartoon world, alon with Dagwood and Snoopy. Icons all.

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