Yanks Don’t Need Jeter

21 11 2010

I had an argument with a friend last night about whether the Yankees need Derek Jeter. He said they do, and that they should pony up whatever dollar amount he wants. He reasoned that from the fact Jeter is still a good player and, given his long list of accomplishments as a Yankee, he brings in tens of millions of dollars per year. I dismissed it. Here’s why:

No player is that monetarily important to a franchise like the Yankees. The team will sell out its games — or come close to doing so — with or without Jeter. The Yankees were recently named the world’s top sports brand by Forbes. The brand value of the $1.6 billion franchise — Forbes also determined that was their overall worth — is $328 million. While Jeter certainly has played a notable role in helping the Yankees become the brand they are, there have been so many more contributors — Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Jackson, Mattingly, Rivera. Jeter isn’t the man who helped build Yankee Stadium, as some folks insinuate.

The Yanks’ 4 World Series titles from 1996-2000 were accomplished as much from the contributions of Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius and Paul O’Neill as from Jeter. Last year’s World Series title came as much from the play of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia as from Jeter. This is how I made my point.

It’s not to dismiss Jeter’s accomplishments — it’s just that teams and fans move on when a legendary player leaves. My friend made a point that Yankees fans wouldn’t forgive the franchise if they were to let Jeter walk in free agency. I disagreed, naturally. The Green Bay Packers have continued to sell out home games at Lambeau Field since Brett Favre left following the 2007 season. Their consecutive games sellout streak is up to 290. Even with LeBron James skipping town to Miami in the off-season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have sold out the six home games they’ve played. Teams move on.

A Jeter article in today’s New York Daily News contains a Web poll asking readers if the Yanks should give Jeter the contract he wants, restrict it to their terms or if it’s time to move on. Even though they don’t provide the total number of voters, 62 percent have said the Yanks should restrict Jeter’s contract to their terms. Joel Sherman wrote in his article today for the New York Post that Mariano Rivera’s contract negotiation should be just as important to the Yankees as Jeters’ is. And that’s a point I obviously agree with.





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