Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Derek Jeter To The Red Sox?

Jeter To Boston?
Jeter To Boston?

Let's get this out of the way: It'll never happen. Derek Jeter will never be a Red Sox player, just as black will never be red and Jessica Alba will never sleep with me.

But if you're Theo Epstein, GM of the Boston Red Sox, you've got to be thinking of offering Derek Jeter more than $45 million for three years, which is the New York Yankees best reported offer thus far. Just to screw with your biggest rival.

Now, Derek Jeter is probably not worth even close to that kind of money. The Yankees know it, and Derek likely knows it as well. But teams overpay for veterans all the time. It's nothing new, and Jeter carries with him a certain cachet which makes him more valuable in terms of merchandise and ticket sales.

But let's say Boston does offer Jeter more. Say $51 million for three years. What's the worst case scenario for the Red Sox? Jeter actually accepts. That's not that bad an outcome. Currently, the Red Sox have an infield of Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie (a rising star) and... well Marco Scutaro.

Derek Jeter is an upgrade over Marco Scutaro, at least at the plate. And theoretically, if Pedroia was moved to shortstop, Jeter's defensive liabilities could be covered up some at 2nd base. Jeter's skills have declined, but not to the point where he's a bench player. He could add that spark that Boston was missing last year.

And of course, there's an additional bonus for Boston. Yankees fans would kill themselves. This seems to be the main reason Boston fans would support the move.

But Jeter actually accepting a Boston offer is highly unlikely. He's well aware of his legacy, and he's seen how Brett Favre's life has gone these past few years. The likely outcome is far more favorable to Boston than Jeter putting on a Red Sox uniform.

In reality, a Boston offer would terrify the Yankees fan base and put pressure on Brian Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner to get a deal done. It would give Jeter leverage to get more money or more years, handcuffing the Yankees to a potentially geriatric money pit down the line. And it would energize Boston fans during the offseason, at the very least giving them material with which to effectively taunt their hated enemy.

Theo would be playing a game of chicken, sure. But one in which he could be reasonably certain the Yankees would swerve first. And even if they didn't, he'd have a player who could fill a hole in the Red Sox infield while simultaneously stabbing a hole in the Yankees hearts.

As a Yankees fan, I hope Theo doesn't buy into this diabolical scheme. But it's not out of the realm of possibility.

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