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Derek Jeter Enters Baseball Free Agency

Demi Lovato entering rehab is bad news, but not all entertainment and sports news of late is gloomy.  As the season wound down and the San Francisco Giants were crowned World Series champions, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees was left watching from home along with most other players in the league. Now the off season begins, the part of the year filled with drama and intrigue. In no other sport does the off season get as much attention as it does in baseball, and Jeter's situation is the perfect example. He has been the face of the New York Yankees for 15 years, led them to five World Series titles, and generally been the team's ambassador and leader for most of that time. His jerseys are ubiquitous at home games and in many cities can also be spotted in Yankees road games.

Lasting Star Power

Jeter is a generational superstar, the kind of player who has used his game and the stage upon which it is played to turn himself into a brand. Statistically he had probably his worst year in 2010, and he has to be thought of as someone on the downward arc of his career at age 36. But Derek Jeter is much more than just a player; and anyone in the game or especially the Yanks organization who would try to suggest otherwise is either lying or fooling themselves. His lasting star power goes far beyond statistics or his value on the field. There is talk that Derek Jeter might get moved to the outfield next year to make way for a younger shortstop with more range or for teammate Alex Rodriguez to move back to his natural position.

The Yankees and the Jeter camp both say that they want him back in pinstripes next year. In theory, this could be a case where although he is a free agent, he doesn't so much as sniff an offer from another club. But this is not the 1990s and the organization has been tighter with money in some ways since George Steinbrenner's son Hal took over day to day operations. There are those in the game who wonder whether Derek Jeter will get lowballed or asked to take some sort of hometown discount in exchange for a multiyear contract. But others swear that the team would do no such thing, that even if his statistics don't justify it, the revenue that he brings in with merchandise sales and appearances alone more than pay for a large sum contract.

Details of Jeter Deal Debated

There are those who believe he will have to take a cut from his 2010 salary of $21 million. But others suggest that thanks to his strong brand and the connection his name and likeness have with the team, that he is worth much more than his statistics alone would suggest. This has been a source of fun conjecture in the baseball community. There are estimates placing his eventual contract at maybe $15 million a year for only one or two years, but also others saying it could go as high as $21 million a year and span up to four years. Those considering the Jeter contract situation should remember that A Rod's latest deal guarantees him major bank into his 40s. Car insurance consumers who need mechanical breakdown insurance and normal folks will never sniff the money that Jeter and his teammates make, yet we are all interested as fans of the game (even those who hate New York) to see what will become of the team's leader. The Derek Jeter free agency winter could be prolonged as negotiations commence, but odds are he will retire a Yankee.

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