Would Mets Sign Derek Jeter?

After Derek Jeter reportedly turned down a 3-year, $45M contract offer, the Yankees have told their Captain to shop around. Further, the Bronx Bombers have elected to NOT offer Jeter arbitration, so if another team signs the shortstop, they will not surrender a draft pick.

Assuming that Jeter actually DOES “play the field”, would the Mets consider tendering a contract offer?

According to various reports, the Mets have only $5M to spend this winter on free agents. But budget limitations should be thrown out the window if there is an opportunity to sign GEE-dah. Yes, I’m aware that Jeter plays the same position as Jose Reyes; I don’t care. Yes, I’m aware that the Mets are about to begin a rebuilding process; I don’t care. Yes, as a Mets fan it’s true I love to hate Derek Jeter; I don’t care.

Forget all the reasons you don’t want Derek Jeter even sniffing a Mets uniform — much less wearing one — and think about all the reasons you DO want him to be a Met.

For one, it would be the most devastating blow to the Yankees and Yankee fans in the history of Yankeedom. That on its own is worth $50M+ over three years. Imagine the fun you’d have needling your fellow Yankee-loving co-workers at the water cooler.

Second, the Mets are going nowhere in 2011 and will be desperate to sell tickets. Signing Jeter would provide an immediate, substantial boost in season-ticket sales from former Yankee fans. I know, it would stink to have to sit next to Yankee fans at a Mets game, but you won’t be visiting the Ballpark at Shea Bridge more than once a year until at least 2013.

Third, there is the 3000-hit milestone. Watching Derek Jeter collect his 3000th hit as a Met would be so incredibly delicious for us fans, and so incredibly profitable for the Wilpons, that it cannot be ignored. The moment itself has enough value, but consider the that the moment will be repeated on highlight reels for the next 50 years. Yum.

Finally, there is the clubhouse presence / leadership / mentor / grit factor. The Mets are hell-bent on changing the attitude and perception of this ballclub; adding perennial winner Derek Jeter to the mix would be an instantaneous upgrade in those areas and would provide ten times the credibility Pedro Martinez brought in the winter of 2004.

It’s a tremendous longshot, I know — but not outside the realm of possibility, if the Wilpons are game. It’s not as crazy as it sounds; the Yankees have allowed Derek Jeter to roam the market, and there are a handful of teams that make sense: the Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, and Mets. All five of those teams can afford to pay him, would love to mess with the Yankee Tradition, offer a big-city stage, and would benefit from his presence. The Mets would appear to be the most viable of the five, considering that Jeter wouldn’t have to move, would convert tens of thousands of existing fans to the orange and blue very easily, and would remain on center stage in the media capital of the world.

I can tell you’re still uncomfortable with such a notion, and wondering how Jeter would fit in. Well, there are a few options. Jeter could move to 2B, replacing Luis Castillo — you’d like that, no? He could also move to short, allowing the Mets to deal Jose Reyes for big-time prospects (Justin Upton?). Or maybe Jeter could play 3B, and David Wright could move to 2B or a corner outfield spot. Let’s put it this way: having Jeter on the roster would be a pleasant problem, and the Mets would figure out how to make it work; don’t worry about the details until you need to.

Most likely, the Yankees would double their contract offer if the Mets made a bid, making this entire story a moot point. But if that’s how it played out, at least we’d revel in the joy of screwing the Evil Empire.

Do the Mets have the chutzpah to make an offer? Would you welcome Derek Jeter with open arms? Heck, he couldn’t be any worse than Tom Glavine. Post your feelings in the comments.


Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 November 24, 2010 at 8:31 am
    Did Francesa hack into your blog, Joe? — lol

    This is akin to the:

    “Will the Mets sign Bernie Williams?”
    “Will the Mets sign Mariano Rivera?”
    “Will the Mets sign Jorge Posada?”

    ……and so on, and so forth — articles we’ve seen in past winters.

    As for me, I’m just waiting for the inevitable “everything was overblown”, Pinstripe hugs n’ kisses, Yankee-Pride bromance to begin with Jeter’s press conference to announce his extension.

  2. Maggie November 24, 2010 at 8:55 am
    A 36 year old middle infielder with no range coming off his worst offensive season ever for a multiyear contract at 8 figures per year? Where do I sign up?
  3. Paul November 24, 2010 at 9:15 am
    I thought the goal was to get rid of bad contracts to aging players with declining skills.

    It would be fun to tweak the Yankees, but I don’t really want to see Derek Jeter in a Mets uniform.

    • Ceetar November 24, 2010 at 10:36 am
      we missed our chance to tweek the Yankees real good, and beneficial to us, by not signing Mattingly to manage.

      Jeter? He’d probably have near Castillo power in Citi Field. He’d play defense about on par with him.

      His ego would get in the way in the clubhouse, and he’s not really a good leader, he’s always disappearing into the back ASAP so he doesn’t have to answer questions.

      Plus Yankees fans would raise attendence rates, but not as much as actually signing 2 quality starters and winning 85+ games. Other fans would tease the mets about picking up Yankee cast offs.

      No, the best scenario is Jeter is revealed for the greedy scum he is, butthe Yankees sign him to a 5 year deal and clog up the roster further.

    • Ceetar November 24, 2010 at 10:36 am
      I _would_ consider a 2million offer for one year, for him to do Cora’s job though.
  4. Hooney November 24, 2010 at 9:46 am
    A much as I would revel in walking around the bronx in an orange and blue jeter jersey, I think spraypainting yankee stadium is a cheaper option. Though I’d like him at 2b..
  5. Gabe November 24, 2010 at 10:15 am
  6. Walnutz15 November 24, 2010 at 10:21 am
    Let the Mets tussle into Yankee Legend bidding — driving up the price……..

    I’m confident in stating that it’d be the last thing they ever did on the FA market.

  7. CatchDog November 24, 2010 at 10:40 am
    What’s going to be even funnier is listening to Yankee fans bitch, piss and moan when Captain Jeet’s defensive range is that of a fence post, his OPS is in the 600s and he’s still batting second.

    Let him get # 3000 and ride off into the sunset.

    Unfortunately, there’s going to be another three seasons of serious regression @ 20 mil per, which is going to be fodder for every Yankee hater in the universe.

  8. Andy November 24, 2010 at 10:57 am
    Um, please no. At $5 million per year, okay. At $16~$20 million per year, forget it.
  9. Kenny November 24, 2010 at 10:59 am
    There is NO WAY the Mets will sign Jeter, now that MLB is running the Mets. Face it, Alderson is the face of an MLB bailout. Fred may have gotten to pick his friend as manager, but payroll and personnel are being run by MLB.

    How could the MLB commish allow Jeter to sign with the Mets when his office is running the team? First off, it would hurt the league’s most profitable franchise. Secondly, you can bet it will hurt Fred’s image when the Yankees start leaking stories that the Wilpons got an MLB bailout. Fred could’ve sold 49% of the team, but he wanted to save face. Signing Jeter would risk embarrassing Fred.

    Jeter may leave the Bronx, but there is no way the Mets get him or even enter a bidding war.

  10. Walnutz15 November 24, 2010 at 11:02 am
    I’m just sitting back and enjoying the fan-created panic….Francesa fuels it; and the bandwagon/October-Office Fan-types bemoan it.

    All these papers have nothing else to write about; and I’m sure Jeter is in a “Couples Retreat”-type hut in Tahiti right now — oblivious to it all.

    The cover of The Post was classic this morning….as was the cartoonist who already drew him in Met pinstripes.

    Bottom line: Jeter would never play for the Mets.

  11. BenNY from Bayonne November 24, 2010 at 11:39 am
    JEEtah woulda been a lock to sign with da Mets if only day highyad Joe Torre ta manage insteada Tom Collins. Ain’t Tom Collins a drink?
    • Chippy515 November 24, 2010 at 11:54 am
      BenNY – They hired TERRY Collins. And he’s a DRUNK, not a drink. HAHA.
      • BenNY November 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm
        huh? Who the heck is TERRY Collins????

        Geez, I know what a TOM Collins is.

  12. gary s. November 25, 2010 at 12:27 am
    Robinson Cano yes..Derek Jeter NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Dumbest idea ever.
  13. Professor Longnose November 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm
    I’m a Yankee fan and a Mets hater (I read your blog because it’s a great blog with lots of good info especially about pitching mechanics), and frankly I wouldn’t feel bad if Jeter signed with the Mets at all, unless the Mets won a pennant with him and the Yankees didn’t, or the Mets with Jeter beat the Yankees in a World Series, or something like that.

    That isn’t likely. The Yankees aren’t trying to get Jeter at a bargain. They’re already offering him money that will make it more difficult for the franchise in coming years. They’re trying to get a contract that won’t make the team worse.

    If Jeter was valuable enough to improve the Mets significantly at this point, the Yankees would indeed increase their offer. But I don’t think they’d rush to top an offer they consider not to be worth it.

    You know what would be funny? If Jeter threatened to sign a one-year, $5 million contract with someone else if the Yankees didn’t go 6/150.