|Derek Jeter turns two as |
Carlos Guillen slides into second.
Photo Credit : Detroit News
To fantasize about the impossible coming to be real.
Imagine Tiger fans, if the Tigers actually signed a 3 year deal with Derek Jeter.
How would that change the face of the Tigers?
The Tigers did not option Jhonny Peralta for 2011. Shortstop is an open position.
And it’s likely that the Tigers will say goodbye to Maglio Ordonez in right field that will free up some 9 million dollars in payroll.
And we said goodbye to another former Yankee Johnny Damon.
But Jeter is likely worth some 25 million a year.
And he wil be 37 years old in 2011.
And he is coming off a less than stellar year in 2010 – by Derek Jeter standards.
A career .314 hitter who slumped to .274 last year has a face known to baseball around the world.
And the Tigers already have proven future hall of famer Miguel Cabrera playing first base.
What would this mean?
It would mean a strong left side of the infield with Brandon Inge and Derek Jeter on the left side.
It would mean a solid base hitter in the 2 or 3 slot of the lineup before Cabrera.
It would probably average at least one more run per game.
It would mean a solid clubhouse presence – a man you know will have a future in baseball past his playing days – managing or in a front office position.
It would mean a larger impact to the Tigers’ recruiting efforts than even Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez had when he joined in 2004, drawing names like Polanco, Ordonez, and Guillen, the past core of a competitive Tigers roster.
The impact would be significant.
But is it worth $60 – $75 million over three years?
The upside is so much greater than the down side.
Derek Jeter does have some Michigan roots.
He went to Central High School in Kalamazoo. He is in their hall of fame.
Now I am not clueless here.
I realize that prying Jeter out of the clasp of the Yankees organization is a pipe dream. Why would he want to leave his Manhatten apartment in the Trump Towers to come to Detroit?
How could the Tigers possibly pull this off?
I don’t think they can.
But maybe, just maybe.
We can dream can’t we?
What do the Tigers really need for 2011? Besides a shortstop?
A left and right fielder to surround Austin Jackson.
A catcher. We need a dependable receiver who can frame the pitch and throw out a stealing base runner. Who can hit hotter than .220.
And we need a second baseman. A guy who is ready now. Although if Scott Sizemore’s ankle heals over spring – maybe he is the guy of the future? But who wouldn’t want to come to Detroit to play second beside Jeter?
Imagine Jeter at shortstop.
That’s a game-changer. An impact player.
Imagine how other players would look differently at Detroit with a Jeter – Cabrera combination – on defense and at the plate.
To me, this is a litmus test for Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers General Manager – to see if he sees what I see in the potential gain. And even more so to Mr. Illitch – to see what he is willing to put this Tigers team over the edge of competiveness.
I know some of you think I am nuts for this idea. This pipe dream. And all of you who will comment to say “this will never happen” – you’re most likely dead right.
But let’s see if the Tigers pursue Derek Jeter.
To me – this would say more than if they actually got him.
We’ll find out tonight after midnight.