Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/1/13
It isn’t surprising news, but it’s at least official now -- Derek Jeter will be returning to the New York Yankees in 2014. The Yankees are giving Jeter a one-year, $12 million deal for next season, giving the soon-to-be 40-year-old shortstop a raise over the $9.5 million he would have earned by executing his player option. Jeter earned $17 million for 17 games and four trips to the disabled list in 2013. There was some talk that the deal would have helped the Yankees actually save money in terms of lessening the luxury tax blow, but it turns out that’s not the case, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. In the end, Jeter didn’t want a $7.5 million paycut, and the Yankees were willing to accommodate. It’s safe to say these negotiations were much more pleasant than what the two sides went through three years ago, when Brian Cashman essentially dared Jeter to test the open market. According to Sherman, we can apparently thank Hal Steinbrenner for sparing us another offseason’s worth of sparring. Steinbrenner didn’t want the issue to linger. Jeter is expected to man shortstop again next season, and while plenty of digital ink has been spent on his defensive decline, the truth is he may still be their best option. In Jeter's absence, Jayson Nix was the most frequent shortstop in 2013. He hit .236/.308/.311, providing just enough defensive value for FanGraphs to have him at 0.7 wins above replacement. Luis Cruz (.182/.224/.200, 0.1 fWAR) and Brendan Ryan (.220/.258/.305, 0.1 fWAR) were the only other fill-ins to provide positive value. At the very least, a healthy Jeter’s bat in the lineup -- even as a DH from time to time -- would help a Yankees’ offense that was hard to watch at times last season. Realistically, Jeter was never going anywhere, and the Yankees weren’t in a position to let him go, either. With Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte riding off into retirement, Jeter is the only member of the “Core 4” remaining, and the Yankees weren’t going to let him retire without making sure he also got a year-long retirement tour. Of course, whether or not that tour is in 2014 remains to be seen. [follow]
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