Derek Jeter warns Yankees to do more than annual commitments

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner greets Derek Jeter during his Hall of Fame plaque introduction at Yankee Stadium.

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NEW YORK — Yankees legend and the longest-serving captain has a strong opinion about their failure to win a championship in the last 13 seasons. Derek Jeter thinks the Yankees’ owners work hard every year to get the team ready for a championship run but it is up to the players to win that.

Derek Jeter was back at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for the Christmas week news conference where it was announced that Aaron Judge, the reigning AL MVP, would be coming back for $360 million and that he would be the 16th captain of the Yankees. Derek Jeter took a moment to defend owner Hal Steinbrenner while praising Judge as a player and as a person.

So far this offseason, Hal Steinbrenner has agreed to pay $573.5 million for five free agents.

Derek Jeter doesn’t have to pay close attention to the Yankees to know that his old boss is always the target of angry fans. Well, it’s clear that Jeter knows Steinbrenner gets a bad rap from fans, who continues to demand higher investments until it leads to more World Series parades. This is truer than ever now that the Mets’ richer and more “bossy” owner, Steve Cohen, is spending more than the Yankees. The angry Yankees fan has always yelled, “The Boss wouldn’t let this happen!” and this was there when Derek Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

When asked what were Derek Jeter’s thoughts about Steinbrenner’s running of the Yankees, who almost always make the playoffs and have a payroll near the top of the major leagues, he told:

“Hal’s not playing. Hal can put the best players on the field, but you have to perform. Ultimately, Hal’s done exactly what he’s supposed to do. I shouldn’t even say supposed to do. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do to give the organization a chance to win year in and year out, and ultimately it’s up to the players.”

Derek Jeter started his Hall of Fame career playing for George Steinbrenner, who made him the captain in 2006. He finished his career with his son Hal Steinbrenner running the team.

George’s big spending changed the game of baseball and heralded a new era of the Yankees’ dominance. Since Derek Jeter won his fifth and played in his seventh World Series in 2009, which was Hal’s first year in charge, the Yankees haven’t been to another World Series. This makes a lot of their fans always upset with Hal.

Even though Derek Jeter hasn’t been around the team much since he stopped playing and was busy for a few years as a part-owner of the Miami Marlins, the Captain Clutch has been paying attention to what the current Steinbrenner has done to keep the Yankees in the news every year.

In 2017, Steinbrenner allowed the Yankees to acquire Giancarlo Stanton by agreeing to pay $294 million of the $325 million contract that the Marlins gave the player in 2014. He also recruited Gerrit Cole for $324 million after the 2019 season. At the time, it was the most money ever given to a pitcher. The next year, the Yankees offered $90 million over six years to keep DJ LeMahieu, who was the reigning AL batting champion and fans were desperate to see him in the Bronx.

Steinbrenner, more than anyone else, got Aaron Judge to return despite serious bids by the Giants and the Padres. Derek Jeter knows this. The slugger would be a Giant if Steinbrenner hadn’t called Judge at 3 a.m. while he was on vacation with his family in Italy to ask what it would take to make a deal and then agreed right away when it meant going from eight years and $320 million to match the Giants’ nine-year, $360 million offer.

The team also went for Carlos Rodon with a contract of $162 million making their rotation top ranking in the MLB. There was a lot of competition, and Steinbrenner outbid everyone. He also brought back first-baseman Anthony Rizzo for $40 million over two seasons and included a bullpen arm by signing former Yankee Tommy Kahnle for another two years. Derek Jeter’s comment is testified by these actions.

All the while, Yankees fans are begging for an upgrade in left field. They were also expecting him to get shortstop Carlos Correa, who went to the Mets for $315 million over 12 seasons.

When asked what were his thoughts about the Mets spending big, Derek Jeter replied:

“Good for them. Just because you spend doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win. It doesn’t. Look at Tampa. I know they haven’t won a championship, but you want to marvel the organization what they’ve done. I think spending gives you a better chance year in and year out. The better players you have, obviously they’re going to make more money. But it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’re going to win. It’s just hard to do.”

What do you think about Derek Jeter’s opinion? Leave your comment below.

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