(For technical purposes: This entry is dated "Monday" because I started it on Monday. I just finished it Tuesday, is all).
Anyway, I'll fly to Tampa tonight, and start writing from Yankees camp tomorrow. The plan is to spend a week with the Yankees, then a week with the Mets - subject, as always, to breaking news.
A few parting thoughts...
--I'm with the majority here. I think the odds are overwhelmingly strong that Derek Jeter and the Yankees will find common ground on an extension for 2011 and beyond.
What will it look like? Jeter's 2010 season will serve as a strong determinant of that. If it's a repeat of his 2009? George Costanza used to say something like "Huh-hoh!" Jeter would be sitting pretty.
If it's more like 2008? Then things could get a little contentious, but at the end of the day, both sides would have much incentive to keep the relationship going.
But let's say that Jeter's game regresses dramatically as he turns 36. And let's say he and his agent Casey Close negotiate aggressively, next November, which a) would be consistent with the way Jeter and Close negotiated in the late '90s and early '00s and b) would be Jeter's prerogative, of course.
Let's say, indeed, that Jeter leaves the Yankees for his "hometown" Tigers. Jeter grew up in Kalamazoo, a couple of hours west of Comerica Park, and Detroit owner Mike Ilitch has proven he'll think out of the box and pay when he is so motivated. For whatever it's worth, Jeter's agent Casey Close also has Michigan ties, having played baseball for the University of Michigan.
(This whole "Let's say..." thing reminds me of this episode of "Police Squad!":
Ed: All right, Eddie, let's say you did go to the movies.
Eddie Casales: Okay.
Ed, Eddie Casales, Det. Frank Drebin: [looking at the camera] You did go to the movies!
Det. Frank Drebin: Then let's say you were nowhere near the Club Flamingo!
Eddie Casales: All right.
Ed, Eddie Casales, Det. Frank Drebin: [looking at the camera again] You were nowhere near the Club Flamingo!)
Anyway, would it really be that horrible if Jeter and the Yankees divorced? Would Yankees fans stop coming to the Stadium? Would Jeter fans think any less of him?
The Yankees, without any obvious internal replacements, could knock on Florida's door and ask if Hanley Ramirez can come over and play, permanently. Or, they could go low-budget with someone like the Tigers' Adam Everett until a better solution comes along.
Jeter? He'd take a short-term hit, undoubtedly, but he'd follow Joe Torre's "How to be a Martyr" playbook, only he'd skip the part about writing the vindictive tell-all. He'd continue his Hall of Fame career, and when it finally came time to go to Cooperstown, he'd have a Yankees hat on his plaque.
Undoubtedly, the storybook finish has the Yankees and Jeter renewing their vows, and again - that will very likely happen. I just don't care for doomsday predictions when they aren't realistic.
Look at, say, Tom Glavine. He seemed destined to be a lifelong Brave, right until the time when - at age 36, coincidentally - he and Atlanta management disagreed on his value. There was a painful parting, and then a reunion, and even after another difficult chapter, Glavine finds himself affiliated with the Braves once again.
--In this story on Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez, David Lennon has a quote from Omar Minaya talking about the Mets' first-base situation. Minaya says that Daniel Murphy has to "earn" the starting first-base job, especially with Mike Jacobs on hand.
Eh. I think Murphy would have to fall on his face, and Jacobs would have to suddenly develop the patience of Nick Johnson and the glovework of Mark Teixeira, in order for Jacobs to win the job from Murphy.
--Swinging back over to the Yankees, Erik Boland wrote about Curtis Granderson's willingness to play or hit wherever the Yankees want. It's impressive that Granderson already is in Tampa, more than a week before he has to be. I believe Nick Johnson will join that crowd shortly, too.
--Interesting piece here by Baseball Prospectus about a new pitchers' metric called SIERA, or Skills-Interactive ERA. The formula is crazy, and I'm not quite ready to use it here regularly. But this paragraph caught my attention:
"(SIERA) allows for the fact that a low fly-ball rate (and therefore, a low HR rate) is less useful to pitchers who strike out a lot of batters (e.g. Johan Santana's FIP tends to be higher than his ERA because the former treats all HR the same, even though Santana’s skill set portends this bombs allowed will usually be solo shots)."
Something to keep an eye on, as we move forward.
--Live chat today at 11. Get in your questions before I get on the plane.