…or any other non-Yankee team, for that matter. As Nate Silver so ably demonstrates, the answer is simple: his value as a ballplayer is far higher as a Yankee because he is Derek Jeter.
Jeter’s problem, however, is that this is not a competitive bidding situation. The $15 or $25 million “bonus” that he provides to the Yankees in off-the-field value is for the most part expressly contingent on the fact that he remains a Yankee, the franchise that he is identified with. Fans in Pittsburgh or San Francisco or Boston feel no particular loyalty to Jeter, and while he would surely still be a good ambassador for those clubs, he might not generate many more season ticket sales for them above and beyond what any other decent shortstop would. (The New York Mets might represent something of a middle ground, but they already have an All-Star shortstop in Jose Reyes.)
The Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, has challenged Jeter to test the market, knowing that he is unlikely to receive another offer as generous as the one the Yankees made. Mr. Cashman is probably right about that; so much of Jeter’s value is tied up in being a New York Yankee that he does not have very much flexibility in exploring the market.
Remember further, as demonstrated by his letting Victor Martinez walk, that Theo Epstein [the Red Sox’ GM] is unemotional when it comes to these transactions. Which means that an ancillary value in signing Jeter just to piss off Yankees’ fans is zero. If we were desperate for a shortstop and Jeter provided impressive projected Wins Above Replacement [WAR] over the next few years, then I am sure that Theo would have already made a bid. But it is no secret that this is not the case, and Jeter will continue to be a Yankee. As Silver shows, they have him by the balls.