For some baseball fans, they can’t imagine a world without Derek Jeter. For others, namely those in Boston, they’ve been waiting for Jeter-free baseball most of their adult lives.
The New York Yankees famed shortstop – and notorious lady killer - announced that 2014 will be his final season in the majors, calling it quits after 20 years in the sun. At least he’ll have more time to add another notch to his celeb-slaying belt and promote his fine-dining establishment.
The Yankees captain broke the news via Facebook Wednesday, stating that an injury plagued 2013 and his drastic decline on the field have made him realize that it’s time to hang up his custom Air Jordan cleats.
“And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball,” Jeter said in a 15-paragraph post on the social media site.
It’s not just Jeter or the legions of die-hard Yankees fans coming to the conclusion that No. 2’s best days are behind him. Sportsbooks have been discounting Jeter’s worth to New York’s day-to-day odds for the past few seasons.
“Jeter is very questionable to perform to any level we have come to expect from him, as I believe he will struggle to hit .270 and remain on the field on a regular basis,” Steve Mikkelson, sportsbook director at the Atlantis in Reno, tells Covers. “The Yankees have too many DHs, a lot of questions with their entire infield and suspect starting pitching.”
Whether Jeter is in the lineup or not, his presence no longer has an impact on the Yankees’ moneylines. Even in his prime, when New York won three straight World Series from 1998 to 2000, Jeter is estimated to be worth around only three cents on the moneyline due to the abundance of talent on the Yankees’ roster at the time. Top MLB players generally rank between 10 and five cents.
“In his prime, the Yankees as a whole were just so good,” says Mikkelson. “He was the captain and the main reason they won, I’m just not sure if I can accurately give an accurate value on his worth to the line because it was so long ago.”
As for going forward, this is the second straight summer that will serve as a swan song for a Yankee great. Last year, future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera celebrated his farewell tour, which turned into a media circus as the regular season came to a close.
New York finished 13-14 in the final month of the schedule, with Rivera making 11 appearances, and placed third in the American League East at 85-77. The attention Rivera brought to the field may have served as a distraction, but this is New York we’re talking about.
“Jeter’s retirement on other teams would be a distraction. For the Yankees, it is just what comes with playing on the Yankees,” says Mikkelson. “It’s hard to say how it will affect the Yankees. Some will say it is a distraction, others will say the Yankees will do anything possible to send Jeter out a winner.”
The Yankees’ season win total heading into Jeter’s final year is set at 83.5 while the Bronx Bombers are +1,200 underdogs to send him out on top with a World Series.