It's becoming more and more possible that the unthinkable might happen next season: Derek Jeter could show up on opening day in a uniform other than that of the New York Yankees. Jeter, the Yankees starting shortstop since 1996 - a total of 15 seasons - will reportedly not be offered arbitration by the Yankees this year. That means that if he doesn't accept what is alleged to be a 3 year $45M deal from the Yankees, he can walk and start looking elsewhere. It's hard to even picture it to be perfectly honest with you. Jeter, the Yankee captain, sits at 2926 hits, needing just 74 to reach 3000. Is it possible he'll reach that milestone with another franchise? It's true that last season was a down year for him. Jeter batted just .270 and recorded his lowest OPS since his rookie year in 1995. Still, it's not as though he suddenly turned into Steve Jeltz. Last season snapped a streak of 5 years hitting at least .300 (including .334 in 2009). His 30 doubles were the most he's had in a season since 2007 and his 111 runs were the most he's scored in a season since 2006. It's no question that the 36 year old isn't the player he once was, and he certainly isn't due the money he got in his last contract (10 years at $189M), but the guy is undoubtedly the face of the franchise and the epitome of what it is to be a New York Yankee. A consummate winner and team player, his value goes way behind the boxscore. Remember this play against Boston in 2004?
Jeter vs Boston
How about this one against the A's in the 2001 ALDS?
Jeter vs Oakland
Neither one of those plays showed up in the boxscore the next day, but both show just exactly what he means to the Yankees. As a fan of the game, one would hope that the two sides figure out a way to work this out. Almost nobody will be satisfied if Jeter suits up as a Washington National in 2011.