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Derek Jeter and The Best Biggest-Contract-in-Franchise-History

There are plenty of articles out there speculating on what Jeter is worth to the Yankees now.  But let's take a minute to consider what Jeter has been worth to the Yankees over the 10 years of his then franchise record deal.

The biggest contracts in franchise history:

Player Team Year Dollars
Arod Yankees 2008-17 275M
Arod Rangers 2001-10 252M
Jeter Yankees 2001-10 189M
Mauer Twins 2011-18 184M
Manny Red Sox 2001-08 160M
Miggy Tigers 2008-15 152M
Helton Rockies 2003-11 141M
Santana Mets 2008-13 137M
Soriano Cubs 2007-14 136M

It's not hard to see how big contracts go South in a hurry- sign a large, immobile, aging slugger to an expensive deal for a couple years too long, and enjoy the results.

Soriano has already been benched a couple times for his sieve glove and his ~.310 OBP.

Johan Santana's fastball as slowed; his 2009 season ended in elbow surgery, and his 2010 ended in rotator cuff surgery that will keep him off the mound until the middle of next season.

The Rockies have done pretty well with Todd Helton- '08 and '10 are the only seasons his slugging dropped below .475 and his OBP below .400.  Still, the Rockies were having second thoughts when they considered trading him to the Red Sox before the 2007 season.  The front office changed their minds when they offered him an extension before this season, deferring some of his current salary in exchange for 2 more years and $10M.

Miggy only made it 14 games as the Tigers slugging third baseman, but the bat is still strong.  We'll see how he does over the next 5 years.

Manny's bat was good, but his attitude got him traded.

Mauer is in the Miggy category- he looks like he's not going to be the player the team thought they were signing, but they're still getting an all-world talent if he can stay healthy.

Arod's Ranger contract had to be traded, and his hip makes the Yankee contract look like it will be a bust.

That leaves us Derek Jeter: since 2002, Jeter has been worth $151.7M on-field value for the Yankees. During that span, he has earned $162M in salary.  The Yankees have earned more than that in Jeter's landmarks hits, playoff appearances and public good will.

That's not to say the Yankees owe Jeter any more than he's already received, but more to marvel at the Yankees' phenomenal good fortune.  The Yankees could have drafted any of the players on this list, and the public pressure to keep that player a Yankee for life would have been overwhelming.  In Derek Jeter, they lucked into the rare player who remained productive, who stayed healthy, and who stayed clear of controversy for 10 years.