As baseball's Winter Meetings approach and the Orioles begin looking to upgrade their roster, they need to do something bold to build on the buzz created by hiring Buck Showalter.
They need to sign Derek Jeter.
The Orioles have many holes -- first base, third base, veteran starting pitching and the bullpen. But they also need a shortstop. More importantly, they need a leader.
They need Derek Jeter.
Sure, he's 36 and will turn 37 during the 2011 season. But he's durable, playing at least 150 games the past seven seasons. His batting average fell from .334 to .270 and his home run total dropped by eight to just 10. But he drove in 67 runs and won a Gold Glove. He's no Cesar Izturis defensively, but he's solid and his hitting numbers crush those of Izturis.
Jeter also would bring five World Series titles, command respect in the locker room and show a young Orioles team how to play the game. The future Hall of Famer is 74 hits from 3,000. If there is one thing the Orioles do well, it's milestone ceremonies.
If the Yankees are willing to let Jeter test the free-agency market, then the Orioles should be there with an offer, somewhere in the four-year, $60 million range. Really, whatever it takes. Ask Cal Ripken Jr. to help recruit him. And then, because you have a shortstop who does more than hit singles, you can maybe re-sign Ty Wigginton to play third or first and still be able to spend decent money for another corner infielder.
It would be a PR disaster for the Yankees, it would hurt them on the field and maybe, just maybe, his signing would send a signal to other free agents that Baltimore is a great place to play.
Imagine Showalter and Ripken holding a No. 2 Orioles jersey with Jeter on the back as they announce the signing. They couldn't print tickets fast enough at Camden Yards.
Yeah, I know he's a Yankee, and Orioles fans hate the Yankees. But they hate losing even more. What better way to end years of futility than signing one of the all-time great leaders and winners in the sport?
Would he consider playing for the Orioles? It's time to find out.
The Orioles need to sign Derek Jeter.