3. Will Derek Jeter Play Himself Into a Contract Extension?
Sure, he doesn't become a free agent until after next year, when he'll be 39, but the Captain signed a three-year/$51 million deal after having a subpar 2010 season; this year he's leading the AL in hits, and having one of his best statistical seasons since the mid-'00s. Along with Curtis Granderson, he's been the lone source of hitting consistency for the Yanks, who elsewhere feature a lot of over-priced, under-producing stars.
The Complex Crystal Ball Says... Quiet as kept, Jeter is one of the gulliest athletes in sports history—and he's beloved, too, a combination that the Yankee front office surely hates. He's up there with Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio and Mantle on the list of greatest Yankees now. He didn't give the squad a hometown discount two years ago, and if he's putting up an OPS in the .840 range for the rest of the year, you can bet his agents will be readying a dizzying negotiating blitz for next year's offseason.