The obligatory Jeter Post
I’m sure you all know the story by now.
First, the Yankees offered free-agent Derek Jeter a three-year deal worth $45 million. Then, his agent, Casey Close, called the offer baffling and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told his shortstop to test the market. Reports soon surfaced that the Yankees 36-year-old captain wanted $150 million for six years. After that, Close denied those reports and said they were seeking a four- or five-year deal worth $23-$24 million per. And here we stand today, with no end in sight.
I really can’t say I’m surprised at this contract impasse. The Yankees let Babe Ruth — the greatest player ever — finish out his career in a Boston Braves uniform. They also low-balled two other iconic Yankees in contract negotiations — Joe DiMaggio in 1938 and Mickey Mantle in 1959. As good as he’s been and as much as he’s meant to the franchise, what puts Derek Jeter on a higher pedestal than these Hall of Famers?
My take on this is that Jeter’s not getting a better deal from any other team in MLB so he should accept the offer. (Although I’m surprised the Red Sox haven’t jumped in to drive up his price.) Plus, does he really think he’ll be able to play short for more than three seasons, if that? As usual, I blame Alex Rodriguez and his albatross of a contract (which runs through age 42) for this whole mess.
Jeter — who is coming off a 10-year, $189 million deal which doesn’t include endorsements and the $16.5 million he made in his first five seasons — did have a down season in 2010, by “Jeterian” standards, but was still fourth among AL shortstops in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) at 2.5 and won a Gold Glove (though it’s debatable whether or not he deserved it). But does that really constitute a raise from the $22.6 million he made in 2010?
Don’t get it twisted, I definitely want the Yanks to re-sign Jeet, I think he can still play and offers a lot with his bat and glove, but I don’t think the team should be held hostage with negotiations.
If Jeter is really gung ho about not taking the team’s first offer, I would have no problems with them giving him a four-year deal (with an option for a fifth) worth around $72 million, or even a little less with incentives to make it worth what he’s asking.
Regardless of what they give him, I want them to get a deal done. The Yanks don’t have too many other options at short and the free agent class is weak at the position.