When Derek Jeter grew up, he was a Yankee fan. When the Yankees drafted him and nurtured him through their farm system, it was a dream come true. The Yankees made him proud and made him rich, to the tune of a reported $205 million over 15 seasons. The 10-year, $189 mega-deal is up and he wants to return. The Yankees want him back. So, what’s the problem?
Jeter wants to return at his price and the Yankees want him to return at their price. There doesn’t seem to be much of a gray area between both offers, at least for now. You can normally tell what happens during a negotiation by the way it is reported in the press. The negotiations have been public, but professional. Brian Cashman added some gas to the fire by tempting Jeter to test the market.
Cashman sounds like a car dealer so sure of the deal he has on the table, he encourages you to test drive other cars and confident you will return and take his deal. But, what Cashman fails to realize is there are 29 teams salivating right now. Everyone knows the Cashman’s proposal and every team is immediately checking their budget to see how much they can offer.
Forget what he is worth. That is no longer material because if it was, Jeter would be offered a 3-year, $30 million deal. The back-end of a larger term would not be good value for the money. It probably will not be the same as the rough time the Mets suffered with the final years of the Pedro Martinez deal.
But, if more years are offered by another team, the reason to getting Jeter would be the same as the Mets’ reasons for signing Pedro Martinez after the 2004 season. The Mets were trying to change a culture and propel themselves forward. Mission accomplished. There are 29 other teams out there that can look at that blueprint as a nice example to why overpaying for intangibles is a good idea. The bump at the gate and the merchandising revenue of a chase to 3,000 hits would more than make up for the extra millions shelled out to bring Jeter to town.
The pride of the player and the organization is at stake for the privilege to wear the pinstripes for the rest of Jeter’s career. The pride of Jeter was evident when he refused to cede the shortstop position to Alex Rodriguez when he came aboard in 2004. Rodriguez’s recent contract extension that takes him through 2017 and age 42 is also guiding Jeter here. The pride of Jeter is coming into play again in this case because he may perceive the three-year deal as a slap in the face if the Yankees did not extend him until 2016, which would be Jeter’s age-42 season. The current deal Cashman is proposing only takes Jeter to his 39th birthday.
Do I think a team will offer Jeter more than the 3-year, $45 million deal Cashman and the Yankees are proposing? No. Even if a team does, it would be tough for the Yankees not to at least match the deal, especially if the other suitor is the Red Sox or Mets.
So, for all of the posturing, bad press, and threats from Yankee fans about not attending games or watching games if Jeter is not on the team, rest easy. Jeter will be wearing number 2 and hitting second in the Yankee lineup come April.