People can argue until the cows come home about what a fair price for the Yankees to pay Derek Jeter is. (Was there a time when cows routinely left their homes and stayed out late?) In fact, I'm sure many of you will have this discussion on Turkey Day at the dinner table. According to our poll, with over 1,200 votes cast as of this writing, our reader's seem to feel that about $20 million for four or five years is what he'll ultimately get. Here's why they are wrong......
The Yankees are currently offering Jeter $15 million for three years. What is their incentive to up the offer? Exactly what leverage does Jeter have? I know he's the face of the franchise and the Yankees and their fans want him back to finish his career for as many off the field reasons as they do on the field, but what I'm asking is, who would pay Jeter more than $15 million for three years? It's simply supply and demand. If there is no team willing to pay Jeter more, what can he use to drive up the price? Would he hold out? Frankly, that would look worse for Jeter than it would for the Yankees. The fans know that no one else would pay Jeter more, and it's not like any of the fans would be taking up a collection for the guy if he "was forced" to accept $45 million for three years.
The argument for people who say that Jeter will get the contract he's looking for is based largely on the fact that A-Rod is locked up into his 40's. Derek may be the Yankee captain and a winner both on and off the field, but let's call it how it is, Derek Jeter never was and isn't now, the offensive player that Alex Rodriguez is. Rodriguez was even the better defensive player when they both played the same position.
Forgetting the A-Rod comparison, people will point to the fact that A.J. Burnett will earn $16.5 million at age 36 in the final year of his contract and it would be an insult for Jeter to make less per year than Burnett at their same age. I guess you can look at it that way, but from the Yankees standpoint, they realize that they have a bad contract with Burnett. Does that mean that because they made that mistake, they should be obligated to make another? For where I sit, if I'm the Yankees I don't feel too badly insulting the man to the tune of $45 million over three years.
Last week we discussed Jeter negotiating with or going to the dreaded Boston Red Sox. As funny as that may sound, is there anything besides that threat that he could hang over the Yankees head that would make them pay him more and or longer? I don't think so.
The Yankees are playing hardball, they say it's simply good business. They are 100% correct and from a pure business negotiating standpoint, they are doing the correct thing. If I'm Derek Jeter's agent Casey Close I pick up the phone and call Theo Epstein and say, ask him to make Jeter an offer. From Epstein's standpoint, what does he have to lose? If nothing else, even if Jeter had no intentions of ever actually going to Boston, he would get the Yankees to spend more money. And from an on the filed standpoint, forget the Yankee / Red Sox thing, Jeter a better player than Marco Scutaro, even at his current age.
If Derek Jeter wants more years and or more money, the prospects of him signing with the Red Sox is the only way he will get it. It's not like this hasn't happened before as you will recall, beloved Yankee, Bernie Williams, used this very technique and was in fact just hours away from actually signing with the Sox had the Yankees not upped their offer. Yankee fans knew what Williams was doing, he was trying to get the most money possible just like you or I would do. No one ever held that against Bernie, not then and not now, and it won't be long before he's have his number retired along with other Yankee immortals.
To the parties involved, this is a business and everyone has to do whatever they have to do. Derek Jeter is one of those parties and if he's going to attempt to play the game of hardball with the Yankees, this is the only way he can win. - Mike Cardano
Mike is the founder of Around the Horn Baseball & Xtra Point Football.
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