Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jeter Disappointed by Yankees Use of Financial Restraint

According to Mike Lupica, Derek Jeter is rather unhappy with the way contract negotiations have been progressing.  His agent Casey Close called it "baffling".  Why?  The Yankees have been holding tight on their 3 year $45M contract offer.  All along, Close has argued that Jeter's value extends beyond the numbers and on field contributions.  Based on the quote from Lupica's piece, that hasn't changed.
“There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats,” said agent Casey Close.  “And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling.  They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”
If I were Jeter's agent, I'd say the same thing.  Really, I'd say just about anything to get people to forget I was representing a 36 year old shortstop that just hit .270/.340/.370 (.320 wOBA), while playing below average defense.  While Jeter's value to the Yankees does extend past statistics, that additional value only exists for the Yankees.  The funny thing about these negotiations is that if the player in question wasn't named Derek Jeter, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.  His contract would be similar to the one Marco Scutaro received from the Red Sox last year (2 years $10M with a third year option).  Based on the numbers and his age, it's possible Jeter's performance will continue to rapidly deteriorate, thus potentially making his next contract an albatross hanging around the Yankees necks.  It's understandable as to why the Yankees would want to tread carefully.  In reality, it's pretty ridiculous that he's disappointed he'll only be paid $15M over the next three seasons, especially since there's reason to believe he doesn't deserve it. 

That said, the player in question is named Derek Jeter.  For better or worse, there's an aura that surrounds him.  He's going to get paid for that mystique.  The only questions that remain are (1) how much will he be paid for his intangible qualities, and (2) how these negotiations will affect Jeter's long term relationship with the franchise.  If his contract continues to get played out in the media, it could get really ugly.

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