If Derek Jeter really wants a six-year, $150-million contract from the New York Yankees, which Bill Madden of the New York Daily News says he does, then Jeter and his agent, Casey Close are delusional. And Jeter is acting in a way I never really thought he could -- selfishly.
The Yankees have reportedly offered Jeter a three-year, $45-million contract -- a pretty nice deal for a 36-year-old shortstop with diminishing range coming off the worst offensive season of his career. Yet, Jeter, who just finished a 10-year, $189-million dollar deal, amazingly seems to think he deserves a raise. In case you flunked math, that contract paid him $18.9 million per season. In this one, he is apparently seeking $25 million annually.
Here is part of Madden's report:
Throughout this process, Close and Jeter have never revealed what they're actually looking for - which is why so many Yankee fans, opposing club officials and nationwide media types are asking: Why are the Yankees treating Jeter this way? But sources close to the Jeter/Close camp have said their starting point was six years, $150 million and that they aren't budging on $25 million per year - which would effectively get the captain about even in annual average salary to Alex Rodriguez, the real benchmark from their standpoint in this negotiation.
The Yankees made no secret of where they were coming from in this negotiation - that it was a baseball negotiation, a business negotiation, and not a public relations and marketing negotiation. Just the same, they structured their offer to be significantly higher in both years and dollars than any 36-year-old shortstop, coming off a season in which he hit a career-low .270 and his OPS dropped 161 points to .710, also a career low, could expect in the open market. They did that because, as everyone knows, Jeter is not just any shortstop. He is an iconic Yankee shortstop, and, as such, the Yankees are prepared to pay him upwards of $2 million more than any middle infielder in baseball today for the next three years. Add the $45 million to the $200 million they've already paid him and, at nearly $250 million, Jeter will have been paid more than any other player in the history of baseball except A-Rod and (when he gets his next deal) Albert Pujols.
It's pretty apparent that what the Yankees chose to pay A-Rod - $275 million over 10 years until 2017 - is at the crux of Jeter's and Close's stance. But the circumstances of that deal - dumb as it was - were vastly different than these with Jeter. A-Rod was only 32, coming off a year in which he'd led the majors in homers (56) and RBI (156) and had not yet revealed he'd been a steroids cheat. He was also going to have plenty of suitors in his pursuit of the all-time home run record - not at those ridiculous numbers, but he was going to get his money - and, in the meantime, the Yankees were facing losing their cleanup hitter.
So what you have here is Jeter and Close telling the Yankees: "Who has meant more to this franchise?" Except that it doesn't work that way.
I guess no one should be surprised that A-Rod is at the center of this storm. I think we should be surprised, though, that Jeter is apparently showing real ego in these negotiations.