Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated is a lot of things, but this is a great take on the upcoming contract negotiations with Derek Jeter.
Derek Jeter will be back as a Yankee next season, and for more seasons after that. Of course he will. Doesn’t matter whether he’s hitting .264 today. Or .364. Or .164.
Jeter will be back with the Yankees because they want him back, he surely wants to be back and no other team will likely compete with the Yankees financially for him. Oh, there’ll be interest in him as a free agent, all right. And while some teams may want to make a big splash with a monster Hall-of-Fame name, everyone assumes (and rightly so) that no one can beat the Yankees for Jeter.
“He’s worth more to them than anyone else,” one AL executive said.
Another AL exec, who agreed with that assessment, guessed Jeter’s worth $12-to-$18 million over two years based on his current stats but speculated he could get maybe $30 million for three years from a team trying to make that splash (though, that exec honestly conceded he tends to guess low — it is a management perspective, after all, and I would agree that that sounds a bit light).
The exec also said he could see the Yankees going to $45 million to $50 million over three years, in part because they can.
Fifty million over three years actually sounds like a very informed, reasonable current estimate for Jeter. But who knows? That still represents a pay cut from the average salary of $18.9 million of his current contract, and 2010 salary of $21 million.
If that sounds high, remember that Jeter is an alltime Yankee, the Yankees understand his place in the clubhouse and, more importantly, they know his place in Yankees lore. In no way do they want to risk him going elsewhere. The Yankees also recall that Jeter has gone to the mat with them on contract talks, beaten them in arbitration and once made an extra $70 million after George Steinbrenner nixed a $118.5-million deal that was nearly in place before he signed for $189 million a year later.
This won’t necessarily go easily. But it will get done.
Yankees bosses view Jeter not just in terms of only his stats but in terms of history. There are no active peers in those categories. As a Yankee great, he now ranks somewhere in the group with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.
The Yankees won’t hand Jeter a blank check, but there’s no chance the historic franchise is about to nickel and dime an icon, either. The Yankees are the one team that can afford to pay iconic players for their past greatness. They are also the one team that doesn’t view all of its players though only a current business prism, and that’s because the Yankees’ business is so good it doesn’t have to look at things the normal way. Jeter and Mariano Rivera are two such players.
Jeter’s worst offensive season to date has to have some effect on the contract negotiations, though. It will mean he won’t approach the original estimates of the contract. Of course, those were only estimates since no negotiations are known even now to have taken place (the policy is to wait, after all).
Early speculation (some of it here) had Jeter possibly trying for a contract that could keep him a Yankee until he’s 42, like Alex Rodriguez. Others guessed that $100 million over four years could get it done, or maybe $125 million over five years, which is the very amount his agent Casey Close received for another of his famous clients — Ryan Howard.
There is more to that article so read on if you’d like, but I think that all that needs to be said is right there.
MLB Trade Rumors recently conducted a poll and asked readers how much they thought Jeter would sign for. The majority of readers said $50 million or less. For those that follow the Yankees know that if that actually happened it would huge win for the Yankees because whatever happens this offseason, Jeter is going to get paid.