I wouldn’t say things haven’t gotten messy, but they’re on their way. Last week Derek Jeter‘s agent called the Yankees negotiations tactics “baffling” and yesterday general manager Brian Cashman responded.
“We do appreciate the contributions he has made to this organization,” Cashman said in an interview with The New York Times. “And Derek Jeter is the person we want playing shortstop.” But, Cashman added, the money in a new contract “ has to be a fair salary” that reflects the fact that Jeter will turn 37 next June.
“We have been very honest and direct with them — meaning Derek and Casey,” he said. “We have told them directly, face to face, how we came up with our offer, and we have made it clear to them that our primary focus is his on-the-field performance.”
A source who spoke with the Times claimed that the sides were “not even in the same ballpark”. Nobody is exactly sure what Jeter’s side is looking for, but that source explained how the Yankees came to their three-year $45 million offer:
As for their offer of $45 million, the Yankees looked for comparisons and singled out Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki, who is 37 and will make $17 million next season; Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins, who will turn 32 this week, plays the same position as Jeter does and will make $8.5 million in 2011; Rollins’s double-play partner, Chase Utley, who will also turn 32 soon and will make $15 million; and Rafael Furcal of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who plays shortstop, is 32, and will make $12 million.
The Yankees also cited Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who turns 27 next month and hit .300 in 2010. He will make $11 million next year, or $4 million less than what the Yankees are offering Jeter. But Close has compared Jeter to Babe Ruth, which helps explain why the talks now seem to be stuck.
So one side is comparing Jeter to his peers and the other side is comparing Jeter to the greatest baseball player of all time. Right. I’m not even saying one side is right and one is wrong, but to say they are far apart on the negotiations might be an understatement.
Things seem like they could get especially messy considering the fact that the Yankees will not be offering Jeter arbitration. That means they are determined to avoid giving him big dollars even on a one-year deal.
At this point the Yankees are probably going to have to give some concessions and increase their offer eventually. But considering the other contracts they’re basing this on it doesn’t seem like they’re going to go up a whole lot.
In contrast it doesn’t seem like Jeter has much leverage here. Unless of course he treatens to leave, but even then he could have a very hard time finding a team to match the Yankees offer.