Negotiations with Jeter Might Not be so Great After All

Yesterday the AP caught up with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner who told them that they have been having discussions with Derek Jeter and his agent and things were going well.

Apparently that may not be the case.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, things may not be going as smoothly as Hal would have us believe:

GM Brian Cashman would not discuss the particulars of that meeting, saying, “In fairness to the process, I am not talking about [the negotiations] it in any way.”

But confidants of Cashman said the GM is determined not to have the team get so lost in the past that it destroys the future by giving Jeter a contract that either lasts way beyond his effectiveness and/or overpays him to such a degree that hurts financial flexibility elsewhere.

That is why, the confidants say, Cashman decided to have a face-to-face, turning-the-page meeting with Jorge Posada in Manhattan to tell the longtime catcher that the plan is to go with youngsters behind the plate and that Posada is now viewed as a DH. And it is why, the confidants say, he essentially played bad cop with Posada’s pal, Jeter, at a meeting that also was attended by Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine and Jeter’s agent, Casey Close.

Cashman detailed the organization’s long-term concerns about where Jeter’s offense and defense may be going. The Yankees are willing to add some dollars beyond what they see as strictly Jeter’s on-field value to honor his status as an icon.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY heard something similar:

And last week, when a source told me the Yankees would “overpay” for Jeter, he didn’t mean they were happy about it. Sources tell me the Yankees aren’t so concerned with how much they pay Jeter per year, but the want him to take a three-year deal knowing his last day as a shortstop could be as close as a year away. Late Tuesday night, a person who has been close to the Steinbrenners for years told me, “This thing should have been settled by now, only Jeter’s ego is getting in the way.”

So this deal is actually going how both sides expected, difficult. They both want it to happen smoothly, but its complicated. Although they seemed to pass it off to the media that things were going well because it is in both sides’ interest that the perception is that things are going smoothly.

For the Yankees, they risk pissing off their fans for seemingly disrespecting The Captain and fan favorite for at least 15 years now. For Jeter, he risks pissing off the companies he advertises with. After all, most of what they are paying for his his status of an loyalty and class. If public perception of becomes that he is greedy searching for every last dollar it could hurt future endorsements.

So while yesterday’s and possibly future reports may see the sides passing this off as amicable in reality it could turn into a dogfight.

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