Just like Hal Steinbrenner warned, this could get ugly. The Yankees seem set to play hardball with Derek Jeter and are preparing to make their first offer expected to be about three-years and $45 million.
The expectation is the Yankees will offer something in the three-year, $45 million range, which will create some negotiating room to climb toward $57 million to $60 million on a three-year deal or perhaps go to a fourth-year option or a straight fourth year as a way to reach a settlement. Of course, that is assuming Jeter finds that range acceptable.
“The will is there to get it done,” Yankees president Randy Levine said. “And I believe there is a way.”
The Post reported Wednesday that Yankee officials told Jeter in a face-to-face meeting last week that they intend to pay him based mostly on what he is worth as a player and not based on his historic/iconic meaning to the organization.
Levine essentially corroborated that by saying, “Everything he is and who he is gets factored in. But this isn’t a licensing deal or commercial rights deal, he’s a baseball player. With that said, you can’t take away who he is. He brings a lot to the organization and we bring a lot to him.”
Levine added, “He’s a baseball player and we are doing a negotiation with a baseball player. A lot goes into a negotiation with a player. But this isn’t the same negotiation as 10 years ago (when Jeter signed for $189 million). It is a different time, a different place and a different stage.”
The Yankees have also let it be known publicly that Jeter is free to test the free agent market. By doing this they are assuming that there won’t be any teams out there willing to match even this low-ball offer from the Yankees.
“All I can say is we think he’s a great Yankee, we think he’s been a great Yankee and we’ve been great for him and this is the best place for him,” Levine said. “But he’s a free agent and he’s allowed to test the market and do whatever he wants.”
This is slightly risky though, but ultimately may be a smart move because if no other teams can even come close to their offer it will look decent by comparison. Then they can up it slightly, maybe throw in a few perks, and hopefully land Jeter on their terms.
Strap in though, because it’s going to take a while for all of this to play out. Some fans have already been complaining that this is taking too long, but it isn’t unrealistic to expect this to take until Christmas.