If we told you that a 36-year-old free agent shortstop with poor range defensively and a .270/.340/.370 batting line in 2010 felt slighted at a three-year, $45 million contract offer, you’d call us crazy, right?
Fine, we’re nuts.
According to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, the agent for veteran shortstop Derek Jeter is hoping for more years and far more money than what the Yankees’ most recent contract proposal will provide.
Why? Because his client is a legend in pinstripes and because his value to the franchise goes beyond his contributions on the field. Yup, that’s the sales pitch.
“There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats,” said agent Casey Close. “And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling. They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”
The Yankees undoubtedly recognize that Jeter is an important part of the club’s past and present. It’s why they made him such a generous three-year offer — the kind of offer that he wouldn’t come close to landing on the open market.
A former general manager told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York in October that Jeter is worth no more than $12 million over the next two seasons. That might sound like a stretch, but it’s not far off if we’re just talking about on-field value. Middle infielders don’t age well and Jeter showed real signs of wear and tear this past season.
Reports last week had Jeter seeking a contract of at least four years and preferably five or six. A deal is going to get done between the two sides — that’s pretty much a sure thing — but it’s become apparent that negotiations are not going to be completely pleasant and that “the captain” is not going to be handed a blank check.