We haven’t had any new twists or turns in the Derek Jeter negotiations for, like, 18 hours, and frankly I’m starting to get the shakes. So, in the absence of anything happening at the moment, let us review how we got to where we are, figure out where things stand, and figure out where we’re going from here:
- Jeter initially asked for for six years, $150 million.
- Jeter came down to something like $22-24 million a year over four or five years, leaving the parties something like $65-75 million apart.
- Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, called the Yankees’ negotiating strategy “baffling.”
- Brian Cashman invited Jeter to test the market if he doesn’t like the offers he’s getting.
- Casey Close double-dog-dared Cashman to put his tongue on a flag pole (note: may not have actually happened, but would not be at all surprising).
- There have been conflicting reports on whether the Yankees are willing to go higher than their $45 million offer. The most generous ones have them willing to maybe add $5 million to the deal. Others have them holding the line and demanding that Jeter “drink the reality potion.” No matter which of those reports you believe, it’s clear that there remains a tremendous gulf between the team and the player.
- That gulf has given bloggers and columnists all kinds of free space to speculate wildly. Some say that Jeter should get everything he wants because he’s indispensable to “The Yankee Brand.” Of course they’re insane. Some think the Giants should swoop in, and the Giants apparently inquired, but are not interested, at least at these prices. Dan Shaughnessy thinks the Red Sox should give Jeter $60 million. Of course, he’s more insane than the “Yankee Brand” people.
There have been no talks for a week, partially because of Thanksgiving I assume, but also because everyone likely feels the need to cool it. That may change soon, however, as Eric Boland and Ken Davidoff are reporting that the Yankees want to restart talks with Jeter this week in the hopes of making some progress and squelching some of the breathless speculation in the runup to the Winter Meetings. Of course, there are even conflicts on that, as the Post is reporting that the Yankees are going to move on to other business first. Personally I believe Davidoff because he’s a better reporter than George King, but really, your guess is as good as mine.
For all of the drama, I still believe one thing: Jeter will stay with the Yankees. He will do so at a contract that is far closer to what the Yankees are offering than what he’s currently asking, because there is simply no logical basis for what he’s currently asking and no hope that he can do better elsewhere.
I believe that the Yankees do have some work to do, however, and it’s this: finding a way to gussy-up the $45 million offer to make it look a bit better than it is so that Jeter can save face. Which is something that the Yankees likely do have an interest in doing. Not a giant one — they probably won’t give him $20 million more for P.R. purposes — but if Jeter can come out of this by saying “hey, it was a negotiation, we gave some, they gave some,” it’s the best thing for everyone. To the extent negotiations get humming soon, that will be their focus, I believe.
But let’s hope it drags on some more. Because this has been a laugh riot so far.