You may remember how Derek Jeter’s contract negotiation with the Yankees in the 2010-2011 offseason was pretty contentious. Jeter was asking the Yankees for a four- to six-year deal in the $22-$24 million a year range. His agent, Casey Close, said that the Yankees were lowballing him and at one point Close described the Yankees’ negotiating strategy as “baffling.” They eventually reached a deal in early December for three years and $51 million with an option and some incentives. It was Jeter’s last contract with the Yankees.
This week Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price reports that, at the time, things got even more blunt that we knew. According to Sports Illustrated, this went down during a face-to-face meeting between Cashman and Jeter:
“Who would you rather have playing shortstop this year than me?” Jeter asked Cashman. “Do you really want me to answer that?” Cashman replied. Jeter told him to go ahead, and he listed Tulowitzki, then the Rockies’ shortstop who was in the midst of his first All-Star campaign. “We’re not paying extra money for popularity,” he added, “We’re paying for performance.”
Which, objectively, makes all sorts of sense. As a matter of ego-management, however, it was dreadful, and Price reports that Cashman and Jeter’s relationship never recovered, even if a deal was reached.
Some existential questions arise out of this regarding the level of “respect” a player who is past his prime deserves and, for that matter, whether the truth is more respectful than blowing smoke up their hind end.