Jeter may be the ultimate team guy, but two former teammates believe that when it comes to getting paid, his pride will demand that he get something approaching A-Rod money, regardless of what he hits this season.I think the Yankees and Jeter will end up agreeing to a 4-year deal worth anywhere from $80-$100. Hopefully, much closer to $80. A $20 million dollar a year contract is pretty good for a guy that only deserves $10.
"It's up to (the Yankees)," one former player said. "Knowing Jeet, he's not going to let an off-year, if it turns out to be an off-year, play a role in what he thinks he should get paid. He just doesn't think like that. He'll be more convinced than ever that he'll come back and hit .330 next year."
The second former teammate essentially agreed.
"The question is whether (Brian) Cashman and the others think this is the start of a decline," he said. "And if so, are they going to factor it into the negotiations or just pay him for being the face of the franchise all these years? Knowing Derek, he'll say all the right things, but he won't give an inch based on his numbers this season."
Obviously the Yankees won't want to go to war with Jeter, knowing it likely would be a PR nightmare.
"They're in a tough spot," one prominent agent said Tuesday. "Because the way he's hitting, the gap between his true value as an old shortstop without power and his Yankee-legend value is so enormous, I'm not sure how you bridge that gap without causing some hard feelings."
But wouldn't it be refreshing to see an athlete who has made hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of his career leave money on the table for the betterment of the only team he's ever played for? I mean if winning truly is the only thing that matters, that's the thing to do, right?
This reminds me of a story about Ted Williams: After the 1959 season, the first sub-.300 season of Williams' career, GM Bucky Harris (or owner Tom Yawkey) offered him a deal for $125K for the 1960 season. It was the same as he made in 1959, and by all accounts a fair deal. But Williams wouldn't sign it and insisted that the his salary be cut from $125,000 to $90,000. That was the only way he'd sign because he felt he didn't play up to his contract the year before.
If Jeter did the same thing, or something even more significant, I'm sure Brian Cashman could figure out a few good ways to use the extra scratch.
Sadly, that's not the world we live in and even a guy as respected as Jeter won't make that kind of concession. His ego is far too big for that.