But once the admiration portion of the program was complete, Yankee officials also made sure to tell Jeter it is their intention to offer him a baseball contract. Period.I'm very happy to see that the Yankees are being smart about this. Jeter? Well he's apparently playing the typical greedy athlete role very well. Here's some more news from Wallace Matthews:
GM Brian Cashman would not discuss the particulars of that meeting, saying, “In fairness to the process, I am not talking about [the negotiations] it in any way.”
But confidants of Cashman said the GM is determined not to have the team get so lost in the past that it destroys the future by giving Jeter a contract that either lasts way beyond his effectiveness and/or overpays him to such a degree that hurts financial flexibility elsewhere.
That is why, the confidants say, Cashman decided to have a face-to-face, turning-the-page meeting with Jorge Posada in Manhattan to tell the longtime catcher that the plan is to go with youngsters behind the plate and that Posada is now viewed as a DH. And it is why, the confidants say, he essentially played bad cop with Posada’s pal, Jeter, at a meeting that also was attended by Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine and Jeter’s agent, Casey Close.
Cashman detailed the organization’s long-term concerns about where Jeter’s offense and defense may be going. The Yankees are willing to add some dollars beyond what they see as strictly Jeter’s on-field value to honor his status as an icon.
This is the crux of the slow movement on the Jeter negotiations. The sides agreed to reconnect later this week after the GM Meetings. But unless there is a softening on either side, we could be a few chapters into one of the most interesting games of contract chicken in history.
Sources tell me the Yankees aren;t so concerned with how much they pay Jeter per year, but the want him to take a three-year deal knowing his last day as a shortstop could be as close as a year away. Late Tuesday night, a person who has been close to the Steinbrenners for years told me, "This thing should have been settled by now, only Jeter's ego is getting in the way.''I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to realize that even a 3-year deal for Jeter is still too long. Jeter should just be grateful the Yankees even want to give him that.
If I were Cashman I'd offer Jeter a two-year deal for $30 million and tell him that's my final offer. I'd also remind him that if he doesn't take the deal he's going to hurt his legacy, which he would if he leaves New York and the Yankees. Jeter needs to realize he's a 36-year-old shortstop who just came off his worst season ever. He has no leverage in this situation.