Which is more insane? The Steinbrenner/Cashman camp essentially saying that Jeter is worthless to any other team, or the Jeter squad coming out today asking for 6 years at 150 million?
Any Jeter fan will say this: It’s hard to choose.
Up until now, I have always been on Jeter’s side. I was on his side (remarkably) when he dated Mariah Carey for two years. I was on his side when he thought dating a Miss Universe would end well (The math would never add up. The most high-profile athlete in the world’s largest market, dating one of the most famous and sought-after women in the world? It is hard to believe that Jeter, in all of his infinite, Jeterian wisdom, would ever think that this would work). I was on his side when in 2002, partying was all the rage in the Jeter camp (Steinbrenner obviously overreacted on this one, like he did with every minor issue that ever affected the Yankees. It was the middle of December, George, not the middle of September. Look how cool I am, talking back to a dead guy). I was even on his side when this year, Jeter pulled an A-Rod and did something frowned upon in most baseball circles, when he pretended to be hit by a pitch. This was the umps fault, because he didn’t realize that if the sound that occured when the ball hit the end of Jeter’s bat actually hit his body, Jeter would have broken every bone in his wrist.
But asking for one hundred and fifty million dollars, a year after you dropped a .270/.340/.370 split, is absurd. If this is how Jeter is really thinking, how do you think he reacted to the original offer of 3 years/$45 million? He probably thought the Yankees were literally kidding, if this is how much he thinks he is worth.
Originally, I thought the Yankees would go 3 years/$65 million, with a club option for a 4th year. Now this would obviously be overpaying Jeter by about $10-15 million a year. But this is a guy who made $19 million last year, and a paycut would not really be in the question. The Yankees should have known that they should pay Jeter decently for his contributions for the last 15 years, because if they didn’t, they would be dealing with a guy who holds some of the iciest grudges in sports. (Remember the Jeter-ARod feud? It all started because of this quote A-Rod gave to Esquire Magazine in 2001:
"He's never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. And he hits second—that's totally different than third and fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie and O'Neill. You never say, Don't let Derek beat you. He's never your concern."
Okay, that is pretty bad, and I probably would have punched A-Rod in his fat face after this. But the Yankees should know what Jeter is capable of).
If the Yankees had just treated Jeter like they always have treated everyone else, none of this never would have happened. Now, the Yankees are facing a situation similar to the one where Yogi Berra did not return to Yankee Stadium for 25 years. Good times.
The root problem of all this is the complete incompetence of those on the top of the New York Yankee totem pole. Everyone seems to forget, Hal/Hank Steinbrenner are their father, minus the business savvy and desire to win. What have they ever done that has been good for the franchise? Create a stadium designed for the top one percent, one that no average (real) fan can enjoy? Take the enjoyment out of the Yankees?
Then there is Brian Cashman, whose resemblance to Chicken Little is not doing him any favors when he tries to act big around Jeter. His asinine signings in the 2000’s almost brought the Yankees to the ground (Anyone who says he was under pressure from Steinbrenner is way off. Steinbrenner may have died last year, but his days of ruling all aspects of the Yankees ended at the end of the 1990’s).
Let’s analyze what the stooges have had to say regarding Jeter:
"As much as we want to keep everybody, we've already made these guys very, very rich, and I don't feel we owe anybody anything monetarily, Some of these players are wealthier than their bosses."
Well, the first part is true. Jeter is one of the most wealthy professional athletes of all time. Maybe they don’t owe him anything monetarily, they have given him a lot (I don’t feel this way, but an argument can be made in Hank’s case).
The thing that drives me nuts about this statement is the part where Hank says “Some…players are wealthier than their bosses”.
Is Hank trying to make people feel bad for him? Why is he acting like a lowly servant in this case?
Earth to Hank: Your wealthy dad gave you one of the most lucrative sports franchises in the world. Your father has given you all of your wealth and happiness. You’ve never had to work for anything in your life. Don’t act like your be jibbed by the Jeter deal. Don’t pull that card, you arrogant blowhard. What Yankee fan likes you? You have the same annoying audacity as your father, but without of the skills and determination that made Yankee fans at least respect him. I may dislike your brother who is in charge of the Yankees, but I am so thankful that he was born so you would not run the Yankees into the ground (I said this when I was “What are you thankful for?” at Thanksgiving)
"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account. We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."
No, Brian you obviously don’t understand his contributions.
(Fun Fact: At Yankee Stadium, there is a wing that describes all the famous eras in Yankee history. There is the Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle eras. Finally, there is the Jeter Years. You are nickle-and-diming a player who is on your teams Mount Rushmore, essentially).
Cashman, you are attempting to pay Derek only $5 million more than your ingenious response to Daisuke Matsuzaka’s arrival to the Red Sox, Kei Igawa (He is lighting up the minors, that’s for sure!). I would name the list of ridiculous and overpaid signings Cashman has graced Yankee fans with over the years, but I am afraid that my reader(s?) will be overwhelmed by the onslaught of no-names.
Cashman is essentially telling Jeter “See if any other team wants a washed-up shortstop with no range, and we will see you in a month when you come crawling back to us”. Really? You are telling the captain of your team that he sucks, quite frankly.
Cashman has been saved for years by the fact that he has an enormous payroll and can get guys like Sabathia and Teixeira, really without trying. Put him in a smaller market, I guarantee you he would fail miserably. He pretends that he is into the sabermetric-rage that dominates most GM’s today, but his signings of injury-prone Nick Johnson (Twice!) and good-only-if-he-is-in-the-NL Javy Vazquez (Twice!) definitely beg to differ.
Why does he suddenly care about money? Him and Steinbrenner? Are the Yankees suddenly on a budget? What? Saying that they won’t pay Jeter an extra $20-25 million is ridiculous. I am a diehard Yankee fan, and I know that they hold an rigged advantage over the other teams with the absurd amount of money that they produce. They are playing the role of small-market team with their most famous player since Mickey Mantle? Who are they kidding?
After saying all that about Steinbrenner(s) and Cashman, I still do not like Jeter’s latest offer. Both sides need to realize that their offers are too extreme, whether it is too little or too big.
The Yankees owe it to Jeter to overpay him. Jeter owes it to the Yankees to not ask for a ridiculous amount of money. Both sides need to give in to each other, whether they like it or not.
But maybe, perhaps as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News said, the Yankees were so shocked and appalled by Jeter’s insane asking price, they were almost forced to give these statements. Jeter is not worth that anymore, and he is going to have to realize this. That could be the purpose of Cashman’s and Steinbrenner’s seemingly ridiculous statements.
But both sides of done wrong. Even if Steinbrenner and Cashman’s original attempts were to do good, they have embarrassed the face of the franchise. Jeter is making a fool of himself by asking for an astronomical amount a year after the worst season of his career.
My thought: 3 years, $65 million, 4th year option. Not everyone will be happy, but no one will walk away furious.
And don’t offer Javy Vazquez arbitration.
For the love of God, don’t do that.
Brendan O’Hare writes the Attic Fan column for www.theatticfan.blogspot.com and on Yardbarker.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter (@theatticfan). Feel free to leave comments about this post. His NFL Picks for Sunday will be up tomorrow afternoon on Twitter