“I know our fans are very emotional and that’s what we love about them,” Steinbrenner said. “But I’ve got to do my job on behalf of the partnership and our partners and everybody else involved in the organization. [Brother and co-chariman] Hank and I need to keep a level head and realize that we’re running a business here. We have to remain somewhat objective and we’re going to do that.”
So it’s a business now, is it Hal? I do believe he has a more level head than his father and definitely better than his brother Hank, but the “we’re running a business here” stuff only works if you are playing fair with a guy like Jeter or Rivera. If you’re nickel-and-diming those guys and trot out that line, we the fans are going to skewer you and that’s a promise. You want to use that line with the Johnny Damons of the world, cool. Just treat these two with respect; they’ve earned it.
As far as the remaining objective part…just like in that ARod opt-out/renegotiation? Just ask Hank how that worked out when he was running the ship. Keeping a level head should mean locking Hank in a closet. Or muzzling him, as I wrote in one of my earliest blog postings. Moving on…
So what’s the right number to start at, for either side? If I am Casey Close, Jeter’s agent, I start at his 2010 salary: $21 million. If I am Cashman and the Yankees, I start around $12 million or so, knowing damn well I’m preparing to march further north than William Tecumseh Sherman ever did. Close will ask for five years; Yankees three. I’ve said for a while that I think the base salary lands around the 3 years, $45 million ($15m per) range, along with expected kickers for milestones and such. I’d add a option that vests upon something like games played. I’d also add a lifetime services contract that pays him some $3-5 million per year to be seen around the park. FanGraphs crowdsourced this one and the results were right in line with my guesstimate. Some smart folks think Jeter will earn plenty? Others guessed close to this as well.
Let’s say that the estimate above is at least in the ballpark of what Jeter might actually sign for. It does, in my opinion, also represent what will surely be the largest offer out there. The Angels are not going to top this. Neither will the RedSox, or Tigers, or Twins, etc. I don’t think there is some “mystery team” out there who sees Derek Jeter as a $20 million/year player any more. Way back in 2008, I called the Jason Varitek contract battles with Boston a proxy for this upcoming Jeter battle. Two years later, there are some things in that posting which can now viewed as silly and fairly off-base/naive, but the thrust remains:
But I am hopeful, optimistic, homer-iffic in thinking that Jeter/Close won’t be looking for a 6 year deal at age 37. But there is a part of me that fears they will and fears more that Hank & Hal will be too scared not to relent. If Jeter wants to retire a Yankee and only play for this team his entire career, he’s going to have to adapt to the changing needs of the team and the changing level of his performance.
To me, anything over the $15m/year times three years is ultimately bidding against yourself. If Jeter signs a five year, $100 million dollar contract, it will only prove to me that the Steinbrenner boys cannot hold their own at the negotiating table. Let’s make one thing clear: Jeter and the Yankees just concluded what will likely go down in baseball history as the most successful ten-year contract ever. Jeter generated 43.1 WAR over that period, which is remarkable. I don’t think either side would say they didn’t get their value out of the 10 year, $189 million dollar transaction. The question is: Will both sides be able to say the same at the end of this last transaction?
I hope so.
FOR MORE OF JETER/CONTRACT READING, CLICK HERE.