The lines are being drawn in L’Affaire Jeter

Jeter has long been the golden boy in NY and most of it is well deserved.  Doesn’t get into trouble, nothing embarrassing like kissing mirrors or getting caught with washed-up singers and muscle-y women, or being dragged into any PED discussion.  He refers to his managers as “Mr.”, showing respect.  He’s more of the lead-by-example type, it seems, than the fiery type.  Posada’s that guy.  Jeter hasn’t done some things well, like supporting ARod a few years back when a simple word or two in the papers might have gone a long way*. 

* Please note that while ARod has led the team in embarrassing moments, his last two years have been scandal-free. I’ve been criticized, fairly, for being unduly harsh to ARod over the years. No, I have never been a huge fan of him personally, but I do root for him if for no other reason than he’s on my favorite team. His 2009 season was a revelation. I’ve come around a bit on him since he’s kept his head low and focused on the team and being a solid teammate. This, however, has no impact on the disaster that his contract is and will become over the next 7 years years.

The Yankees have been spending crazy amounts of money on players since Catfish Hunter joined the team in the 70′s.  Good money chasing bad in the 80′s.  A trend towards more tactical, less splashy acquisitions in the 90′s as the farm system paid dividends.  And in the 00′s, spending like madmen to recapture the 90′s vibe. The Yanks overpaid for CC even though he’s been worth it so far.  Burnett, not so much.  And let’s try to forget Igawa, Irabu, Wright, Pavano, etc. But the biggest albatross is the ARod re-signing.  It was so epically bad on so many levels, a huge embarrassment for ownership, namely Hank, who quaterbacked the transaction.  Cashman clearly didn’t want to do that deal but Hank feared that we, the fans, would revolt.  Clearly, Hank had his elbow on the pulse because he misread that one badly.  And now, the ARod deal is coming back to bite the team again, as Jeter looks to that deal and says “why not me?“  I can’t say I disagree with Jeter and his representation because I’d take that same line if I were Jeter’s agent.  However, because of his reportedly excessive demands that are out of whack with the market rates, the perception that Jeter is an unselfish, team-first guy is being tested.

As a result of overpaying for free agents, some Yankee fans want the team to follow suit and pay Jeter whatever he wants.  Others, like me, are hoping a more reasonable contract is struck, if for no other reason than we recognize that there is a cap to this spending and the piper is waiting to be paid, too.  We love Jeter. But making the same mistake as the ARod deal doesn’t make any business sense.  I’m more than willing to overpay his market rate to keep him.  So are the Yankees.  To a point.

Going back to Maddon’s article, I actually read some of the comments, something I never, ever do.  Suffice it to say, the two camps are gaining volunteers. Here’s some of the rants and ravings from just one article (knowing there are countless more to parse through if given time). Pardon the typos and spelling; these are unedited:

  • The Yankees will need a shortstop soon. Over paying Jeter is not smart, but to some extent necessary. The question is how much to over pay him.
  • First of all, some people act like Jeter is a God! This is baseball and no one is bigger than the game! Jeter is going downhill from here on. Enough with this “Leadership” poop about Jeter! Do you honestly think that a true leader will allow himself to be a pebble in a shoe just because of his ego? Don’t kid yourselves…I am sure Girardi thought of batting Jeter in the bottom 3 spots, but did not dare to hurt his Prim donna Short Stop’s feelings! Why should I as a fan have to deal with my team not placing the best product possible in the field just because some of you think that the Yankees “Owe” Jeter something? PEOPLE…He was paid VERY VERY well for his services!
  • Hal pay him you stupid piece of ****, pay the Captain what he wants this is not Varitek we’re dealing with. Dont push me to become a met fan……..Pay this man
  • I keep hearing people say, “pay Jeter whatever he wants”…blah, blah, blah….Jeter has been paid 189 million dollars just from the Yankees alone, never mind the money he has cashed in on because he is on the Yankees…endorsement etc. That man has been paid rather well in my estimation. The fact is, and there is no disputing this, that Jeter has declined significantly over the years and he is getting older. The fact that he won a gold glove this year was absurd. Any rational person would have to agree. He has been paid. People will argue that the Yankees gave ARod the absurd deal so they should do the same with Jeter….the fact is that deal was insane and the Yankees are married to ARod for the rest of his contract.
  • Overpay for the intangibles? The Yankees are about winning and that’s their image and their business is about and that’s what the fans want.
  • Wow I love ho some still talk about respect, tradition, etc. You think this is a sport? It became big business years ago and that’s all this is. #2 has been paid for his services. $15mill for 3 or 4 years is more than generous. Don’t like it – go elsewhere.
  • The ARod contract was stupid. The Yankees are not obligated to repeat that mistake. I actually think the Burnett contract was dumb too. Burnett wasn’t good enough to warrant that kind of a deal. I didn’t like it at the time. For Jeter to really want a $100 million contract, at 5-6 years, is insane. I do hope the Yanks hold the hard line here. If Jeter were 5-6 years younger, then absolutely. But he isn’t. [...] I hate that Jeter is being this way, but if he leaves, it’s HIS fault.
  • Jeter is and has been a “Classy” Yankee in the Tradition of other Yankee greats like DiMaggio, Berra,Gehrig to name a few.They should treat him with respect and Parity. If you accept that the other Athletes are overpaid then so should the Consummate Yankee Player. Who else on the Yankees is as Saymbolic of the Yankee : Class then Derek Jeter. Buy out that failure A.J. Burnett and salvage some money to keep Jeter. They can get a Clown a lot cheaper to put pies in Players faces.Yankee MGt. needs to show some loyalty to those who deserve it.
  • Oh! And don’t even get me started with the A-rod deal! Why is it that whenever Jeter is the subject, some of you brings up A-rod and his contract? Last time I checked, Jeter had signed a mega-million 10 yr contract and the Yankees did not win with him after the signing. NOT UNTIL A-rod came to town!!! You can throw A-rod under the bus for stinking’ up the place during playoffs and praise Jeter for his “Intangibles” and his “Unselfish” play yadda yadda yadda! The FACT is that Jeter could not get it done without Tino, O’Neil and Bernie. Even after the Yankees signed Superstar after Superstar to help Jeter win! It took A-rod…yes even if you hate him, you have to admit it…It took A-rod to finally bring another championship to this side of town! As much as I hate to admit…No A-rod in 2009, No World Series for us!!!
  • Give me a break! How much is enough for these guys? Jeter is in the twilight of his career. He should just stay with the Yankees and accept a three year deal that will net him millions anyway. I don’t think he is hurting for anything. These athletes should have “real” jobs and work like the majority of us. In this struggling economy we don’t know if we will have a job next week, let alone next year.

If you read all of those, bonus points for you.  It’s a small sample but enough of a sample to see that there’s an anti-Jeter sentiment beginning to boil underneath it all, much like a River of  Ectoplasmic Slime

I’m nowhere near there yet because all we have are media snippets; we haven’t heard from Jeter (nor will we).  I only hope that the deal is struck sooner than later and we can all get on with our Hot Stove teeth-gnashing.  I also hope that whatever deal is agreed to is not so big that Jeter can’t live up to it or that it poses problems for the team going forward.  The extra $5m or so per year it will take to keep Jeter is fine by me.  I want him in pinstripes until he retires.   I just want to skip the ugliness and get to the fun stuff.

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UPDATE: Joe P at RAB has a great “what they are saying about Jeter” posting up.  Have a read.

@Jason_IIATMS

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13 thoughts on “The lines are being drawn in L’Affaire Jeter

  1. jay_robertson

    Please, not 5x$20. Which is the number I threw out a few weeks ago, and was roundly trounced for being so unrealistic. Pretty much, was told that Jeter would NEVER ask for such a ridiculous contract.

    Let's hope that is just a rumor, and DJ does NOT want that kind of contract.

  2. First Tenor

    I had a conversation with a fellow rational Yankee fan this morning and to me it boiled down to this: At what point are you OK if he actually walks away? If the Yankees offer 4 years at $72MM and Jeter rejects it an leaves I am OK with that. He does irreparable harm to his image if he rejects that offer and takes a 2/40 offer somewhere else. Not only does he leave the Yankees but he leaves $32MM on the table. If that is what he wants, OK.

    The 3/45 offer was an opening offer. All negotiations involve offers by both sides that they know the other side will reject. That is the point. The Yankees know they will not get him for 3/45 and Jeter's agent knows they are not going to get 5/100. My trusty Victor 1100-2 calculator splits the difference at 4/72.5 If that ends up being the deal it is good for both sides. You can thank me later.

  3. Ben

    I feel like anything over the 3/45 is giving him too much, at the 3/45 you're still probably overpaying him by 10 million dollars that I truly don't believe anyone would come close to. I love Derek Jeter, but he's one player on a team, he does not define how I root for an entire team. If he goes, if they don't resign him, I might be disappointed for a day or so and then move on.

    • Glenn G.

      I like the way you think Ben, mainly because I like to think i have the same opinion on athletes and players as you do…

      … (Ok, Leaving Jeter out of it) What happened when Manny left boston, or Farve left Green Bay, or Lebron left Cleavland (to name a few)? On and ON and ON, sports writers and reporters would comment every game, all year, in both the player's new and old city on the effects of the switch. It's Unescapeable. And then they make the first reuinon back against their old team the World's Most Overhyped Game-Of-The-Year.

      Now imagine them talk about Jeter?
      This blog would have to change it's name to 'IIATJS'
      Sports talk would make it 100 times harder for you to move on.
      Every short stop AB would have announcers playing the game, What Would Jeter Do?

      So i'm hoping he signs again, just to save us from the what ifs. Over the last 10 years, there's been less than a month's worth of Jeter free ageny talk, and it's already more than enough. Hopefully soon, we can all move on.

  4. Brian

    I'd love to see a 4 or 5 year deal so that we don't EVER have to have these types of debates again.

    I don't care about the money per year, it's not MY money. It's the years. I'll live with a 3 year deal but would love to see 4 or 5.

  5. Frank S.

    This continues to be so overblown. This is a negotiation. Jeter wants 4 years, the Yankees want to give gim 3, so he asks for 5 and hopes to split the difference. Same with the money. He wants $17-18M, he knows they're willing to pay $15M, so he asks for $20M. This will get done at 4 years/$17.5 per ($70M). That means the Yanks will have paid exactly $25M more than they wanted to — or approximately one Kei Igawa, and about $35M more than he is worth as a baseball player on the open market. But, factoring in his marketing value to the team — now and in the future as they trot him out as the heir apparent to the Mick and Joe D — and the YES network, such a deal will hardly be an albatross.

    • Agreed, Frank. It is overblown and I've tried not to react and respond to every single rumor or whisper. I think your $70m "feels" high, but the difference between what I have postulated as "reasonable" and this figure is, in Yankee parlance, "mice nuts".

      Jeter needs to sign soon. I can't stand this crap.

  6. Brian

    Frank S. very well put.

    Wish I had thought of that simple yet eloquent line. This is a negotiation. If Jeter's agent did anything BUT shoot for the moon he should be fired… and if the Yankees went into it ready to bend over right away they should be stripped of the franchise.

    The deal will get done. There's going to be some initial backlash that will fade away the minute he gets to 3,000 hits (which is going to happen soon).

    • adam

      I'm not sure you're seeing things clearly, though, with respect to the negotiation. Was there really any waffling over A-Rod's contract in the media? He asked for an exorbitant amount of money and the Yankees gave it to him. What is going on with Jeter is, in my opinion, like nothing we've seen recently from the Yankees front office. If this was really a scenario of "not my money, I don't care," the deal would be done. I think what the writers here hope you realize is that baseball is a business as much as it is sport. Don't think for a second that Cashman is spending any of his time musing about how little you, or any subgroup of fans, care about the money… it is all about the money, from every which direction you look at it. The number of years, the annual dollar figure, it matters. It really does matter. Jeter getting 3,000 hits won't matter the littlest bit if the Yankees miss the playoffs in 2013 and 2014 because he is still under contract hitting .205/.310/.325 in the leadoff spot.

      Oh, and the guy who threatened to become a Mets fan if the Yankees go sign Jeter? Go ahead, buddy. We didn't want you, anyway.

      • adam

        go sign/don't sign… I proofread everything except the closing sentences, nice.

      • That Mets fan thing had me laughing. Probably the reason why I chose to capture some of these comments in the first place!

  7. Brienn@IIATMS

    Ugh. If I ever get full internet service back on my computer, I’ll have a lot to say about this over the weekend.

    • We know this Brien. We await your return, as loud as it will be! Bottled up rage, ready to explode!

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