The Yankees negotiations with Derek Jeter got a whole lot uglier this afternoon when Brian Cashman in not so many words told Jeter to "Take it or leave it."
"He should be nothing but a New York Yankee," Cashman said of Jeter earlier today. "He chooses not to be."
"We're not trying to chase Derek away. We're trying to get him to sign," general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday. "But at the same time, he's a free agent. If he doesn't like what we're offering him, if he can find a better opportunity with more money, that's fine. Whatever's important to him."
Pretty tough talk from a guy who has never come off publicly as being tough. Cashman's attitude was most likely in response to remarks made by Jeter's agent Casey Close over the weekend. Close found the Yankees negotiating tactics "baffling". And I agree.
From the get-go, the Yankees have played out the negotiations in the media. Not all that unlike when George Steinbrenner would leak information to select NY media in the 1970's and 1980's. Close's remarks were actually out of character for him since neither he or Jeter generally remark on any negotiations involving the Yankees captain.
The Yankees have offered Jeter a three year, $45 million deal. A fair contract for a 36-yr old coming off the worst offensive season of his career. However, this is no ordinary player. I won't get into intangibles or defensive UZR ratings. The bottom line is that Jeter is the face of the franchise. The guy who always does everything right. The guy who has never embarrassed the franchise. The guy with five rings.
At the same time the Yankees are correct in saying that Jeter will not get a "Victory lap" contract. That makes perfect sense. You don't overpay 36-yr olds. What doesn't make perfect sense is for the Yankees to take a hard line and to take it public. Perhaps it's just tough talk. Talk to cover their asses. If you recall once Alex Rodriguez opted out his contract, the Yankees said they were done with him. We all know how that turned out.
Jeter should never wear another uniform during his playing days. So work out a deal. Would it do any harm to add a fourth year to the contract, with a possible option for a fifth year? Yes, these are frugal times, but no one said to build an overpriced Stadium that people can't afford to go to. The Yankees are loaded with money and don't think for one second they are not.
Why not use other incentives such as they do in Hollywood, where an actor actress will get a percentage of a film. Give Jeter a piece of the YES Network. Just get something done.
My good friend, "the Bman" astutely pointed out "How fecking stupid are the Yankees??!! I hate paying too much, but treating Jeter like this? What a crock. Hey, let's give A-Rod more $ and low-ball a legend."
He has a point and this negotiation shows that things haven't changed a whole lot from Steinbrenner to Steinbrenner. George was notorious for paying other team's free agents more than his own free agents.
The Yankees best wise up soon or they will indeed due serious harm to their fan base if Derek Jeter were to walk.