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Talks between Jeter and Yankees already looking problematic

Nov 3, 2010, 9:48 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 4 Getty Images

When it comes to matters of Derek Jeter, the Yankees and free agency, everyone seems to agree on one thing: it’s best that the negotiations do not turn ugly.  Unfortunately, that may no longer be possible.

Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner told a New York-based radio station Tuesday that Jeter is wanted back, but also that he’s running a “business” and that the Yanks aren’t simply going to hand the 36-year-old shortstop a blank check because he’s loved and revered.  It was a sensible comment, given that Jeter has fallen off considerably both on offense and defense and finished the 2010 season with an OPS of 710 — a good 127 points below his career average of 837.

Jeter knows that he’s not the player he once was and his agent, Casey Close, knows that just as well.  But Close also knows that the Yankees will face a PR nightmare if they let their “captain” walk this winter and go with Eduardo Nunez at shortstop instead.  There’s no denying that Jeter has major leverage in this situation and it certainly sounds like he plans to use it.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman heard from industry sources Wednesday that Jeter could be seeking a six-year contract that would take him into age 42.  And now Jeter’s agent is telling AOL Fanhouse that his client’s value to the Yankees “cannot be overstated” and that “no athlete embodies the spirit of a champion more.”

Contract talks probably haven’t even started yet and the two sides are already battling it out publicly. Jeter wants to end his career in New York, the Yankees want him to end his career in New York, but there’s a clear disagreement as to how much he deserves to be paid over these final few years.  And for how long he deserves to be paid.

Jeter isn’t going anywhere.  He will be back with the Yankees in 2011 and for a few years beyond that, but the path toward a peaceful pact this winter looks to be a rocky one.

  1. willmose - Nov 3, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    They let Torre walk while overpaying others. Hal is anixous to get the Jeter era over so he will be center of attention. Like Cowboys fans, the Yankee fans will continue to overpay without Jeter or even a division winning team.

  2. pisano - Nov 4, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    Get rid of him , he’s not worth the headaches he’s going to give the Yankees. Let him test the market , he’ll find out there are going to be very few takers . He dropped over 50 points in his BA , struckout over 100 + times and his fielding has also taken a hit . I say use an in house SS or sign a free agent SS . I hope he insist on these high contract demands and you watch the Yankee fans turn on him . Once they go against him it will be alot easier for the Yankees to get rid of him . In simple terms he’s OVER THE HILL .

  3. bobulated - Nov 4, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Let him test the waters, he might find that “much loved bonus” isn’t forthcoming elsewhere either. And if he leaves, he’ll end up regretting it and also find out NY doesn’t love him as much as he thought. Besides Babe Ruth finished with another team too; the Yankees will keep on being the Yankees long after Jeter is gone.

  4. dbcooper559 - Nov 4, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    It’s all just posturing. Both sides are trying to set the limits as to where the actual negotiations will take place. Does anyone expect the Yankees to say “We love Derek Jeter and will empty the bank account for him” or for Jeter to say “I want to retire as a Yankee so I’ll accept whatever they offer”? Talks with Jeter’s agent haven’t even started yet. When they do, I’m guessing that they will go smoother than people think (and much smoother than the bloodbath the media is hoping for) and the Yankees will overpay Jeter (based on his history and value to the team, not this year’s numbers) somewhere between “It’s a business decision” and “his value cannot be overstated”

  5. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 4, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    And now Jeter’s agent is telling AOL Fanhouse that his client’s value to the Yankees “cannot be overstated”

    Yes it can, yes it can. 6 year contracts for 36 year old players is overstating one’s value. Signing Arod to that deal was overstating someone’s value. Every play has a value/worth to a team, find it, offer Jeter a little more and call it a day.

  6. Jonny 5 - Nov 4, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    De-ter has some Cajones doesn’t he?? I mean he barely deserves to be on the top 10 free agent list, yet he’s there because he’s Derek Jeter, and a Yankee…. He’s getting kinda long in the tooth, and more so as a SS

  7. Mauer's Sideburns - Nov 4, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Could you just swap him and Cano? You could then negotiate differently if you know that he’s going to play 2B instead of SS. How are his skills in the OF? I’m sure the Yanks will put every effort into keeping him in NY (as they should), why not consider sliding him to another position in order to do so? Especially since his D has been on the decline.

  8. Walk - Nov 5, 2010 at 5:07 AM

    I saw an article earlier this year. It compared the range factor of arod and jeter and showed that arod at this point has the greater range. It also suggested that value wise moving arod back to ss would further his value to his team. As for jeter, like him or not, he is an ICON. He will get paid and most likely the contract will take him to retirement and probably be double what a player of his abilities would get on the market. Remember this is the face of the highest paid team in the league, their captain, he wont have to worry about it for much longer.

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