The New York Daily News- almost single-handedly- has been creating a hot rumor that the Derek Jeter Hal Steinbrenner Brian Cashman contract negotiations are going to get ugly. After Hal Steinbrenner said on WFAN and ESPN radio that it will be a business decision (duh), the Daily News went straight to Jeter’s agent Casey Close responded that Jeter’s value to the Yankees “cannot be overstated”.
With a false headline and a paragraph that claimed “some people” have speculated Jeter wants a 6-year deal, thousands of Yankees fans on the internet expressed their anger at Derek. Others say he’s an icon and deserves whatever he gets since YES Network makes $400 million per year. Yet very few were able to see through this non-story.
No quotes came from Derek, and his agent’s comments were not controversial. (That’s all I wanted to say in this post, but I will blog about Derek and Cashman anyway.) I guess there are some people that wanted Hal to guarantee Derek a contact without sitting down. At least Hal said Derek and Mariano Rivera were priorities, unlike some other Yankees who never got a phone call.
To get hits and attention some MEDIA outlets, led by the NY Daily News, are saying THE WAR IS ON…when in fact serious sit downs have not even started yet (unless Derek and Cashman already shook hands on a fair ballpark deal last week). Negotiations will be civil, especially since Jeter wants to stay and Steibrenner wants to keep him. The x-factor is Cashman putting a fixed dollar value and length ceiling on contract length based on raw stat projections only, and not the other things Derek brings to the table.
The average Yankees fan on the street- the ones that buy his shirts and season tickets- want him back, and don’t question the money. After all they didn’t care about his 10-year $189 million deal, although they had super issues with A-Rod’s deals.
Other fans live in a fantasy world where Jeter moves to 3B, DH, or LF in two years. These are the same fans that believe Jorge Posada can be a full-time DH. Another group believes Cashman’s trade bait HYPE for “prospect” Eduardo Nunez (!). [Maybe Cashman spoke to my mom, who said Nunez was a future star.] They believe Jeter will be phased out and Nunez will get much more playing time next year. Jeter will then pass the torch to Nunez in 2012 [signaling The Rapture, and Coming The Beast- thank goodness.]
What does the Stat Head GROUPTHINK say?
They have hated Derek Jeter since Day 1. Even Yankees Stat Heads have reconned Jeter’s defense and hitting stats and demonstrated that Graig Nettles was a better player. Even more extreme Stat Heads take Cashman’s side (of course) and want Derek to take a 1-year deal and then choose to retire or go to the Pirates. That being said, it’s not all of them. Some rational Yankees Stat Heads do understand that even though Jeter had his worst year in 2010, he still was an above average shortstop.
(Something that is not mentioned during these discussions: ever since Kevin Long adjusted Jeter’s swing, he batted way over .300 down the stretch.)
Anyway, it’s not worth so much time and energy ripping Jeter or defending him. It is what it is. There is a near 100% chance he returns in 2011, and probably will be seen in 2012 and 2013, and perhaps beyond. He is the best option at shortstop for the time being unless Cashman trades for Troy Tulowitzki or some other solid young SS (not happening).
It is unfortunate that some MEDIA outlets like to throw gas to the flame and create tension between the Yankees front office and Derek. They did the same thing to Rivera and Cashman a few years ago. During that time, Rivera had very little official statements; his agent handled everything. But it seemed as if he was going to get screwed. Yet he and Jorge came out of the deal with very good contracts for older players. Both Mo and Jorge acted like everything was okay the whole time, and I predict the same will happen with Derek.
I admit there is a secret part of me that wants Cashman to screw Derek just so there is a fan backlash, and Derek can prove himself somewhere else, just like Joe Torre did. It would be the most despicable act in Yankees history if Cashman snubs Derek over a contract. In fact, it is JUMP THE SHARK material and would create the CURSE OF DEREK, as Derek will somehow win a ring with whichever team he joins just because of his cute face, while the Blue Jays win the East every year. And then the world can say F-YOU, BRIAN CASHMAN. It’s fun to fantasize about. However, like I said, there is a near 0% chance Derek gets his 3,000th hit with the Cubs in 2011.
Since Cashman like to play cold hearted office manager who thinks he’s a partner in the firm, he has no social skills with his players. He always keeps his distance and goes through their nut-job agents. If I was in charge I would have already established a good relationship with the players and when they reached a certain age, I would ask them one-on-one how many years they would want to go. In other words, I would ask Derek himself how much he thinks he’s worth going forward, and if he was in my shoes what would a fair price be. Same with Mo. I’d ask about position or role change down the road as well, as opposed to speculating.
Communication and respect- two concepts that get lost when people say “it’s a business decision”.
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