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ESPN:NY Article Review of the Jeter Contract Situation

I only check the ESPN: New York satellite site because its a means of organization, that I can see Yankees, Giants, Jets, Devils, and Nets all on the same site instead of trying to find it on the main ESPN hub page.  I do this mostly for quick score updates of stats, as well as headlines.  I normally don’t read much beyond that, because in all honesty, it’s crap.  But I did come across one article yesterday from Ian O’Connor about a compromise between the Yankees’ camp and the Jeter camp that’s worth reading.  I was quite surprised to read along with and agree with O’Connor’s words, that rarely happens.

Here’s the article

Things I agree with:

  • The idea of a compromise, falling in between the Yankees’ initial offer of 3 years for $45 million, and Jeter’s belief that he’s still worth of $100 million.  The middle? 4 for $70m.
  • How Jeter has no leverage coming off his worst season statistically, at age 36, some terrible timing on his part.
  • How Jeter has beat the Yankees in terms of negotiating in the past, whether through arbitration years, or getting more money a few years after George Steinbrenner would not notarize a deal that was already set in place.
  • How Jeter is the reason Cashman normally won’t negotiate during the arbitration years for the youngsters.  I can only imagine the raise that Robinson Cano will get after his current contract is up, or what Phil Hughes’ first big contract since his signing bonus as a senior in high school will be.
  • The way the Steinbrenner brothers run the team financially (like night and day).  Hank awarded A-Rod with the massive contract full of options and monetary achievements, and Hal is pinching pennies on the Yankee captain.

Things I disagree with:

  • Mentioning how Jeter has been on record to compromise already, whether moving off of short in the future, or working on his defense in the offseason after a dinner with GM Brian Cashman.  Workout regimes and future hearsay are two totally separate things, especially when dollars are involved.  Just because someone compromises in one area doesn’t mean they will in another; a stupid assumption.
  • O’Connor getting cute by bringing his story full-circle with the Jordan-Washington Wizards and Toledo Mud Hens metaphor from the intro paragraph.  Just the kind of tackiness that keeps this article from being perfect, but I don’t expect anything less from ESPN: New York.

Hal Steinbrenner said things “could get ugly” and he was right, it has.  Of course, this is the ugly side of baseball, the whole negotiating game that isn’t played on a diamond with 90 ft. basepaths.  There have been numerous reports coming out on a daily basis of the “who said what” rant, and I’ve found myself overloaded and unsure of who to believe.  More numbers have been thrown around in the past few weeks then in an antique automobile auction.

What I do like in terms of the rest of the major leagues, is how Jeter is going to be paid well above market value.  Other premiere shortstops such as Troy Tulowitzki will use Jeter’s previous and current contracts to their advantage, possibly pricing himself out of Colorado, and perhaps ready to take over once the aging Jeter either calls it quits or (voluntarily) moves off the shortstop position.

So, things are getting a little sour.  Cashman says Jeter is free to test the open market and find a better deal.  Hal has stated that “we’re trying to run a business here.”  Jeter’s agent Casey Close may or may not have let his camp’s demands leak, and may or may not have tried to cover it up.  That’s what happens during negotiations in the offseason.

The Captain eluded questions from the media all season long about what would happen this offseason when his current contract expired.  We all understand why.  But let’s not forget what happened to Bernie Williams after the ’98 season.  Things are now both magnified and amplified due to new media and the timing of when we get ours news.  Thanks, Twitter.

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