Jeter not thinking about his next contract, though he probably isBy
Mark Feinsand has a bit up on his blog about Derek Jeter and his contract which expires after next season. We’ve discussed this plenty on RAB in the past, taking the angles of salary, contract length, and defensive position. Those are all factors that will play into the negotiations, which in all likelihood won’t happen until after next season. That’s just how Brian Cashman seems to operate. If he’s not going to negotiate ahead of time for Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, he probably won’t for Jeter.
Jeter, for his part, is saying all the right things, as is his wont. He’s worried about this year, and that it’s “unfair to think about what [he's] going to be doing years from now as opposed to trying to help [the Yankees] win this year.” It’s typical Jeter-speak, and we shouldn’t expect anything else at this point. He’s been talking like this to the media for years because it’s disarming. It doesn’t mean it’s actually what he’s thinking.
Like the rest of us, Jeter has likely thought about life after 2010. How could he not? Maybe he shuts it out during the season and concentrates on baseball — and if that’s the case, it’s working. But what about that long off-season? If he didn’t think about his contract last off-season, he’s probably going to think about it after this season. After all, he has but one year left on his contract, and they’re not doling out contracts like they did in 2001 (unless you’re Hank Steinbrenner, who by all appearances is out of the picture).
We’ve all thought about this. Will Jeter take a pay cut? How many years will he want? Most importantly, how far apart will he and the Yankees be? Those are all questions we’ll be asking in earnest at this point next year. Thankfully, right now we can sit back and enjoy the ride. Jeter is with the team now, and he will be next year.
Just to tack my two cents onto the end of this, I think a perpetual mutual agreement, with a team option and then a player option behind it could be the kind of creative deal that could get this done. A mutual option for, say $16 million, and if that’s declined by one party it goes to a player or a team option for a little less (probably would go to the declining party). If that’s declined, it goes to the other party for a little less. That would keep Jeter in pinstripes and keep the team from having to commit a significant chunk of payroll, in the present and future, to him.