Like it or not, the topic of Derek Jeter‘s contract is going to come up a lot over the next year, and we’ll see increasing mentions as we move closer to the end of the 2010 season, when his current deal expires. We know that Jeter isn’t thinking about his contract right now, and it appears the Yanks aren’t either. Both Jayson Stark and Jon Heyman note the obvious: the Yanks will wait until after the 2010 season to negotiate with Jeter. In other words, everyone gets treated the same. Mo and Posada didn’t get extensions before their deals were up, and it appears Jeter won’t either.
Heyman notes that negotiations this off-season would heavily favor Jeter, since he’s in the midst of a top-three season (1999 and 2006 also stand out). While that’s true to some extent, it still doesn’t seem like the top reason why the two parties will wait things out. The idea of treating Jeter the same as his peers Posada and Rivera would seem paramount in this situation. Then again, the Yanks got burned on the Posada deal, and might have been able to lock up Mo for a bit less had they negotiated before the season. Perhaps they’d do better to haggle with Jeter this off-season.
There’s one sentence in the Stark piece that makes it seem as if the timing of the deal won’t much matter. “From what we’re gathering, Jeter and Close have been all but assured by the Yankees that the club will make sure Jeter is taken care of when the time comes.” That sentence is rife with ambiguity, from the opening clause to the “taken care of” bit. This is what many of us presumed. Both parties know that they’re best taken together, and neither wants a messy divorce. They’ll come to some sort of agreement. I’m pretty sure players can’t have an ownership stake in the team, but could the Yankees set that up for Jeter for when he retires?
Yes, this subject will be beaten to death by the time the 2010-2011 off-season rolls around. Sorry. The tenor of the discussion seems to be positive, though. I know many people who think that the situation could get ugly, but I’m not among them. Derek Jeter and New York go together like all those cliches about things that go well together. With his contract and endorsement deals, Jeter is set for life. I think we’ll see a rather painless reunion after next season.