The Anatomy of a Rumor or What Derek Wants

Past Trade Review: Paul O'Neill
Open Thread: Award Dates

The Hot Stove League can be a funny, funny thing. Signings and trades tend to happen at isolated moments around the Winter Meetings, before Christmas and in early-to-mid January, and the weeks in between are filled with rumors and whispers, speculation and distortion. While Cliff Lee remains the free agent prize this year, the Yankees and their fans will be focusing on the homegrown hero and team captain. Today, we saw how discussion and speculation about Jeter can blow up into something it is not.

What grew into a furor by the afternoon started innocently enough with a pair of radio interviews with Hal Steinbrenner. While talking first with Michael Kay and then with Mike Francesa yesterday, Hal began to talk about Derek Jeter‘s negotiations, and as he mentioned that the Yanks were a business, he also mentioned the team’s interest in signing Jeter. But, he warned, he wanted a deal that was good for both sides. “There’s always the possibility that things could get messy,” he said.

Uh, oh! Things might be messy. It’s amazing how quickly a possibility of things getting messy turns into “Yanks warn of messy talks with Jeter,” as the headline on The Post said. ESPN had a similar take.

Today, the Internet exploded all over again when Jon Heyman, the King of Speculation, let loose what can only be termed his opinion as couched in an anonymous source. A few hours ago, he tweeted that “industry sources suggest” that Jeter could ask for six years (and be signed through age 42 as A-Rod is). The Yanks want him for fewer years. He elaborated in a season preview column:

There are early indications the talks with Jeter may take awhile. Some industry sources still say they wouldn’t be surprised if he initially sought to obtain a six-year deal to match the expiration age of Alex Rodriguez‘s contract, which would put Jeter at 42. The Yankees haven’t opened talks yet with his agent, Casey Close, and while it’s unconfirmed, there are a few early hints that the team may be thinking about a deal of about half that length, perhaps three guaranteed years.

So now we have “some industry sources” who “wouldn’t be surprised” if Jeter “initially sought” a six-year deal. It’s also “unconfirmed” but there are “a few early hints” that the Yankees would counter with a three-year deal. It’s somewhat shocking this paragraph made it past a Sports Illustrated editor considering the 2000 pounds of salt with which we must take it.

Right now, we don’t know what Jeter wants, what the Yanks are willing to pay or how long it’s going to take. But if this is the best rumor we’ve got, it isn’t worth listening to Heyman when he says, “Jeter could take awhile [sic],” and the only thing getting messy so far are the journalistic standards in place for reporting unfounded rumors.

Past Trade Review: Paul O'Neill
Open Thread: Award Dates
  • Esteban

    Dough is what DJ wants

  • Josh

    garbage. why did they cut down on the exclusive signing period?

    • Carlosologist

      Chances are that not even the 15 day window isn’t enough to get a deal done with Jeter.

      • Carlosologist


      • The Three Amigos

        That is not necessarily true. This negotiation could easily turn into Derek Jeter the consummate hero, teammate and altruistic god takes less years and money for the good of the franchise to sign cliff lee. (When the Yankees make it absolutely apparent he is not getting anywhere near 6 years or 20 mil per)

  • nsalem

    Much Ado About Nothing

  • Avi

    If I were Jeter’s agent I’d ask for six years.
    If I’m the Yankees I say JUMP IN THE LAKE!
    Thus we have a negotiation

  • kosmo

    canes and crutches on the left side of the IF if the FO agrees on a 6 yr deal let alone a 3 yr deal.

  • Bob

    The amazing thing about “things getting messy” — I heard the Kay interview, and those were Kay’s words; Hal simply re-stated them in his reply…but they were a direct quote from Kay’s question.

    • bexarama

      I’m shocked that Kay was trying to start drama. SHOCKED.

      • Mike HC

        To be fair to Kay, it is impossible to get information out of these guys sometimes. You have to poke and prod them a little about sensitive subjects in order to get a decent response.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Yes, but what kind of information is he really getting with that poking and prodding?

          Kay: Is it possible that during your negotiations with Jeter, the earth slips off its axis and Derek is regrettably killed in a freak building collapse and you’re not able to sign him?
          Cashman: Yes, I suppose that’s possible.

          • Mike HC

            I don’t know. I just don’t see why asking Steinbrenner if the Jeter negotiations have the potential of getting messy, is such a big deal. It sounds like a good question to me. If he happens to re use those words, so be it. Maybe they were accurate.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              The problem is, it’s a loaded question, because unless Hal forcefully denies it, it’s an instant soundbite to jump off into the deep end of irresponsible speculation and extrapolation.

              If Michael Kay wasn’t the kind of guy to talk about the DOOOOOOOOM of negotiations getting messy for 3-4 hours a day for the next month, it would just be a simple good question that would be mentioned briefly and then quickly ignored. That’s not what’s happening, though: Kay knows his listeners/callers are batshit insane nutbag putbulls of irrationality and he’s trying to find a chewtoy for them to lock their jaws around.

              • Mike HC

                Yea, I’m done defending Kay. It is sports talk radio. I have to take the source into account. He probably was just trying to stir things up and get people in a frenzy.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  If Bill Moyers asked that question, I’d have no problem with it.

                  Michael Kay isn’t Bill Moyers, though.

              • toad


                Negotiations can always get messy. If they couldn’t they’d be over in a flash.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      So it’s not even Hal offering unprompted speculative panic of the worst happening, it’s Hal failing to vehemently deny some other schmuck’s unprompted speculative panic of the worst happening.

      I hate games of telephone.

    • Pasqua

      To wit re: Kay…He was interviewing Rex Ryan yesterday and when Ryan said that he “couldn’t comment” on Randy Moss, Kay actually said, “Ohhhh. Okay. Very interesting,” as if he had just gotten a scoop. The guy is a gossip hound. Today he was shooting down the rumors about Jeter that he had a hand in starting.

  • I Voted for Kodos

    I love it when people get all worked up by sports articles in which every other word is a qualifier of some sort. It’s one of my favorite parts of the hot stove season.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I’ve heard from industry sources that I Voted For Kodos might “really love” the hot stove season because of people getting worked up by sports articles full of qualifiers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see I Voted For Kodos initially ask for the hot stove season to be extended to all year long so that he could read more of the articles full of qualifiers that he says are his “favorite”.

      Jon Heyman

      • I Voted for Kodos

        According to anonymous neurons within my own brain, it’s possible that this might be true, though they’ve hinted that they might be leaning towards a different offer. If true, it could get messy.

  • Brien Jackson

    Jon Heyman is the Ted Buncy of journalistic integrity.

  • mbonzo

    DJ will ask for 6, the Yankees will say omgnowai 2 at most. Then DJ will say how about 4? and the Yankees will say lolmay-b how about 3 yrs nd well thro u sum xtra dough 3/55? DJ will say, thank you very much good sirs, and Cashman will say later brochacho.
    …I heard that from my industry sources.

    • Avi

      Personally I don’t see why Jeter should get a dime more than what he’d get on the open market ($7-12 mil).
      The most important thing is to build the strongest team possible. Cashman really said it best:
      “I know when I first started here as an intern and worked my way up, there was a little bit of a belief that the stars put he fannies in the seats. That’s not true. The stars don’t put the fannies in the seats. The teams that win do. You can have some of the biggest names all you want, but if it’s a bad team, people will stop showing up come July. They’ll choose to do other things, whether it’s go to the beach or anything else.

      “Ultimately, it’s about winning as many games as possible and trying to make the playoffs. If we have a team that people can come out and see win a lot of games, then people will be interested in showing up and turning this place into the place to be in New York City. And that’s what we want to keep going.”

      Jeter has always had the reputation of a guy that puts winning and the team ahead of himself. So to sign him for too many dollars or years would be, well, “unjeterian”.
      The Yankees don’t have to hurt themselves to show their appreciation for what Jeter has done.
      There’s a good chance the Yanks and Jeter are far apart which could lead to things getting messy. The Yankees have the leverage so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      • ROBTEN

        The Yankees have the leverage so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

        I actually don’t think that Jeter is without his own leverage in this situation. Leaving aside the “mystique” of Jeter, who do you replace Jeter’s production with:

        • Avi

          I think the leverage comes from the fact that no team out there is gonna give him anything near 15-20 mil a year for even one year, let alone three or four.
          I try to bring back Jeter @ about $10 mil a year for two years. If the price is $20 mil a year I let him go, put a cheap reliable glove at SS and use the money to strengthen the starting pitching.
          Greinke would be a nice option but doesn’t sound like it could or should happen.
          Even if the right guy isn’t available right now I’d keep the $20 mil in my piggy bank and wait for the right guy to come along. Star pitchers and players become available frequently (Halladay/Oswalt/Lee).

          • Tom Swift

            That’s around what he is worth, just as a baseball player. Add in another year and extra dough for being the Captain and being loved by the fans. But I hope that Hal realizes that 4 or 5 years would cripple the team, and that he takes a hard line in the negotiations.

            • Avi

              “But I hope that Hal realizes that 4 or 5 years would cripple the team, and that he takes a hard line in the negotiations.”

              I think he and Cashman will do just that.

      • Eric Young

        I agree. Either Cashman or Hal recently said that Yankee fans’ alegience is to winning, not to stars. Not as funny as Seinfeld saying fan allegiance is to the the laundry, but completely accurate nonetheless.

  • Poopy Pants

    In other words, nothing happened.

    • Tom Zig

      Nice work, Deification Dungarees.

  • Jake H

    I unfollowed Heyman. Can’t handle that guy any more.

    • Mike HC

      He is probably right though. I have no clue about his journalistic integrity though. He is so far off my radar it is not even funny.

      • Mike HC

        Well, I guess since he does get mentioned here a bit he is kind of on my radar. But you get my point.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    So now we have “some industry sources” who “wouldn’t be surprised” if Jeter “initially sought” a six-year deal. It’s also “unconfirmed” but there are “a few early hints” that the Yankees would counter with a three-year deal. It’s somewhat shocking this paragraph made it past a Sports Illustrated editor considering the 2000 pounds of salt with which we must take it.

    (makes wanking motion with hand)

  • Mike HC

    Jeter’s agent probably will, or did ask for 6 years. I wouldn’t be surprised about that either. Then the Yanks probably countered with a one year deal. Then silence. Then awkward laughter from both sides. haha.

  • Klemy

    A source close to my sister-in-law’s 3rd cousin, told a friend that Derek’s mother’s rummy partner said to a waiter that he’s looking for 6 years and 120 million or he’s walking.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I have it on good authority that Derek Jeter enjoys having money and he would like to get as much of it as he can reasonably and ethically acquire.

      • Jerome S

        (sees Yankees-Godfather parallel, head explodes)

      • JerseyDutch

        That is a well thought out and sane speculation. Shame on you.

  • Ro

    I’m apparently the lone person who disagrees with everything concerning Jeter and his resigning. I think it will be done quicker than we all think with terms that have not been speculated. Heymans rumor or conveyance of whatever comment he heard, is small minded. Seriously people, let’s try to get a little more creative with this. How easily we all also forget about his character, what we’ve seen over the last 16 years. He’s also a good businessman, but let’s not forget about his family. His parents do influence his decisions to some extent. This guy is a hall of famer. I am sure that Jeter won’t lose sight of the very attainable short term goals and he also will have the integrity to stop playing when he can’t. That will come in 3 or 4 years. Anyone who thinks 6 years is just stupid. You’re seeing 3 years around $45mm-$50mm and some other nifty language for records, etc.

    • JerseyDutch

      I think it will be done quicker than we all think with terms that have not been speculated.

      The only terms I haven’t heard speculated on are that he signs for a hundred years and gets paid in goats. Other than that, most of the bases have been covered.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        We should pay Derek Jeter in Trident Layers. I can’t believe nobody’s suggested that yet, it’s so brilliant.

        • I Voted for Kodos

          That’s why no one’s suggested it yet. It takes an uncommon mind to come with the simple, genius solutions.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Well, genius is a pretty strong term, but if you insist on using it, I can handle it.

      • Pasqua

        Are you trying to suggest that Derek Jeter “loves” goats? I have John Heyman and Michael Kay on Line 2.

        • Mike HC

          I thought Tom Brady was the one who loved goats. Didn’t he pose naked with one or something?

  • Avi

    Look at where Jeter and Arod stand contractually.
    They both signed ten year deals before the ’01 season.
    Arod now has seven years and $174 MIL left one his contract while Jeter will be lucky to get just fraction of that.
    Moral of the story? Casey Close (Jeter’s agent) isn’t Scott Boras.
    Frigin opt-out clause after the seventh year of AROD’s contract, GENIUS

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      More germane moral of the story? Alex Rodriguez is a far better baseball player than Derek Jeter.

      • Avi

        Totally agree. But A-rod wouldn’t get seven years and $174 mil coming off of this season.
        I think it shows a lot of “chutzpah”, foresight and smarts on Boras’ part to even think of asking for an opt out clause when signing the biggest contract in sports history.

        • I Voted for Kodos

          It also shows that Texas really had to blow Rodriguez away with their offer to get him to even consider going to Texas. They were coming of a bad year and, even wit Alex in the fold, had little hope of competing because they had absolutely no pitching. Look at this staff and try not to laugh out loud:

          Without including perks like that in addition to the huge salary, I’m not sure they would have signed him.

  • Eric Young

    I’m a bit disappointed that this post was tagged as “Irresponsible Rumor Mongering.” The line about running a business jumped off the page for anyone reading Hal’s comments.

    For several months, we’ve been reading the anonymous whispers of Jeter allies talking about “no pay cut” and “equal A-Rod contract length.” To the FO’s credit, we never heard anything other than unqualified expressions as to the desire to retain the Captain.

    To cut to the chase – and provide a framework of a compromise – I’d like to see NYY and Jete construct a great contract that respects all parties that also addresses Derek’s phase-out and retirement.

    I think something that incorporates the following would work for all sides:

    -2 Years @ 15M Guaranteed + Up to $5M in Performance Incentives
    -2 Years Mutual Option @10M Guaranteed + Up to $10M in Performance Incentives
    -Controlling Side Agreement Outlining Retirement Plan Subject to Performance
    -Lifetime Contract of $500k – $1M as Yankee Spokesman or Whatever
    -If Jete wants an option to match the highest offer in the event of sale, I’d add it in

    Many – possibly most – great players in their declining phase have one remaining big year. Jete could give it his all next year and hit .342. But that’s my best guess as to what’s left.

    I see him plummeting in 2012 to somewhere around .255 in 2012 and he’ll be atrocious in 2013. In fairness, this “1972/73 Willie Mays” precipitious decline is what happens when you really have spent a lifetime giving everything to your team. I don’t begrudge guaranteeing Jete the $15M in the second year despite my expectation of poor performance.

    After the drama of Bernie’s retirement, I really like the idea of having the contract’s “guaranteed” dollar amounts in 2012 and 2013 contingent on a side agreement as to what kind of sub-par performance would lead to Derek choosing his own retirement. Let’s be adults and discuss and plan for this now. If Jete’s doing great, good for everyone; if he’s not, dignity for everyone.

    The two last items – lifetime Yankee contract and an option to match any highest bid – are simply sweeteners to make the medicine go down. The fact is, Jete will be what DiMaggio demanded to be: “the greatest living Yankee” for many years to come and should be serving in a capacity with the NYY. The option to buy the franchise is, obviously worthless monetarily, so that’s easy, but addresses some of the things we’ve read as well.

    Cashman, you know where to find me. For everyone else, feel free to tell me what an idiot I am. :)

  • jack

    The reason for this is yankees paid A-Rod and Tex crazily high. Of course he will ask another crazily high. Yankees should cool down the negotiation with Jeter for a couple of months based on the facts (A) where can Jeter go (B) which club likes to offer him over $10M/year for 3 years based on his performance in this season.

  • Jonathan

    I hope you guys make it mainstream so the public can hear rational baseball news and you can blow Heyman and ESPN and yahoo and all their bullshit out of the water. I can imagine Heyman going to walmart, buying a dump phone, and calling himself. then in a funny voice he leaves a message saying, “PSST! my asshole told me Derek Jeter might want 6 years..pass it on!” It reminds me of a really shitty 1 man game of telephone where the actual thing said at the start is all bull by the end.

  • Jerome S

    No matter what contract Jeter gets, NY would give him endorsements like no other.

  • Eric Young

    Nice quote (I thought) from Jeter’s agent from NY Post a few minutes ago:
    “While it’s not our intent to negotiate the terms of Derek’s free agent contract in a public forum, we do agree with Hal and Brian (Cashman’s) recent comments that this contract is about business and winning championships,” Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, said Wednesday.

    This is a responsible response to Hal’s responsible statement.

    • MikeD

      Members of the sports media will do everything they can to play this up into a war, and if both sides keeps making “responsible” statements, then they’ll have plenty to work with. On Jeter’s first day of being a free-agent, Hal makes a statement and the next day Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, makes a statement. They both seem resonable, yet it’s only been 24-hours!

  • JB

    in this case, money = pride to Jeter. How much does he need to be treated like A-Rod? Over the course of their careers, Jeter has certainly been a more valuable Yankee, but will he be over the next 3 years? Who knows. A-Rod may get injured more seriously. what if his hip degrades? are we stuck for how many more years? Will Jeter say “too bad, you gave it to him, now you give it to me, since I have had and may still have, more value to the franchise.

    Its not about the money per se, its about the pride, and we know that he has a ton of that.