Weeks of Jeter entertainment come to an end

Sunday night Lee rumor round-up
Fan Confidence Poll: December 6th, 2010

When a conflict comes to a resolution, we’re normally able to take a step back and reflect on it. With the Derek Jeter contract negotiations, that’s not necessary. The situation was pretty transparent from the beginning. The Yankees set the tone with their initial offer, one that no other team would dare match. From there it was just a matter of when Jeter would accept the situation. But while we won’t learn much by looking back at the situation, we did get something out of it. We were entertained.

The way the negotiations played out was insanely entertaining. Six years and $150 million? That was worth a good chuckle. It might have been true, but chances are it wasn’t. Even four to five years at $23 or $24 million was comical. Then came the quotes from the Yankees brass. Sure, it was mostly unnecessary — especially when it involved Hank. But the frustration was palpable. The Jeter camp was being unreasonable, and it appeared to have gotten under the Yankees’ skin.

More than the negotiations themselves, the commentary about the negotiations provided high entertainment. Whether on Twitter, in an article, or in the comments section, we saw people provide all kinds of rationale for why Jeter deserved to get paid what he wanted, or why he should take the Yankees’ offer. (Though the term rationale might be generous when describing the former.) It also led to a short-lived, but still entertaining, collection of terrible articles about the situation.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I had fun during those few weeks. Maybe I got a little worked up at one point or another, but that’s going to happen when arguing something about which I’m passionate. I can see why people might have been annoyed at how it played out. Seeing multiple articles every day about one player’s contract negotiations can become grating. But even if it did become a bit too much on one day, it all reset the next day. The conversations began anew, and we were entertained all over again.

It might not have been all that entertaining, of course, had there been a chance that Jeter would leave. We all knew that no matter how this played out that Jeter would play shortstop for the Yankees in 2011 and beyond. Because we knew this we could view the negotiations in a different manner than we see them with, say, Cliff Lee. There’s a real chance Lee signs elsewhere and helps a Yankees rival. With Jeter it was the furthest thing from our minds — or at least most of our minds.

I’m glad it’s over. The entertainment factor in this was definitely coming to a halt, so drawing it out any longer would have become obnoxious. But it was fun while it lasted. I don’t wish that all negotiations played out in this way, but with Derek Jeter it worked. Now that it’s over we can forget the annoyances and remember the conversations and debates. That’s what made this whole situation interesting and entertaining.

Sunday night Lee rumor round-up
Fan Confidence Poll: December 6th, 2010
  • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I’m sure I’m okay with the Yankee front office trying to embarrass players in the press if the player “gets under their skin”

    “Drink the reality potion” was completely unnecessary. It lacked the comedy and over the top bluster of later years George and just came off as mean for the sake of it.

    • ZZ

      Negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter are at a standstill until Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, “drink the reality potion,” according to a source close to the negotiations.

      If someone from within the Yankees front office had said that it would have been plastered all over ESPNNY.com. ‘Yankees want Jeter to drink the reality potion!’ That it wasn’t tells you it didn’t come from the Yankees.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

        You know, ZZ, you get a lot of crap around here, but I have to say you were very much a voice of sanity during the Jeter craziness. Thank you for that.

        • ZZ

          haha, thanks bex. What can I say, I love the hot stove season. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

    Joe Pawlikowski just drank the reality potion.

    • http://www.yfsf.org AndrewYF

      If this were ten years ago, the quote would have been ‘take the red pill’.


  • mike c

    how can we forget when jeter’s terrible range, weak grounders, and albatross of a contract will be destroying the yankees over the next 4 years????

  • mbonzo

    Cashman did a great job here. When its 3/45 v. 5/100 (at the least)and you end up where they did, thats pretty incredible. Everyone will forget about the negative side of the negotiations by March.

  • Kiko Jones

    With a majority of Yankee fans agreeing with the team’s initail offer (which surprised the hell out of me; I thought the give-Jeter-a-blank-check crowd would come out in a full court defense of the Yankee shortstop), the front office knowing full well there was a very slim chance Jeter would leave the Bronx, and that no other teams would meet his financial demands, they played hardball. For a minute.

    What they eventually did was bid against themselves by upping the dollar amount and adding a 4th year player option! Ugh. By overpaying Jeter even more and still not appeasing those who worship at his altar, the front office failed. Twice. Good grief!

    This past week, Troy Tulowitzki got a brand new 6 yr/$20m per contract extension. That the 36 year old Jeter is gonna get paid $3m/yr less than an All-Star SS 10 yrs his junior says everything one needs to know about the Yankees’ negotiation skills.

    There are those who have said—among them Darryl Strawberry—that The Boss must’ve been rolling in his grave over the handling of Jeter’s contract. (Btw, those folks who feel Jeter was disrespected during the current contract negotiations should give Bernie Williams a call.) How in the world is overpaying someone disrespectful? The Jeter hero worship…sometimes I dunno.

    But here’s the kicker: The Boss would’ve never lost a negotiation where he had all the leverage. (Nor would the average person, for that matter.) Now, THAT might be making him spin right about now.

    • mbonzo

      The Yankees overpaid Jeter for his on field services, but he provides them with enough revenue to justify the contract. I am far from the blank check camp, but when the Yankees offered 3 years at $15 million publicly, I immediately knew that was a 3 year offer worth $17 million negotiation wise. The 4th year was also not a surprise. $17m per is too much for 29 other teams, but Jeter’s name will pay the Yankees back for years to come, even after he retires. No one would be buying a NY Jeter jersey soon if he opted for a contract with the Red Sox, so at least the Yankees can look forward to that stream of money to overpay our next HoF shortstop into his old age.

      • nathan

        Correct me if I am wrong, whether Jeter’s jersey sells as a Yankee or Met or Sox doesnt matter. Teams dont get to keep that, they pool everything together and then split it.

        Pirates make the same money off jerseys that Yanks make AFAIK

        • TLVP

          The value of Jeter isn’t necessarily in selling jerseys. Another big value to the Steinbrenners’ is the YES ratings. I’m pretty sure that Jeter will increase the YES ratings when he gets close to 3000 hits and then we’ll see what they come up with. Remember most hits by a SS and most hits by a Yankee? Few would have known of them more than a few months in advance but they became big events drawing eyeballs.

          This is why milestones actually are a good trigger point for bonuses – they come with the necessary revenue to pay for themselves

          • nathan

            I wasnt talking abt value. I was talking about his specific point abt jerseys.

            By the way, the ratings boost is waaay overblown. Would it be 10-15 games? For that you not only overpay him but overextend him also. Its ridiculously short sighted.

            Just dont blame Girardi if Jeter GIDPs to end a lot of games and rallies.

            Milestones based contracts (like ARod’s) are a bane.

        • mbonzo

          I was really just using the sale of merchandise as a general example of how Jeter helps the Yankees business. Truth is, under revenue sharing, money made from merchandise by MLB teams goes into a pool that is equally shared. Yankee sales make about 25% of the total MLB revenue. Still, selling jerseys and other merchandise allows for a greater brand recognition that increases ticket sales, tv/radio viewers, and revenue to local businesses which gives them leverage in things like building a new stadiums, transportation demands, and tax breaks. All-in-all revenue off of merchandise is technically shared but realistically its still made teams like the Yankees the richest in the game through secondary advantages.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            The merchise Jeter sells by himself pales in comparison to a winning team. After 2009 Matsui jerseys were sold out everywhere. People were buying a lot of 2009 championship gear.

            • Monteroisdinero

              This. If he hits .300, it will be fine. His speed, power, range all inevitably headed down-and they weren’t great anyway. A few more slap hits to the right side and a few less flails at high fastballs he can’t catch up to would be nice.

            • Ed

              That’s easily true for anyone but Jeter.

              Look around a mall in the NY/NJ area sometime. Check anywhere but sports stores. Look at places like department stores, gift shops, etc. You’ll find 3 types of baseball merchandise – Yankees, Mets, and Jeter. Yankees stuff tends to get the most shelf space, with Jeter stuff equal to or only a little less than Mets stuff.

              You’re right that having a winning team is worth more to merchandise sales. But Jeter merchandise sales are about on par with Mets team merchandise.

              • nathan

                I seriously doubt that. I doubt Jeter’s merchandise sales equals the Mets’. That would be stunning if it were true.

                And it doesnt matter that doesnt goto the Yankee pockets, only 1/30 th of it does.

                • Ed

                  I’m sure I’m overstating, but they are very similar in shelf space allocation.

                  Yes, the Yankees get 1/30th of that. However, that doesn’t apply to items sold at the clubhouse stores or stadium. And more importantly, the point is that Jeter’s marketing value is on a much higher level than any other player. There are plenty of ways the team can take advantage of that.

  • Nick!

    I wish I could be relieved, but I thought the initial 3 year offer was pushing it. 4 years makes me question the intelligence of this organization. That’s Sabean/Colletti level stupid.

    • Pasqua

      I don’t like the 4th year, but it’s not epically stupid. Fact is, if Jeter underperforms for three years, that player option is not going to be terribly expensive (or prohibitive). If he overperforms, then that 4th year will be happily embraced by the team and the fanbase.

  • Yank the Frank

    I’m just glad it’s behind us. There is no better available alternative. Jete’s can still put up some good offensive numbers. I never get tired of the jump throw from deep short except now it may come from slightly to the right of short but whatever.

    • nathan

      No better alternative? I dont think we tried alternatives.

  • Monteroisdinero

    So Jeets bats leadoff?

  • OldYanksFan

    It has been pointed out that in MLB history, other iconic players have been traded or otherwise treated shabbily in their late years. However, considering we are NY, and the current technology that has exponentially more fan involvement then ever before, I do believe this ‘Jeter Incident’ was a totally unique situation.

    Considering Jeter’s ego and his (internal) competition with ARod, there was simply NO WAY these negotiations would go smoothly. It’s interesting that while Mo actually had another offer, and yet still signed with the Yankees for the SAME amount, that Jeter, with absolutely no offers, could ask for such an unrealistic contract.

    I believe Cashman knew he would have to vastly overpay Jeter, the only question was by how much, and his only job to limit the damage as much as possible.

    While I don’t like the media involvement in these negotiations, considering the size (before negotiaitons begun) of the ‘Pay him ANYTHING he wants’ crowd, I think Cashman needed a barometer of fan opinion. I don’t think Cashman reads RAB everday, but this issue must have literally generated thousands and thousands of fan responses on baseball and Yankee blogs across the Internet, and I do believe they were monitored by Yankeedom.

    I think Cashman did an AMAZING job in this uniquely difficult transaction. I thought 3/$56.7m was inevitable and am very pleased Cashman held the line. To ‘take Jeter down a notch’ and get him to ‘drink the reality potion’, and yet do so without damaging Jeter’s reputation and future with the Yankees was no easy task.

    While there were some ‘bad vibes’ along the way, Cashman really played his hand perfectly. We really coundn’t step on Jeter’s throat or let him walk. Yet the gap between his real value, say 2/$20m, and what he was asking for was huge. HUGE! Grand Canyon sized.

    I was never as big a Jeter fan as many. I’m a Yankees fan. Jeter has always been a bit too cool for me, but I admired the way he has established his reputation. To me, this episode showed us a little about the real ‘Mr. Team First’. To me, I don’t think Jeter is really that cool after all.

    • Kiko Jones

      I was never as big a Jeter fan as many. I’m a Yankees fan. Jeter has always been a bit too cool for me…To me, this episode showed us a little about the real ‘Mr. Team First’. To me, I don’t think Jeter is really that cool after all.


      Yeah, not the best choice for a Capt either. As far as I can tell, past Yankee captains weren’t aloof and detached. Just “leading by example” cannot be your exclusive claim for leadership. Jeter always seemed the too cool for school type, not someone who would mentor a young player—has he mentored anyone?—or lay down the law in the clubhouse, which is why someone like Posada comes across as the quintessential team captain, IMHO. (Or Mo, for that matter.)

  • Bill O.

    I’m not part of the “blank check crew,” but I don’t think people are giving Jeter enough credit for getting this done quickly. It seemed that immediately after Jeter himself was brought into the fray this thing got resolved pretty quickly and the contract was much closer to team terms. I think Casey Close swung for the fences here and when Jeter realized that the Yankees wouldn’t bite the two sides negotiated a deal pretty quickly.

    Jeter could’ve easily let this thing draw out and could’ve got more money in the process. That said he never seriously considered another team and did just enough to ensure a reasonable contract.

    People quickly forget that Jeter was a top MVP candidate in 2009. His 2010 was a forgettable season, but he is not far removed from elite level performance. His defense also has been aceeptable.

    • nathan

      Jeter could’ve easily let this thing draw out and could’ve got more money in the process. That said he never seriously considered another team and did just enough to ensure a reasonable contract.


      Jeter could’ve easily let this thing draw out and could’ve got more money in the process. That said no other team seriously considered Jeter and wanted to dump money on an unreasonable contract.

  • gc

    Sorry, but I didn’t find a single thing amusing or entertaining about this whole episode. Everyone keeps saying that it was a foregone conclusion he would re-sign, and I agree. That being the case, for it to have even gotten remotely ugly (and publicly so) doesn’t make me laugh or entertain me or give me any sort of pleasure or satisfaction. It never should have played out this way, we shouldn’t have heard word one in the press about it until it was settled, and all I’m left with is wondering why it had to be that way with, of all players, this player for this team.