Home > Uncategorized > Ending the Jeter Madness…

Ending the Jeter Madness…

And just like that, the hostage situation ended. Thank god; I simply cannot imagine the turmoil that poor New York Yankee fans must have been suffering. Watching as their franchise threw their iconic captain under the bus, day after day, with all the balls that can be mustered by “unnamed sources.” Being subjected to wildfire rumors of their captain wearing the enemies uniform, and suffering sleepless nights as they wondered whether Derek Jeter would decide, ‘F*** this, I’m taking my talents to the Bay Area.’ Finally, they can rest easy, the Yankees have re-signed Derek Jeter. What remains confusing is, how the deuce did this get so ugly?

I mean, I could understand why the Yankees thought that 45 million for three years was reasonable, and I can understand that they felt it was bad for their organization to be spending 50 odd million yearly on a 123 year old left side of the infield, but what I couldn’t understand was the constant pot-shots at Jeter. I mean, I guess that the Yanks were trying to win a PR battle in the off chance that Jeter left, but really it just seemed petty, petulant, and puerile. Of course, each of those words would seem to describe the Steinbrenner sons, which perhaps explains the smear job.

Did the Yanks overpay Derek Jeter? Well, yes. And did they give him more than any other team would have? Well, yes, but that’s not exactly the point here. Derek Jeter isn’t worth more because he’s Derek Jeter, and the fastest way for a top team to succumb to the middle is to overpay for past success, but what exactly would the harm have been if they’d stepped out immediately and offered him say, 60 for three? Jeter surely would have wanted a fourth year, so the negotiating team of Randy Levine and Brian Cashman could have wiggled and bartered a fourth year based around the same parameters that they did for this contract. Sixty for three would have kept Jeter’s decline-years salary in line with what he’d made with his last contract. While it wasn’t the 25 he was looking for, it would have kept him in the glorified 20 million club. Most importantly, it would have saved the undermining of Jeter’s status with the franchise.

From Jeter’s perspective, I can understand his confusion over the Yankees taking a hardline stance, even one that empirically was fair. Two years ago the Yankees dropped 423.5 million on three players who together had been to no World Series, won only one playoff round, and had a combined 78.4 career WAR. At the same time, Jeter had been to six world series, his team had won four. He’d also been integral to them winning 17 playoff series, and he had a career WAR of 62.3 all by himself. Of course, this negotiation was all about logic, and logic dictates that Jeter can’t get extra credit for what his team accomplished and that he shouldn’t be paid for how good he was. Instead, Jeter should be accepting a contract that pays him requisite to what the market would pay him now during the decline phase of his career…

Except, three years ago the Yankees gave Alex Rodriguez a 275 million 10 year deal that will take him through his age 42 season. The contract pays him 31, 29, and 28 million over the three years that Jeter’s new contract runs, then it pays him another 86 million over the following four years. Just like Jeter now, nobody in 2008 was offering ARod within a hundred million of that deal. Nobody. So why’d they pay ARod three years ago and not Jeter today?

Ultimately, the contract that I suggested above and what the Yanks ultimately offered Jeter is a difference of 9 million over the three years. Nine million. Assuming that the Yanks maintain their current salary in the neighborhood of 215 million, that’s roughly 1.5% of the Yanks budget. 1.5%. Again, I have to ask what the point of this hardline contract negotiation was? What did the Yanks hope to gain? 1.5% freedom in their budget? Seriously, that’s bad math.

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