Jim Baumbach, today, considers what’s going to happen when Derek Jeter’s contract expires after 2010. Here’s a snip:
But in this city, Jeter is not any other player. That’s why the Yankees will have so little negotiating power. They must re-sign him because of who he is and what he represents. But can the Yankees seriously ask Jeter to take a pay cut after they rewarded A-Rod with the richest contract ever in the wake of his infuriating opt-out?
Whether the negotiating process of Jeter’s extension will be the responsibility of the GM or the team president, the chief operating officer and the two Steinbrenner sons remains to be seen. But the bottom line is that the GM will be the one who will feel the pinch of working around this contract in addition to A-Rod’s.
And that’s not even taking into account what position management might want Jeter to be playing come 2011, which will be the first year of his extension. Second base? First base? Leftfield?
A year from now, Jeter will be about to enter the final year of his deal. It’s been team policy in recent years to let their own players play out their contracts, then negotiate when they become free agents. The Yankees did it with Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, and both turned huge walk years into more lucrative deals – in terms of money and years – than they would have received before those walk years.
Figuring out how to deal with this is not a top priority this offseason. But it’s something the Yankees and their GM will have to plan for, and soon.
Me? I’m thinking – if the Yankees are smart – you offer Jeter a lifetime contract. On the front end, it’s $125 million over the first five years as a player, with a $20 million signing bonus. And, then, starting in 2016, it’s one million a year for the next 25 years for “personal services” representing the team at an agreed upon number of functions, etc. That’s a fair offer – and one that would not insult Jeter.
Would that combination of having an older Jeter and an aging A-Rod making so much money, together, be an issue for the Yankees payroll during the seasons of…say…2012 through 2015?
Sure, it might. But, there’s no way that the Yankees can let Jeter play for another team after the 2010 season…unless he hits something like .190 over the next two years. So, the Yankees – mostly Hank, actually – should have thought about that before they gave the house to A-Rod.