Via Michael S. Schmidt –
Derek Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, is currently asking the Yankees to agree to a new contract of either four or five years at $23 to $24 million a year, according to a person in baseball who had been briefed on the matter.
The disclosure of what Close is seeking on behalf of Jeter, the 36-year-old Yankee captain and icon, comes just days after it was revealed that the Yankees are offering Jeter a three-year contract for $15 million a year.
That leaves a substantial gap between the sides in a contract standoff that has taken on a surprisingly tough edge and has left many Yankee fans confused and dismayed.
The person familiar with the bargaining, said the Yankees and Close have been frozen at their offers for the last week and that in recent days there had been little, if any, negotiating.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his access to sensitive information.
Still, the current offers — three years at $15 million a year by the Yankees and a maximum five years at $23 to $24 million by Close — suggest an obvious compromise in which the two sides would settle at four years and, say, $19 million a year.
If they did agree on those numbers, it would actually represent a small, but symbolic, annual increase over Jeter’s last contract, which, at the behest of George Steinbrenner, was designed to average a sliver below $19 million a year.
A deal that paid $19 million a year would also allow Jeter to rationalize that he was not taking a pay cut, a point that was emphasized on Friday by one National League executive who has been watching the Jeter situation with interest. That executive said that established stars like Jeter typically found it difficult to take any kind of reduction of pay, even when they have already made enormous amounts of money.
Well, that’s not as bad as the other report that suggested Jeter wanted $150 million over six years. And, if the Yankees offered Jeter four years at $19 million per, I would say that they’ve done everything that was reasonable – and, if Derek walks from that, then Jeter is the “bad guy” here. But, of course, the Yankees have yet to offer anything, reportedly, beyond three years and $45 million.
I wonder if A-Rod, at some point, will offer any opinion on this? Remember, back in the day, when Jeter reportedly would not tell the fans not to “boo” A-Rod…how many in Yankeeland were down on Jeter for not having his teammate’s back? Well, if the fans, during this process, turn on Derek, will Alex throw his two cents into it? You know that Posada, Pettitte and Rivera will have something to say. And, if some others don’t, I doubt it anyone will blame them. Will that extend to A-Rod too? And, was that only a one-way street back when Jeter didn’t ask the fans to support Rodriguez?