We know the Yankees want to sign Derek Jeter for three years at $45 million. And, reportedly, Jeter’s camp wants either four years at $92 million or five years at $115 million. Seems like a wide gap, no? But, actually, there’s a simple way to get this one.
First, forget five years. That’s not happening.
And, while the Yankees don’t want to go to four years, they can offer him four – with a team option/buy-out on the fourth year – by front loading the contract with “milestone marketing agreement bonuses” (like they have with A-Rod!) on the front end. Here’s how I would do it:
Pay Derek Jeter $19 million in base salary for 2011 (splitting the difference between $15 and $23 million) and give him a $6 million “marketing agreement” bonus this season when he gets his 3,000th career hit. This is the same amount of bonus that A-Rod will get for hitting his 660th career homerun.) This gives Jeter $25 million in 2011 – a number that he cannot be unhappy about, right?
Pay Jeter $20 million in base salary for 2012. Period.
Pay Jeter $20 million in base salary for 2013 and give him a $6 million “marketing agreement” bonus this season when he gets his 3,320th career hit – setting the record for hits by a right-handed batter, lifetime, in the American League. (Note, if Jeter is productive for three seasons, he should get this mark. But, if not, the Yankees could save $6 million here.)
Pay Jeter $17 milion for 2014. But, have a team option on this season. If they Yankees take the option, they pay Jeter the $17 million. But, if they don’t exercise the option, they have to “buy out” Jeter for $6 million.
With this deal, the Jeter has the potential to earn $88 million over four years – which is an average of $22 million per season. There’s no way he cannot be happy with that. And, if Jeter blows up, at the worst, the Yankees would owe him $71 million and only have him for three seasons. Granted, that’s $26 million more than they are offering him now. But, the Yankees can figure out where to get that extra $8.67 million a year (for three years)…of this I have no doubt.
And, if the Yankees offer this to Jeter and be balks, then you let him go and hold your head high – because you more than made him a fair offer and no one could beef about it.