Derek Jeter contract situation getting interesting in New York

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter removes his batting helmet after being defeated by the Boston Red Sox in their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts October 3, 2010.   REUTERS/Greg M. Cooper (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Normally, whether or not a 36-year-old shortstop with declining skills gets a new contract isn’t big offseason news in baseball. But when that shortstop is Derek Jeter, it’s somewhat compelling stuff. (Ok, so “compelling” might be too strong of a word. “Interesting” would probably be more like it.)

Less than a week ago, the Yankees reportedly offered Jeter a three-year, $45 million contract. Based on his age, his numbers last year and his declining defensive play, most would agree that that’s a pretty fair offer. But Jeter’s agent Casey Close said that the Yankees’ negotiating strategy during contract talks for his client have been “baffling.”

“There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth,” Close said. “Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling. They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”

Chances are if Jeter were to test the open market, he wouldn’t find a better deal than the one the Yankees are offering. And it just so happens that that’s what GM Brian Cashman instructed the Yankee captain to do recently.

When asked about the negotiation process, Cashman said: “He should be nothing but a New York Yankee. He chooses not to be.” He went on to say that Jeter “should test the market” if he doesn’t approve of the club’s offer and that the Yankees have offered multiple deals and received just one counter offer.

But more recently,’s Jon Heyman wrote that the Yankees will likely sweeten their current offer to the free agent. If they do, it should be viewed as a generous move by the club, especially in light of how they would already be overpaying him at three years and $45 million. While Jeter certainly has meant a lot to the Yankees organization, he seems to be overestimating his worth right now. There’s no way he’d come close to earning that much money for that many years on the open market and if the Bombers were to sweeten the deal, it would be staggering if he and his agent declined their offer.

In the end, Jeter will most likely remain in pinstripes. The Yankees aren’t going to let one of their legends play for another club and while these talks have gotten somewhat ugly over the last couple of days, it’s just business in the end. He’ll be back, but grab your popcorn because if these last couple of days are any indication, things are about to get interesting in the Bronx over the next month.

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