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Yanks, Jeter impasse much to do about nothing

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball's Hot Stove must be slow getting started because the biggest story this offseason has to be the biggest non- story I have encountered since taking over the baseball beat here at the Sports Network.

I have put off writing about the New York Yankees-Derek Jeter situation because I just don't think that there is anything to write about. The bad feelings may be there, because we all know negotiations are never easy, but in the end, is there anyone out there who thinks Derek Jeter is going to be playing anywhere other than the Bronx next season?

Everyone has seen the headlines. The two sides are $100 million apart, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Jeter can go shop around, Jeter is being greedy ... blah, blah, blah.

It is very simple. The New York Yankees need Derek Jeter just as bad as he needs them. Can you imagine the public relations hit the team would take if he were to reach 3,000 hits in any other uniform than the pinstripes?

And believe me, Jeter knows full well how is legacy would be affected if he left and finished his career somewhere else. Jeter is the face of Major League Baseball because he is a Yankee, not because he plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Derek Jeter's negotiations are unlike any the Yankees have had to go through.
Shortly after the World Series ended I remember reading an article that said the San Francisco Giants were closely monitoring the Jeter situation in case things fell apart with the Yankees. Really? I hope Brian Sabean has a Plan B, because I can't picture Jeter applauding politely in the dugout on Opening Day at AT&T Park when the Giants get their World Series rings.

It is not a matter of if Jeter is going to get a deal done with the Yankees, it is simply a matter of when.

Jeter's negotiations are unlike any the Yankees have had to go through. His value to them is more off the field than it is on the field. But, let's be honest here, it's not as if Jeter is a slouch. Sure he had the worst statistical season of his career, but he still hit .270 with 111 runs scored.

Not to mention he won another Gold Glove. And yes I was able to type that with a straight face.

The Yankees opened with a strong offer of $15 million per season for Jeter, who apparently wants around $23 million a year, but not the $150 million total deal that was being reported last week. There is middle ground there and when you consider the numbers being thrown around, it really isn't that far apart.

Cashman, though, could probably stick to his guns here because Jeter is not going to get that kind of money anywhere else and he knows that. Plus I am sure he knows Jeter wants no part of leaving.

The thing that I keep coming back to is that I just can't imagine the Yankees getting cheap with Jeter the year before he is going to become the first player in team history to reach 3,000 hits.

Sorry, I am not buying it. Does anyone remember the dog and pony show they put on when he passed Lou Gehrig for the most hits in team history? And trust me, that tribute is going to pale in comparison to what they plan when he reaches 3,000 hits.

I am guessing when it is all said and done you will read that the Yankees and Jeter settle on a four-year, $68 million deal with a team option for a fifth year. Throw an $8 million buyout in there and everyone should be happy.

It might not make perfect business sense to overpay Jeter, but when has a few bucks ever stopped the Yankees from doing anything? I don't think they are going to start at Jeter's expense.

The Yanks could even mix in some performance clauses like they did with Alex Rodriguez. If Jeter gets to 3,500 hits, he gets a few more bucks. Then go from there, 3.750, 4,000. Whatever. In the end, Jeter wants to be treated like A- Rod. I think he has probably earned that.

Don't be shocked if this deal gets done sometime this week, so the Yankees can turn their attention to Mariano Rivera and, of course, Cliff Lee, as the Winter Meetings start a week from Monday.

In the end, Jeter is the guy who played with Mattingly, who played with Murcer, who played with Mantle, who played with DiMaggio, who played with Gehrig, who played with Ruth. He is the link in the chain to the past and he's not going anywhere.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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