I would like to begin this post by stating I am not a Derek Jeter fan, but I do respect him as a player. What he has done over the past decade and a half has truly been amazing. Not so long ago, he was one of baseball's best players, but now he is clearly in decline and with his 10 year $189M contract coming to an end it is time for a new deal to be struck. The Yankees have an astronomical payroll, but even they need to be mindful of how much money and for how long they invest it. It has been reported that Jeter wants 4 or more years and likely $20M per season...unreasonable. The Yankees have offered him a 3 year deal for $45M...a good faith extension to their longest tenured player who has only known the feel of Yankee pinstripes. Jeter's not having it, he wants more. Why?
Jeter is 36 years old. In 16 seasons (15 full) he's racked up 1685 R, 2926 H, 468 2B, 61 3B, 234 HR, 1135 RBI, 323 SB, and a slash line of .314/.385/.452. He is an 11 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glove winner (some undeserved), and been named the AL's Silver Slugger at shortstop 4 times. He is the Yankees' captain. He handles himself with grace in the media and is the face of the franchise. In 147 postseason games he has batted .305/.850 and has bee a member of 5 World Series champions. He's Cooperstown bound following retirement.
Last season he batted .270/.710, his worst season ever, by far. That's a red flag.
Then there's the argument of the intangibles. I am willing to concede that Jeter is a great man and has been everything the Yankees could have ever dreamed of and more. How much is that worth monetarily? The leading factor in determining a contraction is current and supposed future production. Jeter was fairly compensated during his career (Baseball-Reference lists his career earnings at $205,430,000) and 3 years/$45M is a far greater offer than he would receive on the open market. If he were truly to test free agency I would be surprised to see anyone go higher than 3 years/$30M, and that might be a stretch. Players on the downside of their careers that have seen a drastic drop in production in their contract year typically don't get big deals. Derek Jeter is not your typical baseball player though, he's a legend.
I've been listening to XM radio and Yankee fans are calling saying that the Yankees are low-balling Jeter and are disrespecting him. Tons of them have said, "Just give him the checkbook and have him decide his own contract." Really? I'm willing to bet these same Yankees fans are gonna be pissed when Derek Jeter is forced to DH duties and is barely batting .260/.700 and is a financial burden. Like I said above, Jeter is a legend. I'd love to see him stick around into his 40's and continue to rack up hits, but the bottom line is those hits are going to be coming fewer and farther between...just how long do the Yankees want to be paying for that?
*The Phillies will soon encounter the same situation with the face of their franchise and longest tenured member- Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll is not of the same caliber of Jeter, but he is the Phils version of Jeter. It'll be interesting to see how Amaro handles this delicate endeavor.