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Everybody's comfortable in the Bronx

Hey, it's only a distraction if you let it distract you. From the New York Post:

    When Brian Cashman looks at Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi, the Yankees’ GM paints his shortstop, closer and manager with the same brush.

    And with spring training opening next week in Tampa, Cashman has no plans to stray from his plan of not negotiating with them.

    All three contracts are in the final year.

    “I don’t think you can separate one from the other,” Cashman explained. “I am not saying they are the same, but the questions will come, ‘If you did one, why didn’t you do the other?’ If this was Kansas City, it would be different -- but it’s not.”

    --snip--

    While it’s almost impossible to think Rivera and Jeter will ever wear another uniform, they likely won’t accept pay cuts. Rivera could take it year to year, but Jeter, who with 2,747 hits has an outside chance at 4,000, will be looking for multiple years. Some believe he should make at least what Alex Rodriguez earns a year ($27.5 million).

    “Everybody signed those contracts and there is a lot of money being made and people are comfortable,” said Cashman, who is signed through 2011 and never lobbied for an extension when he was in the final year of a deal.

It's not impossible for me to think about Rivera or Jeter wearing another uniform, because I can't read their minds. Rivera is 40 years old. I expect him to pitch brilliantly at 40 because he pitched brilliantly at 39. But what if he doesn't? What if the Yankees want him back in 2011 anyway, but as a setup man and for significantly less money than he's been making? It's easy for us to say that Rivera would rather take a pay cut to pitch for the Yankees -- or perhaps not pitch at all -- than to wear some other uniform, but can we know that's true? Can Rivera know that's true, before he's forced to make that decision?

With veterans, it's almost always better for the team to wait, because an old player's value can (almost) only go down. I think it's preposterous to suggest that Jeter should make "at least what Rodriguez earns," considering that Jeter will be 36 when he gets his next deal. I mean, it's not my money and the Yankees can pay Jeter whatever they like. But one of the things that's characterized Cashman's tenure -- particularly since becoming relatively unfettered -- is his unwillingness to spend money just to spend money, or because someone says he's supposed to.

Expiring contracts are a problem only when the parties make it a distraction. I don't believe that's going to happen here. Because as Cashman says, money's being made, people are comfortable and a lot of games are being won.