Jeter's case springs from the heart

Another from the mailbag about The Most Important Negotiations Ever:

    Rob, as a lifelong Yankees fan and Derek Jeter admirer, I have a question for you.

    As a purely baseball matter, its fairly obvious that a 3 year, $45MM contract offer is pretty generous. I happen to be one of the Yankees fans who think the Yankees are being petty and mean-spirited but not for the reasons I saw in the mailbag, that Jeter is somehow owed it.

    I certainly don't believe that but I do believe the Yankees have picked a bizarre instance to show fiscal restraint especially in light of the AJ Burnett, Javy Vazquez, Kei Igawa and how many others? Why have they picked this battle? With Derek Jeter of all people?

    More importantly, what is so wrong with Casey Close pointing out, that in this instance this is much more than a baseball negotiation. Quite simply, the Yankees may have paid Jeter boatloads over the years but he has helped make them tons of money. And over the next couple of years as he goes for 3000 hits and other milestones they will make buckets more. That's money they won't make if he leaves town. Why shouldn't he get a piece of that?

    Thanks, and happy Thanksgiving.


Thanks for the note, Ken.

I know everybody's sick of this story, but you do bring up a couple of issues that I don't think I've addressed already, so ...

You ask why Jeter shouldn't "get a piece of that" ... But even at 3 years and (only) $45 million, he will be getting a piece of that.

Just doing a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, I estimate that Jeter will be worth roughly $40 million over the next three seasons, purely based on his performance. This assumes that he bounces back nicely in 2011 but otherwise ages typically.

If the Yankees have offered $45 million, that's an extra $5 million piece of that "money they won't make if he leaves town."

I don't know about you, but $5 million still seems like a lot of money to me. And it's generally believed that no other team would give Jeter a three-year contract and $40 million. Let alone $45 million. It seems like the Yankees' offer already includes that extra piece, doesn't it?

What's more, I have to question Jeter's ability to generate a great deal of "extra" income for the Yankees. Yes, everybody wants to see him rack up his 3,000th hit in a Yankees uniform. How many extra tickets can they sell during his march toward 3,000, though? And what happens afterward? You mentioned "other milestones" but I'm not sure what you mean. He's already the Yankees' all-time leader in hits, at-bats, and plate appearances. If he plays for the Yankees in 2011, he'll pass Rickey Henderson for No. 1 in stolen bases and Mickey Mantle for No. 1 in games played. Would you expect the Yankees to sell substantially more tickets and T-shirts and little onesies because of those milestones?

Every little bit helps, I'm sure. But you have to sell a lot of onesies to make $5 million.

Finally, I think at this point it's best to let A.J. Burnett, Javier Vazquez, and Kei Igawa go. It seems like an odd argument, that the Yankees made three mistakes already so why not make another?

More to the point, the Yankees gave Burnett, Vazquez, and Igawa the money because they thought those guys would justify their salaries on the field. You're not suggesting that Jeter be treated the same; you're suggesting that he be treated completely differently. So I can't see their relevance.

The Yankees apparently do have a budget, by the way. And giving Jeter what he's asking for would bust it.

A lot of Yankees fans think three years and $45 million is perfectly fair, if not more than fair. But the Yankees fans who think Jeter deserves a great deal more than $45 million are arguing from their hearts rather than their heads.

Which is fine. Being a fan is about love, and love comes from the heart. What doesn't often come from the heart is a logically compelling argument.