Four years before hanging up the pinstripes for good, Derek Jeter reportedly was told by Brian Cashman exactly where he stood during testy contract negotiations with the New York Yankees general manager.
According to Sports Illustrated, Jeter, in the midst of talks after the 2010 season, asked Cashman whom he'd rather have playing shortstop for the Yankees.
Cashman's answer: Troy Tulowitzki, among others.
"Do you really want me to answer that?" Cashman told Jeter, according to SI. "We're not paying extra money for popularity. We're paying for performance."
Jeter was coming off a 2010 season in which he had 10 home runs, 67 RBIs and a then-career-low .270 batting average. Tulowitzki, meanwhile, was coming off another stellar season with the Colorado Rockies, belting 27 home runs with 95 RBIs and a .315 average.
Jeter, who was seeking a four- to six-year deal in the area of $22 million to $24 million a year, eventually signed a three-year, $51 million extension with the Yankees, with whom he retired after 20 seasons in 2014. Tulowitzki was traded to Toronto this season and has sparked the Blue Jays' run toward the top of the AL East standings, where they trail the Yankees by two games entering Thursday.
Cashman told the New York Daily News on Wednesday that he didn't provide any quotes from Jeter's negotiations to Sports Illustrated but that he "didn't confirm or deny" the report and didn't take issue with it. He confirmed that SI spent time with him but also that the magazine talked to others and "did a lot of homework."
And although Cashman said Jeter was the "greatest player I will have ever had," the general manager told the Daily News that he still has a job to do and has no problem answering players' questions "directly and honestly."
"Sometimes honesty hurts. But if you're being paid to do a job, do the job," Cashman told Sports Illustrated. "You have to honor the job description; if not, you're a fraud or stealing money. You can't fake your way doing this. You either do it or you don't."