The tension between the New York Yankees organization and Derek Jeter is palpable.
The Yankees have offered the 36 year old shortstop a three year deal worth 45 million dollars. This is a significant pay cut from his last contract which paid him 189 million dollars over 10 seasons. At the time Jeter signed the contract he was the second highest paid player in Major League Baseball trailing only Alex Rodriguez.
Despite the fact that he is coming off his statistically worst season as a professional, Jeter feels that the offer was insulting to someone of his caliber. Still, the captain hit for a .270 average and had an on-base percentage of .340. Additionally, Jeter won his fifth Gold Glove award, committing only six errors, his lowest total of his career.
But Jeter and his agent are unreasonably far apart from the Yankees in both years and money offered. Casey Close, Jeter's agent, supposedly asked the Yankees for a four or five year deal with money in the range of 23 to 24 million dollars per year.
Over 20 million dollars per year is an astronomical amount for any player, but for a 36 year old shortstop coming off of his least productive offensive season it is absolutely ludicrous.
Evidently, Jeter is counting on his intangibles and reputation as a Yankee to support his claim to that high of a salary. Jeter may be the Yankees' all-time hits leader, the captain of the team and one of the favorite Yankees of all time, but Major League Baseball is first and foremost a business. The New York Yankees may have the highest grossing revenue of every team in baseball, but the franchise cannot simply just give away money, especially considering the luxury tax implications at their payroll levels.
Where will Jeter end up?
Recently, Sports Illustrated has reported that the Yankees may be willing to raise their offer slightly, but nowhere near the level of Jeter's asking price.
The Yankees seem ill-prepared to let Jeter walk. Eduardo Nunez has little professional experience and the free agency market for shortstop is not very attractive.
With news that Giants' shortstop Juan Uribe may very well be bolting south to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants have expressed possible interest in Jeter.
The nightmare illustrated by the New York Post last week could very well come true and the Red Sox could offer Jeter tons of money just to spite the Yankees.
The Cardinals and Twins have openings at shortstop and could be looking for the postseason experience that Jeter has.
In all likelihood, something should get done between the Yankees and Jeter. Derek Jeter is the iconic Yankee of the last 15 years, and he will one day have his own statue in Yankee Stadium.
For now, Yankees fans will have to sit on pins and needles to see if Jeter will give up his outrageous demands or whether the Yankees are willing to overpay for their captain.