New York Yankees: Starting Early Pre-Free Agency Drama

Kate Conroy@@ladylovespinsSenior Analyst IINovember 5, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  (2nd from L-R) Kerry Wood #39, Mariano Rivera #42, Derek Jeter #2, and Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees look on from the dugout during Game Six of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The latest message from the New York Yankees is that they will not be caught up in the bidding for the Philadelphia Phillies' Jayson Werth or the Tampa Bay Rays' Carl Crawford.

Players are not even legal free agents until Saturday at midnight, so shouldn’t their respective teams be allowed to negotiate without the Yankees butting in yet?

The Yankees made it clear: They want to bring the talents of Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee to the Bronx. Add Lee’s monster deal with new contracts needed for a captain, a living iconic closer and a superstar southpaw who are also three of the infamous Yankees “Core Four.”

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte all command huge paychecks, and let’s hope the new Steinbrenner ownership doesn’t make a mess of what daddy built.

The usually non-confrontational and sensible brother, Hal, made older brother Hank-like public statements in regards to Jeter’s contract talks. Hal’s testimony sounded like a warning to Yankees fans explaining that these proceedings have to work for the business and the pinstripes. Here are Hal’s exact words:

"You just never know with these things... Both parties need to be happy with the deal—that's absolutely going to happen—and that may make things more complicated, I don't know. There's always the possibility that things could get messy. I've got to try to do my job on behalf of the partnership and our partners and everybody else involved with the organization, and Hank and I need to keep a level head and realize... that we're running a business here."

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My only hope is that Hal didn’t mean it to come off as a warning regarding Jeter’s future as a Yankee being in question. I feel I can speak for 99 percent of Yankees fan by saying that turmoil and anarchy would result from losing out captain. God only knows how the players would feel, but I would presume lost and upset.

Truth is, Yankees fans wish those words came out of Hank’s mouth, but they did not.

Jeter’s agents fought right back, making the normally private Jeter’s professional affairs ESPN’s needed replacement for any Brett Favre stories. Jeter’s camp had every right to invalidate Hal’s remarks. Referring to recent comments by Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman, Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, said:

“While it’s not our intent to negotiate the terms of Derek’s free agent contract in a public forum, we do agree with Hal and Brian’s recent comments that this contract is about business and winning championships. Clearly, baseball is a business, and Derek’s impact on the sport’s most valuable franchise can’t be overstated. Moreover, no athlete embodies the spirit of a champion more than Derek Jeter.”

Now Yankees fans should bear in mind that even with the resigning of Jeter, Mo and Pettitte, and if they can get Lee, it doesn’t completely close the door on anything.

Rewind back to the 2008-2009 offseason when the Yankees claimed not to be mixed up in bidding on Mark Teixeira's talents, following the monster signings of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett.

Where is Teixeira playing now?

Exactly my point. So I am not giving up on my dreams of getting Jayson Werth just yet. Having a four-man rotating outfield of Swisher, Granderson, Gardner and Werth (or Crawford) gives significant rest without forfeiting any talent. It adds another quality fast base-runner and power hitter to the lineup, while keeping the group healthy, considering all three were hurting at one point or another in 2009 season.

This should make for some seriously historical Yankees drama. Unlike before, fans want the “older and declining” players to be the first priority.

Looking back to about a week ago, age and experience can still win championships—just go ask the San Francisco Giants World Series MVP or leading regular-season RBI hitter about that.


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