Brian Cashman Playing Chicken With Derek Jeter: Smart Move

Jason KimCorrespondent INovember 27, 2010

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees warms up against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Rangers won 10-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

After reports of New York Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter turning down a 3 year, $45 million deal, general manager Brian Cashman told Jeter and his agent Casey Close to test the free agent market.

Criticism fired from all directions at Cashman.

Life long fans couldn't believe that Cashman could let the face of their franchise, a captain, talk to other clubs about possible deals.

Neither could I.

However, this all makes sense in the end.

If you look at Jeter's stats, his batting average dropped from .334 to .270. Don't get me wrong, a .270 hitter with an excellent glove isn't a bad baseball player, but when you get $15 million, that's overpaying.

Some might say that you can't put a tag on Jeter's leadership and his presence in the clubhouse.

But, if you think about it, do you think any other team in baseball would pay a 36 year old player that is declining, more than $15 million per year for multiple years? Especially when he has strong ties to his former team and won't get the best out of him?

Let's look at an example. Let's say the Los Angeles Angels sign Jeter to a 3 year $75 million deal (this will never happen), since that was what Jeter had wanted and that was the only option he had. Jeter isn't going to be a Manny Ramirez, but he won't certainly be able to perform as best as he can. Obviously, there's a better chance he will like playing in New York and will play better.

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All in all, Cashman's move was smart. His thoughts are that after Jeter sees what kind of market is out there for him, he'll realize that $15 million for at least more than 2 years is good enough and he will sign with the Yankees (or maybe increase the annual salary just a bit). Did you actually think Jeter will leave the Yankees just because of money? If so, it means Jeter probably had some scripts for his interviews when talking passion for this team.

There is one flaw though. Jeter is going to retire someday, so why not offer him at least more than 5 years on his new contract?

That's the only question I have, but this whole thing with Cashman playing chicken with Jeter, isn't bad for the team.

Maybe even better.