Hold On, Yankees: Hardball Negiotiations For the Immortal Derek Jeter

Sal DeRose@@TheSalDeRoseCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2010

The Yankee captain, Derek Jeter
The Yankee captain, Derek JeterAl Bello/Getty Images

For 15 years, Derek Jeter has worn the immortal pinstripes. In that time, he has made a name for himself, becoming the first Yankees captain since the retirement of Don Mattingly, bringing the world renowned New York Yankees five more titles and ultimately becoming the Yankees all-time hit leader and becoming 74 hits away from baseball immortality with 3,000 hits.

Jeter is forever the iconic Yankee, the one everyone will try to emulate. There is no denying his accomplishments and what he brings to the table marketing-wise. Derek Jeter is the Yankees and the New York Yankees are Derek Jeter—there is no going around it.

Watching him play and his true professionalism on and off the field during his tenure has been truly a privilege and an honor. Never will another Derek Jeter grace the field at New Yankee Stadium.

New Yankee Stadium was supposed to become “The House that Jeter Built” but, as of right now it seems like that idea might be put on hold.

The Yankees have had hardball negotiations with the 11-time All-Star. His numbers last year read something like this; .270 batting average, 10 home runs and 67 runs batted in, playing in 157 games.

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That batting average is 44 points off his career batting average of .314, and in fact, it is his worst batting average ever. Even with those poor numbers and his range at shortstop clearly diminishing, Derek Jeter was able to win the Gold Glove this season and rightfully deserved. No one plays shortstop like Jeter, not one player.

All in all, what the Yankees are doing is wrong but understandable. Why give $25 million and four years to a guy whose starting to act his age? No team wants to pay a 36-year-old shortstop who soon won’t be able to play shortstop anymore that kind of money. It is absurd to say the least.

But, you have to look at it from this angle, that this is after all Derek Jeter. He can’t play anywhere else. That is like Joe Montana playing for the Chiefs, or when Michael Jordan came back and played for the Wizards or Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform.

It is Derek Jeter—you can’t get around that. He is the Yankees captain and will forever have that title he so rightfully earned. This upcoming season, barring some long lasting injury (knock on wood), Jeter will break 3,000 hits.

Look, Jeter was due for a down year. Everyone who plays or watches sports knows every player eventually hits that snag. It just did not happen with Jeter until he was 36.

Fact of the matter is Jeter deserves a four-year contract and whatever increase the Yankees are now giving him. So what if he is diminishing in his play.

There would be riots in the streets if Jeter were to play for another team; it would be blasphemy at it’s finest. You can’t avoid the public onslaught that would ensue if Jeter left.

The Yankees need to offer him a contract that would suit Jeter no matter how long. What he brings to the table can’t be defined by stats at all. It can’t be described by anything else but watching the glorious No. 2 get on the fresh cut field of New Yankee Stadium in pinstripes and in nothing else.

Although writing this, I am biased toward the Yankees, but as a sports fan, this is wrong on so many levels. It is worse than Favre, worse than Jordan and worse than Montana.

If Jeter were to leave, it would not only be big news just in the United States but around the world just because of what the Yankees, and Jeter, stand for.