The New York Yankees have officially announced that 36 year old star shortstop Derek Jeter, has signed a three year, $51 million contract to stay with the team through the 2013 season. The maximum Jeter could earn would be $65 million as a fourth year, incentive-based player option that has been added to the contract based on Jeter's performance over the first three years.
This deal comes on the backside of a great speculation about Jeter's future with the team and extensive negotiations between Jeter's agent, Casey Close, and the Yankees front office led by Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman.
Jeter's negotiations with the team were tenuous and often tense since the end of the 2010 season. After initially requesting a larger deal that the final proposed to the superstar, the Yankees welcomed Jeter to test the free-agent market, but also reportedly told him that he should "drink some reality potion" in regards to his value on the open market.
According to the Yankees, at the center of the difficulties during negotiations was Jeter's failure to recognize that at his age the team was not in a position to offer a long-term extension, or a contract beyond a three-year period. Jeter was initially requesting a longer-term deal with a yearly payout similar to the ten year $189 million dollar contract the Yankees captain signed back in 2000.
Ultimately both the Yankees desire to continue to have Jeter's leadership in the clubhouse, and Jeter's desire to finish his career as a Yankee became deciding factors in the deal getting done.
While Jeter wanted to see a payday which would be equivalent to the salary he had been accustomed to over the past ten summers, it is likely that he became more aware that the bargaining leverage which he had in 2010 was not nearly the same leverage he had in 2000 as the negotiations dragged on.
Derek Jeter has become one of the faces of the New York Yankees, and of professional baseball during his hall-of-fame career. When you think of the Yankees, you think of Jeter. This is invaluable to the Yankees stature as one of the preeminent franchises in professional baseball.
The team made a great decision in meeting Jeter halfway and helping to ensure his legacy as one of the Yankee greats.