Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brian Cashman speaks out about Derek Jeter controversy

It's so on. If Casey Close thought the Yankees were too harsh on his client Derek Jeter before this week, I wonder what he's thinking after reading today's New York Post, where GM Brian Cashman speaks out against Close's "baffling" remark.

Cash told George King (emphasis added):

“There is nothing baffling about our position,” Cashman said. “We have been very honest and direct with them, not through the press. We feel our offer is appropriate and fair. We appreciate the contributions Derek has made to our organization and we have made it clear to them. Our primary focus is his on-the-field performance the last couple of years in conjunction with his age, and we have some concerns in that area that need to be addressed in a multi-year deal going forward.

“I re-state Derek Jeter is the best shortstop for this franchise as we move forward. The difficulty is finding out what is fair between both sides.”
Cashman also told King that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration, a fact that the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand was apparently unaware of; he has a whole story suggesting the opposite.

I think Derek Jeter and the people around him have really miscalculated his value here, and mishandled these negotiations. For one thing, you know what is missing from the spin from his agent, his trainer, and an insider in the Jeter camp? There was no talk about how Jeter wants to get the Yankee another ring, and no talk about how re-signing him will get the team to that goal. Instead, they're acting like it's a marketing deal or something, with Close comparing Jeter to Babe Ruth (!) as a Yankee icon, and citing his intangibles.

Frankly, the Jeter camp reminds me of that old adage about lawyers: "If you have the law on your side, argue the law; if you have the facts, argue the facts; if you have neither, pound the table." There is a lot of table-pounding going on right now.

Look, Jeter has the right to ask for whatever he wants, although in an age of double-digit unemployment, him griping about only making $15 million a year might not go over so well among fans. But the thing is, as I've said before, his image is based on him being somebody who cares more about being a Yankee than about money. He's supposed to be the guy who is all about team and all about winning. I've always thought that the mystique was a bit much -- I've watched the media build up so many athletes as saints, only to see years later that they had feet of clay. And the next time Jeter gives the Yankees a hometown discount will be the first time.

But Jeter and his agent can't have it both ways. If they're going to treat this like a business, they can't be surprised when the Yankees do the same thing in return. And, as I keep on saying, the longer this negotiation goes on, the worse this looks for Jeter.

For one thing, he can't count on all the media uncritically stating his case, as they've done in the past. Look at how Joel Sherman of the Post has done quite the turnaround here. Just a few weeks ago, he was suggesting the Yankees pay Jeter $75 million in a 25-year personal services contract. Today, he writes a pretty tough column about the negotiations:
Derek Jeter’s position when it comes to his contract negotiations appears to be this: I am Derek Jeter, pay me.

It doesn’t matter he has almost no leverage or he is coming off his worst season or the production of shortstops 37 and older in major league history is dismal.

Logic and facts are not supposed to matter. All that is supposed to matter is this: I am Derek Jeter, pay me....

When Jeter had the leverage a decade ago, he translated it into a 10-year, $189 million contract. Now the Yankees are not supposed to use their leverage. Why? Because I am Derek Jeter, pay me.

The Jeter camp described the negotiations as baffling. Really? It is baffling that the Yankees want to pay Jeter for what he is and what he projects to be in his declining seasons rather than for what he was?

They already have paid $205 million for his prime, a little fact the Jeter camp does not acknowledge much publicly. After all, it is hard to evoke sympathy with the fans/media about disrespect when the disrespecting party is offering a deal that would make Jeter a lifetime quarter-of-a-billion dollar player.....Yes, now we will hear about intangibles. But how did those intangibles translate last year when Jeter led the majors in making outs?
All the "I'm Derek Jeter, pay me" lines seem to echo the "bleep you, pay me" scene in "GoodFellas," where the mafiosos want to get paid by the businesses who owe them money, no matter what financial issues they may be having.  I wonder if that is intentional on Sherman's part.

Sherman also writes, "Jeter can’t argue the age or production concerns well, so he will try emotion, tied to throwing out ceremonial first pitches in 2021 or some other nonsense. It all comes down to this argument, though: I am Derek Jeter, pay me."

What do you think? Tell us about it!

No comments:

Search This Blog