Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hypocrisy Alert: Mike Lupica (!) calls Yankee brass "thin-skinned"

Mike Lupica's got a lot of nerve. The New York Daily News columnist who first wrote the news about Casey Close being "baffled" about the way the Yankees were negotiating with his client Derek Jeter, is still carrying Team Jeter's water. Today, he called the Yankees "thin-skinned" for daring to respond to Close's comments:
Over the past few days the Yankees seem to have lost their minds because Jeter's agent, Casey Close, told me Saturday night that he finds the Yankees' negotiating strategy "baffling."

Not stupid. Not cheap. Not arrogant. Not insulting. Baffling. But in the thin-skinned world of the Yankees, they acted as if Close were Larry Lucchino of the Red Sox calling them the "Evil Empire" all over again.
I find it hilarious that Lupica would call the Yankees "thin-skinned." That's so rich, coming from a sportswriter who will not allow readers to leave comments on his stories, who will not list an email for readers to respond to (and who used to run a fake email in his columns to direct readers to nowhere), and who reportedly had sports columnist Jason Whitlock banned from ESPN's "Sports Reporters" show for daring to disagree with him.  Guess it takes one to know one.

And let's remember what Jeter's agent actually said, as much as Lupey wants to whitewash it; in today's column, Lupica left out the whole Babe Ruth comparison Close made to him earlier in the week. Here's what Close said:
There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling.”

Then Close said: “They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”
Yet Lupica's surprised the Yankees would take exception to that? Spare me.

Lupey continues:
The Yankees act as if Close is the one who ramped up the rhetoric, and not the other way around. You know when the rhetoric really started on this thing? When Hal Steinbrenner said a few weeks ago that the Jeter negotiation "could get messy" before it ever really began.
Here's what I think happened. My guess is that the Yankees had a fairly good idea, even before their official meeting with Jeter and his agent, about how much he thought he was worth. So they knew things "could get messy," which is why they did that pre-emptive strike in the press. Why else would they bring up the issue in the first place?

We still don't know exactly what figure Jeter wants -- if Lupica is privy to that figure, he isn't sharing -- but he does suggest what he thinks is a reasonable contract:

How about you take the average that Jeter just made over the last 10 years - it would work out to $18.9 million a year - and make that the three-year offer. And if Jeter is still hitting .300 at the end of that, a fourth year, for the same money, automatically kicks in.

That way Jeter isn't asked to take a salary cut after everything he has meant to the Yankees and continues to mean. You know what the difference is between $57 million for three years and what the Yankees are offering Jeter? It's just a little more than the Yankees paid Javy Vazquez last season.
A few points:

* For somebody who whines about the Yankees payroll advantage as much as Lupica does, he's awfully quick to demand that they overpay here, isn't he? And he acts like an additional $12 to $30 million is chickenfeed.
* As much as I was against the Javy trade from Day 1, it wasn't the Yankees who agreed to pay him $11 million; it was the Atlanta Braves who gave him that contract.

* This "pay cut" nonsense is awfully reminiscent of Joe Torre's whining over the Yankees' last contract offer to him.

* And, if I remember correctly, you can award players for reaching certain milestones, and have options kick in when they reach innings goals. But it's my understanding that you can't have options go into effect over things like hitting a certain number, or winning X number of games.

As for Brian Cashman saying that Jeter should test the free agency market, if he thinks he can get a better deal, Lupica has this to say:

Test the market, Cashman says.

Come on. Brian Cashman knows better than anyone that the market is always different here. Especially here. Always here.
It's just the opposite in this particular case. Any other team would have to give Jeter more money, not less, if they wanted him to leave the Yankees. Yet nobody is so far. Shouldn't that tell us something?

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

Lupica is, absolutely, the wrong man to call Yankee management "thin-skinned." But it doesn't make his statement untrue.

Of course, the reason Lupica is taking Jeter's side has nothing to do with him wanting Jeter re-signed so the Yankees can continue to win. He's a New Hampshire native and a Boston College graduate, therefore likely a Red Sox fan, not that he would dare publicly say so; therefore, anything that makes the Yankees look bad, including his consistent slobbering over the Mets, makes him happy.

Lupica's dream is that back page of today's Post, showing Jeter photoshopped into a Red Sox uniform. I wonder, is that the threat it will take to get the Yankees to pay the man? There are times when the fans know more than team management. This is one of those times.

Lisa Swan said...

"There are times when the fans know more than team management. This is one of those times."

I don't know where you get this the sense that the fan base as a whole is on Jeter's side. I would say it's divided, with a lot more people than I would have expected being on the front office's side. Read any newspaper column section, or any fan site, to see how it's divided.

Andy Pettitte had the chance to be a Red Sox (they offered him more money than anybody else in 2003), and he turned it down.

If Jeter goes to the Red Sox, then he really is a fraud with all his talk about Yankee pride.

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