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."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.
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.
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.”Yet Lupica's surprised the Yankees would take exception to that? Spare me.
Then Close said: “They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”
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.A few points:
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.
* 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.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?
Come on. Brian Cashman knows better than anyone that the market is always different here. Especially here. Always here.
What do you think? Tell us about it!