A byproduct of this process is the perception that Jeter has gotten greedy. That bothers Tino Martinez, a close friend of Jeter and a special assistant to Cashman.
"It's making it seem like he is greedy, Martinez said of the public opinion. "He is not being greedy. He is going through a baseball negotiation like everybody else. It's made him look like he doesn't know what's happening in the real world, and he is not like that.
"This guy gives millions to charity. He is only going through a baseball negotiation and for people to think he is greedy, that bothers me. Derek is my friend, and I would say the same thing about Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. They all are quality people.
If Jeter asking for more money per season than he ever earned in his career, after the worst season he ever had, during the most brutal economic times since the Great Depression isn't greedy, then what is? I mean, really.
While it's great that Jeter gives money to charity, that doesn't mean that he deserves to be paid $80-100 million more than he's worth for doing so. It doesn't work that way.
And Tino sets up a bit of a straw man for his good friend by bringing Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera into the conversation. They're all going through negotiations with the Yankees, but by the accounts so far, Mo and Andy don't appear to be asking for anything unreasonable. Jeter is.
As for the idea that asking for such a huge contract is a standard part of negotiations, Johnny Damon is living proof that this doesn't always work with the Yankees. Heck, Damon had a great 2009, with 24 homers and the most memorable play of the World Series. But when he started making noise about not taking a pay cut, Brian Cashman lost interest pretty quickly.
Granted, I thought the Yankees should have re-signed Damon, and that Cashman's last-minute, $2 million offer to Johnny was insulting. That being said, Damon and agent Scott Boras' initial demand for two years at $13 million each season was unreasonable.
Damon talked to George King about Jeter's contract situation, saying:
"There is no way around it, older players are being looked at differently," he said. "But what a lot of people forget is that guys like me and Jeter, we came out at the same time and we are special players. If things need to get done on a baseball field, we get it done."
If I were Damon, I would have told King in the Post's interview to tell Jeter to lower his demands right now. But King didn't appear to directly ask him about how his negotiation failed for him. The Yanks offered him $7 million, he balked at that, then Cashman did the $2 million offer, then Damon finally ended up signing with the Detroit Tigers for $8 million.
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