Whether things have grown more tense behind the scenes is hard to say, but certainly the public perception of the Yankees negotiations with Derek Jeter have taken a turn in the past 48 hours or so. The latest public comments come from Hank Steinbrenner — not Hal — who spoke to the Associated Press. Here’s the AP story.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hank Steinbrenner has a message as the New York Yankees negotiate to re-sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
“As much as we want to keep everybody, we’ve already made these guys very, very rich, and I don’t feel we owe anybody anything monetarily,” the Yankees co-chairman said Tuesday. “Some of these players are wealthier than their bosses.”
New York has made a $45 million, three-year offer to Jeter, a baseball executive with knowledge of the proposal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because it wasn’t made public.
“We’ve encouraged him to test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this,” general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com, without confirming the figure. “If he can, fine. That’s the way it works.”
Jeter is coming off a $189 million, 10-year contract that was second only to Alex Rodriguez’s deals of $252 million and $275 million, both over a decade.
Now 36, Jeter hit .270 with 10 homers, down from a .334 average and 18 homers the previous season. While his RBIs increased by one to 67, his on-base percentage fell from .406 to .340 and his slugging average dropped from .465 to .370.
An off year or the start of a career-ending tailoff? No way to tell.
But without the threat of negotiations involving other teams, there’s little pressure for either side to make a deal quickly.
“Do we want to keep Derek? Of course we do, obviously,” Steinbrenner said. “Obviously we all want to keep Derek and we all want to keep Mo.”
Steinbrenner remains confident deals will be reached to keep the pair.
“I don’t think in the end they will be unreasonable,” he said. “It’s going to come down to what’s fair for everybody considering all circumstances.”
Associated Press photo