So many times this off-season I have heard people say: "The Yankees should give Derek Jeter whatever contract he wants, he is a Yankee for life!" "Jeter is the Yankees captain! How could you let him go?!" "Barndon, you are insane, why would you bother negotiating with Jeter, he will get upset and give less effort!"
Let me set these people straight: The Yankees do not owe Jeter a blank check. The Yankees haven't taken advantage of Jeter. I certainly wouldn't call a 10 year, $189 million deal taking advantage of Jeter, and I wouldn't call a 3 year, $45 million deal taking advantage of Jeter. Jeter is not worth $15 million a year. Whether or not he cares to believe or realize that is up to him, but he wants a deal more like 4 years for $80 million.
If Jeter was to get a 4 year, $80 million deal, he would be making more than the AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, who is 24 years old and has a 5 year, $78 Million contract. Hernandez could have gotten more on the open market if he waited and let his years under team control run out, but he sacrificed that for the good of the team.
I'm not trying to suggest that Felix Hernandez is as important to Mariners history as Derek Jeter is to Yankees history, but what I am suggesting is that Hernandez could have gotten more money, but he chose to not wait and milk the team for every dollar and year possible. Jeter is trying to make a great business deal, but he needs to realize that the best thing for the future of the Yankees is to agree to the 3 year, $45 million offer, one that still pays him about double his worth each year.
Derek Jeter is extremely valuable to Yankees history and that is a fact. All this talk about Jeter leaving isn't even believable. Jeter doesn't accept $15 million a year from the Yankees... then what? The Giants sign him for $7 million a year? The Yankees have the leverage and should use it. If Jeter doesn't want to put effort into the game, that shows his true character and maybe he wasn't this great Yankee all along. That won't happen. Jeter is bigger than one contract, or at least I hope so.
Put 3 years, $45 million on the table and tell him in a very nice way that they respect him and would be willing to sign him in 'Pettitte terms' after the deal (year by year) or give him a job in the front office. Explain that they need the money for other signings that can help win three straight World Series and the Yankees need the flexibility. Explain that he is the face of the franchise and they want it to stay that way for years to come, but they also want to win as many World Series as possible in that time.
Since the last contract the Yankees gave Derek Jeter was 10 years and $189 million, they don't owe him anything. No 36-year old shortstop coming off the worst year of his career is worth more than $15 million a year, even with all the history. Jeter is one of my favorite players of all time, but it's ridiculous to think the Yankees owe Jeter anything. He's a homegrown talent that has been with the team for years. He isn't going anywhere, even if he wants the Yankees to think he is.