Derek Jeter's Yankee Conundrum

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Derek Jeter’s $189 million 10-year contract with the Yankees is up and he’s now faced with the decision of staying with his team for much less than he’s asking, or moving on in hopes of more money. It seems as though the Yankees, and just about every other sports analyst, agree that Jeter, while still a very valuable player, is past his prime. But, what is the best move for Jeter?

There are several things to consider. While the Yankees are telling Jeter to test the waters and see what else is out there, the Yankees are merely positioning the negotiations to rally the best deal. Although Jeter’s agent seems to be laughing at the offer and asking for quite a bit more money, Jeter should fire his agent if he portrays him in any other light. Jeter’s agent must take this position in order to publicly strengthen Jeter’s bargaining power in the public eye and media.

It remains to be seen as to whether the highest bid is the best option and whether the Yankees will allow Jeter to walk. While 2010 was an off year for Jeter, his on-field performance is only 74 hits shy of a milestone which the Yankees will most certainly want to cash in on and broadcast, so to speak.

For Jeter, the decision will come down to a struggle between his ego and his wallet. It is no surprise that Jeter’s options are limited. If Jeter truly had a better offer, it would have been publicized and there really have not been any reports of such a deal. The Yankees’ offer of 3 years at $45 million, while an insult to Jeter, is really more than twice as much as any other team would be willing to pay him.

From a contractual standpoint, my opinion is that the Yankees and Jeter will compromise and Jeter will be offered a three year deal worth $18 million per season. The Yankees are used to overpaying for numerous other players and Jeter will be no exception to this rule. Neither the Yankees or Jeter have any other viable or sensible options at this juncture. Stay tuned.

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