Well……at least the Yankees have their Captain back!

Well, at least the Yankees have a Captain, again. I remember writing (about the ‘Core Four’) that I thought that choppy waters might be ahead, with regard to the Yankees vs Derek Jeter this off-season. I’m not often right at this prediction stuff, but it proved to be just so. It is obvious that Jeter is a very proud person, proud of his accomplishments, proud of his record; this translated into a certain amount of stubborn resistance, transmitted through his agent, Casey Close. At first we got some tentative proposals from the Jeter camp, for 5 or 6 years and $23/24 million per year. The Yankees countered with a hard ‘3 years for $45 million’ , and a veiled hint from Cashman that Jeter was welcome to test the waters elsewhere, then come back and chat.

For the first time in a long while, Yankee player/club negotiations were fought out almost on the back pages of the NY Post and the NY Daily News, with Casey Close saying, “They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”

However, most baseball commentators seemed to think that Jeter’s eventual re-signing was a forgone conclusion. They just couldn’t see him giving up the chance to be the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits, and set various other performance marks in the next two or three seasons which will be hard to beat by any future Yankee. In the end a  
series of ‘respectful’ meetings in Tampa saw the two sides slowly reach the inevitable conclusion. The only puzzling thing was the fact that Jeter brought along not just Casey Close, but an anonymous lawyer from his talent agency, Creative Artists Agency. I am unsure what the lawyer from Hollywood’s preeminent talent agency thought he was going to bring to the table, but I can’t imagine him standing up to Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine without getting seriously out of his depth in baseball terms. Jeter gave his usual poised performance at the press conference podium, flanked by Hal Steinbrenner on his left and Brian Cashman on his right, with only the occasional reference to the fact that the event was taking place in Tampa, when it could have been in New York.

Well, in the end, the Yankees have their Captain, once more, and we can all watch the records (slowly) fall, on the utterly amazing 103 foot by 58 foot  Mitsubishi Diamond Vision LED HD screen (better than the average TV, eh?). There is a snag or two; three years for $51 million is not small change. The fourth year is a player option, with a $3 million buy-out, so the Yankees can escape (at some cost) from a Captain who might have lost his sparkle in four years time. There are some details which are still not public, such as the ‘points’ which Derek can earn towards incentives (which will be substantial, I am sure). However, half the Core Four are now certain to be onboard for the 2011 season (including Jorge Posada), and the incomparable Mariano will be shortly (two years, $30 million, the same as the Boston Red Sox offered!) As for the last member of the gang, the latest rumbles out of Texas indicate that Andy Pettitte might be actually calling it a day, this time. In which case, Cashman had better put on his Santa’s Elf costume again and spend some more time rappelling down the Landmark Building in Stamford, Connecticut; it will concentrate his mind wonderfully!

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