Shorter Brian Cashman: “Dear Derek: if you don’t like being only significantly overpaid rather than grossly overpaid, feel free to go out and see if Michael Kay has been made the general manager of another wealthy major league team and I haven’t noticed.”
My question: where does Jeter play once the Yanks figure out that he’s no longer even playable as a major league shortstop? The Yanks taking a relatively hard line makes sense, especially on contract length. And it’s hard to imagine a mainstream columnist being willing to say this even two years ago.
Update [Paul]: This is a pretty interesting situation in terms of straight economic analysis and game theory. As Scott notes it’s likely that the Yankees’ offer (reportedly $45 million over three years) is probably much more than what Jeter could expect to get as a free agent. Why would the team do that, and even more mysteriously, why would Jeter’s agent react by going into hurt-confused-offended mode? As to why the NYY would pay considerably more than any other team would for Jeter’s services at this point, the argument can be made (and no doubt his agent is making it at length) that Jeter is worth a lot more to the Yankees than any other team, because he’s an integral part of their current “branding,” to put it in MBA-speak. But how good is the evidence for this argument? The alternative for New York is to pay something like $15 million over the next three years for a shortstop of similar likely quality to Jeter over that time, or perhaps $30 million for a significantly better player (not necessarily a shortstop). In the former case they save $30 million, and have the same odds of having successful seasons in terms of actually winning games. In the latter case they save a lot less money but marginally increase their chances of winning big (and even a couple of wins at the margin are especially valuable to a team that’s very likely to be in championship contention anyway).
Are the economic benefits that the Yankees get from having Jeter in their lineup likely to outweigh the benefits of either of these alternative approaches? It seems at least questionable that they would . . . Which leads to the real possibility that Brian Cashman is playing a subtle game of chicken in game theory terms, where what he’s hoping for is precisely that Jeter rejects his final offer in an operatic huff, thus allowing the Yankees to play the “egotistical zillionaire athlete with no gratitude for the team and fans who made him what he is today” etc etc.
My guess is that Jeter and Casey Close understand this well enough, and that after a little bit more huffing and puffing they’ll take something very much like the offer on the table.