Who’s Side Are YOU On?

It was shocking and frankly disappointing that the Yankees have decided to turn into an obdurate adversary with Derek Jeter. Is this any way to treat an All-Time Yankee great? He is going to have a plaque on both the Monument Wall in Yankee Stadium and in the Hall of Fame. He is the all-time team leader in hits. He is 74 hits shy of 3,000, something no other player in the long and storied Yankee history has accomplished.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if he gets the historic hit in another uniform? (Red Sox???!!!???)

He has been the face of the team almost since his arrival in 1995. He stood by silently each time the First National Yank signed Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and AJ Burnett and other free agents (Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, et al.) to inane contracts.

The Yankees claim that the three-year $45 million offered is Jeter’s worth on the open market and basically told him to take it or leave it. Fine way to treat one of the best players to wear the pinstripes.

What would the reaction have been if Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Joe DiMaggio or Yogi Berra were put through this? Why should Jeter?

The villain or hero depending on your choice of sides is Brian Cashman who all of a sudden has closed the Yankees’ vault. Last week, Cashman told ESPN New York: “We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account. We’ve encouraged him to test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That’s the way it works.”

What a pile of baloney! If their offer had taken into account Jeter’s contribution to the team, then they must feel like he was nothing more than a utilitarian shortstop just passing through town until the next big offer came. Instead he’s hung around for 16 years all the while watching free agents come and go with more money than some third world nations. Now I’m presuming to say that Jeter is indigent, far from it. This is about fairness all things being equal,

The Yankees made the offer based on Jeter’s performance vis-à-vis all other major league shortstops. It’s what Jeter wanted when he negotiated his long-term deal in 2000.  Now Jeter wants a contract based on his legacy and he should get it.

Wallace Matthews, reporter for ESPN.com New York opined that the Yankees’ fans will go 50/50 on this. The 50% who support the Yankees are not long-term hard core Yankees fans and are probably the same people who complain about the lack of player loyalty in today’s game.

If the Yankees can pay A-Rod $33,CC $24, Tex $20 and AJ $16 they can afford to keep Jeter’s contract at $22. Or maybe Cashman is saving the hoard for the 5 year $130 million he’s about to offer Cliff Lee.

Yes this would be a legacy deal but you just don’t throw out the face of the team and arguably the entire game like yesterday’s trash. Jeter deserves better treatment if for no other reason than his loyalty. That, in today’s environment, should certainly be worth something.

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