As more columnists speak to more unnamed sources, we’re bound to get a near-daily update on Derek Jeter and his ongoing negotiations. Yesterday, for example, the Yankees were prepared to offer something in the range of three years and $45 million — but were reportedly willing to spend $63 million over three years — a bit of news from an unnamed source that would imply that perhaps the two sides wouldn’t have much of a gap to overcome.
So what to make of the back page of today’s Daily News, with its headline that screams “The Great Divide: Jeter, Yanks at least $50 million apart on new deal.” The Bill Madden column inside appears to use roughly the same numbers we’ve already seen, except that he reports that Jeter “apparently is looking for a five- to six-year deal,” which could mean a package worth $100 million, hence the $50 million gap on initial offers. The bigger concern here isn’t the money, though — at least if you believe the Yankees are willing to top $20 million in annual salary — but the difference in the duration of the contract. Again, this is just one report, providing what’s probably Jeter’s opening position — but five years is most certainly too long, and the Yankees surely know it.
By the way, this is all buried in a column otherwise intended to make the point that the Yankees, under the Steinbrenners, more often than not have been “willing to pay more for somebody else’s free agent than for their own” (which is debatable; Jeter, after all, is coming off a $189 million contract). But it also notes that Brian Cashman might be less willing than some previous Yankee decision-makers to let sentiment rule over business — a potentially important point when a 36-year-old shortstop is seeking a five-year contract.