December 04, 2010
When news broke on Friday evening that Derek Jeter(notes) and the New York Yankees were finally making serious progress on a new deal, I would've bet my childhood baseball glove that they were going to wait for Monday's opening session at the winter meetings to announce it.
The Yankees, of course, have never met an event that they didn't want to enter as the biggest headliners.
But they've also never missed a chance to steal headlines from their neighbors to the north, the Boston Red Sox.
And so with Boston nearing the completion of a big trade for San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez(notes), it only makes sense that we're starting to hear rumblings that Jeter and Yankees have reached an agreement that will make the soap opera of the last few weeks completely irrelevant.
The reported terms aren't final, but Jeter is looking at a slight bump from the Yankees' original offer of three-years, $45 million as well as an additional fourth year that Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times says is a "creative-hybrid" type.
It does not, however, bring Jeter into any kind of A-Rod contract territory.
Jack Curry at YES Network has the details:
"Derek Jeter will agree to a three-year contract for roughly $50 million with the Yankees in the next 24 to 48 hours, according to a person who has been briefed on the negotiations. The deal will include a creative fourth-year option, which was the final element that was being discussed on Saturday ...
"The fourth year of the deal was important to Jeter, who said in spring training that he wanted to play four or five more seasons. But the Yankees didn't want to guarantee a fourth year to Jeter ... the sides vowed to be creative in trying to secure a deal, which is why they were finalizing a hybrid option that will include various elements and won't be fully guaranteed."
And so it turns out that our only suspense will be when this deal becomes official (it could still be Monday) and what that fourth year deal requires him to do. (Shake hands at the turnstiles? Host the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade with Al Roker?)
But if this works out as reported, all will again be right in Yankeeland. Jeter will receive a tribute deal that pays him well above what his on-field skills say he is worth while the Yankees keep this generation's "Babe Ruth" in the fold so he can do whatever increasing of the pinstriped brand his agent said he's capable of. Given Jeter's stature in the franchise (and in baseball), it's a contract that isn't that outrageous and probably should've been done long before this weekend.
And while this deal will get a lot of attention no matter when it's announced, the real tagline for the summary should read "nothing to see here, nothing at all."