A Baseball Blog Attempting To Balance Rationality, Basic Logic, And Statistical Analysis With Rabid Yankee Homerism
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
So The Yanks Aren't Going To Negotiate With Jeter, Mo, and Joe This Year? Who Cares?!
While somebody will surely try to make a big deal out of today's story that the Yankees are not going to re-negotiate with Jeter, Mo, or Girardi during what will be the final year of all of their respective contracts this season, it really is a non-issue and actually a smart move on the Yankees' part.
If there are any 2 guys on the team who have nothing to be concerned about when it comes to getting re-upped and getting justly paid, it's Jeter and Mariano. They are the most iconic Yankees since Mickey Mantle and the 2 most important links to the dynasty of the late 90s. There would be such public backlash if the team was to lowball either one of these guys that it would create the kind of unnecessary off-field attention that the team was so bad at creating in the mid-2000s and so good at avoiding last season. Plus, Hank and Hal would risk planting the seed in all the other players' heads that they could be headed for troubling times when their contracts were up; "Shit. If Mo and Jeet can't get a fair deal, what's going to happen when my contact ends?" And it's hard to win championships when everybody is walking on eggshells and checking over their shoulder.
Neither Jeter or Mariano have ever been the type to rock the boat and make demands; they're consummate professionals and are all about the team, and the Yankee brass knows this and so they know they won't cause any waves by not negotiating with these 2 and letting them play the season out. Jeet and Mo have to know then when the time comes, the team isn't going to take a Johnny Damon-style hard line with them and so they'll continue to do what they've done their entire career: keep their mouths shut, focus on winning a title, and deal with their contracts after the season.
What Jeter and Mariano have already accomplished is more than enough to justify what will be exorbitant pay days for them, but when you consider that unlike many of their peers, both have continued to perform at the highest level as they reach their late-30s and early-40s, it makes it all the more justifiable to give them whatever they want money-wise when it does come time to negotiate a new deal after the 2010 season. Neither has shown any signs of decreasing dramatically and neither has been a major injury concern throughout their careers, so there is low risk in giving these guys top-level money.
That being said, the out that not negotiating new deals gives Cash and the swinging dicks is that they won't be married to a big-money deal in the remote chance that something catastrophic does happen to Jeter or Mariano to severely affect their ability to play at an All-Star level or end their careers completely. While it's not something anybody wants to think about, you also don't want to think about having to pay Jeter $25 million a year for 4 or 5 more years after he's blown out his knee and broken his throwing arm in the same season and become a shell of his former self, and not re-upping now eliminates that possibility.
The one issue that could creep up with this approach is what will happen to Girardi if the Yankees struggle this year. Seeing as how the Yankees will go into this season as the odds-on favorite to win the World Series, being a lame-duck coach shouldn't be a problem, but if, by some stroke of black demonic magic, the team plays bad, misses the playoffs, etc. without the presence of crippling injuries, the talk across the NY media outlets will turn to Girardi and whether or not he's coming back and then you've got the 2007 Joe Torre situation all over again.
Girardi has already shown he can handle the NY media and has established great relationships with all his players, but the bottom line in the Bronx is always winning, especially when you're coming off a World Championship and looking to win another. If the unthinkable happens, Girardi's lame-duck status will become a bigger and bigger deal and could overshadow the team itself. But since we've already established that that isn't going to happen and the 2010 World Series trophy is as good as theirs', then there's nothing to worry about. Everybody will go out, do their job, win another title, have another parade, and then be handsomely rewarded.