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As Derek Jeter and agent Casey Close’s talks with the Yankees inch closer and closer toward contempt, it’s nice to see that the New York media is having some fun at their favorite son’s expense.
The Yankees have reportedly offered Jeter a three-year deal worth $45 million, a pretty good payday for a middle infielder who hit .270 last season. The problem is, Jeter isn’t any middle infielder – he’s the face and deity of their franchise and wants to be paid as such. Jeter will turn 37 next season and his production is nowhere near what it used to be, but to let him go would be a public-relations nightmare.
Or would it?
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is now urging Jeter to test the market and see what sticks. While that gesture alone would be enough for Jeter to consider leaving, he probably knows $45 million is far beyond anything he’d receive elsewhere. See, Jeter isn’t worth nearly as much off the field to any team outside of Manhattan. Sure he’d wrangle plenty of endorsements, but he’d never achieve the rarefied status that is all but cemented in Gotham. Many experts figure him to be worth $20 million, little more.
Now, where do the Red Sox fit into all of this? Besides the graphic on the New York Post’s cover, probably nowhere. If Jeter’s actual value is close to $20 million, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox giving any 37-year-old that kind of money when they were willing to let a starting, switch-hitting, middle-of-the-order catcher walk away over money. Also, the New York Times‘ Nate Silver notes that, “fans in Pittsburgh or San Francisco or Boston feel no particular loyalty to Jeter, and while he would surely still be a good ambassador for those clubs, he might not generate many more season ticket sales for them above and beyond what any other decent shortstop would.”
In a town where we’ve watched the Patriots succeed by putting business over relationships, it’s hard to imagine or support the local nine making a passion play for their most hated rival. But if one thing can be certain about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, it’s that anything is possible.