Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jeter deal won't be major dilemma for Yanks

I can't help but laugh at these stories about the supposed hand wringing the New York Yankees will do this offseason over Derek Jeter's next contract. The Yankees and their captain will reach a deal within a month of the last game of the World Series. Why? Because they can't live without each other.

Sure, the Yankees may be contemplating how much to offer Jeter after his subpar season, but there's no way they are going to make him a low-ball offer. Not after all he has meant to this franchise and with him less than 100 hits away from the magic 3,000 hit mark. Ultimately, Jeter is going to get what he asks for, as long as want he asks for is within reason. No one doubts that Jeter deserves at least $20 million annually for three or four years. And knowing Jeter, he will be so motivated to prove that he is worthy of such a contract that the Yankees should expect a major bounce-back season from him in 2011.

This isn't a Hideki Matsui/Johnny Damon situation. As much as Yankee fans loved those guys, they were ultimately replaceable. But we are extremely protective of Jeter because we've seen him grow up right before our eyes, because he has come up in the big spot more often than not, because he has never embarrassed us or left us subject to ridicule the way other baseball players have.

Not only can the Yankees not afford to insult Jeter with a low-ball offer, they really can't even replace him. Tell me who steps into his iconic shoes if Jeter isn't the Yankee shortstop next year. I wouldn’t want to be that guy, whoever he is. Even an aging Jeter who is a fraction of his All-Star/MVP candidate self is better than any of the shortstops in the Yankees system and the vast majority of guys on the 29 other baseball teams.

Reaching a new deal with their iconic shortstop won't be the major dilemma that everyone is portraying it to be. The Yankees and Jeter need each other and they both know it. Yankee fans should expect an early Christmas present announcing the deal that ensures the Yankee Captain ends his career in pinstripes.

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