Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jeter will figure out way to make Yankees pay

Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees have reportedly finalized a deal that will keep the captain in pinstripes for the rest of his career. Is this the happy ending we've all been hoping for? Not by a long shot.

The Yankees may have embarrassed Jeter into submission in these negotiations, but don't think for a second that Jeter will ever forget how Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners manipulated the media into making him look like he was another greedy ballplayer and how they were bending over backwards to be generous to the captain. Again, I have no problem with the two sides disagreeing about Jeter's worth, but I have a major problem with the public spectacle that the Yankees created. And yes it was the Yankees who started the war of words, despite Cashman's insistence that he was merely responding to agent Casey Close's "baffling" comments.

The Yankees may look like the winners in this bout, but I think the long-term damage that they did to their relationship with Jeter is irreparable. We haven't heard from the captain yet, but good friends such as Tino Martinez and Darryl Strawberry have indicated that Jeter was hurt by the way this played out and how quickly people turned against him with the nudging of the team's owners and general manager. And one thing we know about Jeter is that he will turn against people who slight him and this is more than just a slight.

Just ask Alex Rodriguez, who had to navigate an icy clubhouse for four years before he and Jeter came to a truce. ARod was completely at fault for his thoughtless comments in that Esquire article, but Jeter sure made life difficult for him when ARod became his teammate. Or how about Chad Curtis questioning Jeter's loyalty to his team during a fight with the Seattle Mariners (Jeter chatting up his then-buddy ARod, who was with the M's at the time). Curtis got a quick ticket out of the Bronx. It's never been proven that Jeter forced Curtis off the team, but don't think for a second that wasn't a factor.

What the Yankee brass did to Jeter, in my mind, was much worse and don't think Jeter won't figure out a way to quietly, subtly make them pay for it. And when he finally does, the Yankees will have no one to blame but themselves.

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