It's been assumed throughout the offseason that even though his contract with the Yankees is up, longtime captain Derek Jeter will return in pinstripes next season.
However, according to a recent report by ESPN.com, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is getting a bit fed up with the negotiations with his shortstop. The GM hinted that Jeter is asking for additional years and more money than the reported three-year, $45 million initial offer by the Yanks.
Considering Jeter's age and lower-than-average numbers in 2010, Cashman believes the Yankees' offer is "fair and appropriate." Frustrated by Jeter's rebuff, Cashman has encouraged the shortstop to test the market if he thinks he can sign a better contract somewhere else.
"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account," Cashman said in the report. "We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."
Cashman has also told Jeter's agent, Casey Close, that they will not offer an arbitration deal. If they had, it is likely an arbitrator would determine a figure close to $21 million for the longtime Yankee, which is much more than Cashman is willing to pay.
The Yankees have continually re-affirmed throughout the offseason that bringing Jeter back is the route they want to take for the near future, but finding common "fair" ground has been difficult between the two parties.
"We've made an offer and we hope they strongly consider it," Cashman said. "[But] there are things we have concerns with — his recent performance over the last few years, and his age. And that has to be factored into this negotiation."
While Jeter may still have the spirit of a 24-year-old, his recent performance has reflected his age, and he won't find a better offer than the Yankees have put on the table. It's time for the shortstop to face the music and accept his future in the Bronx.
"We believe that Derek Jeter is the best person to play shortstop for this franchise moving forward," said Cashman. "Do we want to lose Derek Jeter? No. Do we want to treat Derek Jeter fair? Absolutely. Do we want to be treated fair at the same time? No question about it."