While the New York Yankees’ 2010 season came to a disappointing close, it would still appear inevitable that the team will want to re-sign Derek Jeter, its franchise shortstop. But it appears just as inevitable that his on-field performance isn’t worth nearly as much as he will likely want to be paid.
That said, he and the Yankees have a deep and valuable symbiotic business relationship. So someone might need to get creative. If you were charged with crafting a fair, wise, rational contract going forward between Jeter and the Yankees, what would that contract look like in terms of dollar value, term, incentives, etc.? Or, if you’d rather, what would you ask for if you were Jeter? Or if you were the Yankees?
If I were Jeter, here’s what I might propose: a salary of just $1 a year to play for as long as I’m valuable, along with a lifelong personal-services contract in exchange for, say, a 5 percent stake in ownership of the team. (One estimate has the Yankees worth about $1.3 billion, so a 5 percent share represents $65 million at the moment.) That’s a starting point; there’d be a la carte provisions as well — perhaps, for instance, if we mutually decided I should serve as player-manager next year.
We asked some smart baseball people the following question:
Given Jeter’s history with and value to the New York Yankees, his pending free agency (at age 36), and the public-relations cost of LeBron James’s very noisy departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers, what kind of deal would you suggest Jeter and the Yankees make?
You'll have to click the link for the rest, but it's worth your time. #thelegendcontinues.
(Photo of Jeter's girlfriend, Minka Kelly, in part because we watched Season 1, episodes 1-3, of Friday Night Lights last night. We had never seen the show before. We're probably hooked. Kelly, by the way, was 26 years old when she started portraying a high school cheerleader on the show. She's now 30).