The current reported state of the negotiations between Derek Jeter and the Yankees is as follows:
The Yankees are offering three years at $15,000,000 per.
Jeter (and his agent) want six years at $25,000,000 per.
Value to the rest of the baseball market: no actual offers to consider, but the self-titled experts feel that to another team, he's worth $10,000,000 a year at best -- and three years is about as far as you want to go. It would be possible to put in a team option for a fourth year with automatic performance-based kick-ins. But for absolute we-will-pay-this commitment to a 36-year-old shortstop? Three years. You could make an argument for the position as being the second quickest to age, right behind catcher -- and the number of players at any position who remain capable into their early forties is low.
You can probably imagine what the ever-underreacting local media is doing with this. Total mass hysteria. How can he ask for that much money? How can they refuse to pay it? Isn't he worth so much more than that just in merchandise sales? Isn't he going to cost the team wins as his batting average and fielding range almost inevitably decline? What kind of team would let The Face Of The Franchise finish his career in another uniform? What kind of nutcases would let themselves be blackmailed like this? And for the love of all things Steinbrenner, what if he gets signed by the Red Sox?
Most of the fans seem to be just as bad, only somewhat less coherent and with the frequently-added take that the Yankees have a salary budget of infinity, so it would be stupid to start rationing the cash now. After all, look what they gave A-Rod and the World's Highest-Paid Minor League Pitcher. Given that, how much is Jeter really asking for? At least they might get three years out of him, and since he's a Yankee, the baseball gawds will make sure his production never declines. Ever. Except when it does. Like last season.
Right now, I think Jeter (and his agent) are trying to hold the Yankees hostage with the whole 'Are you really going to let your captain go?' argument. But he doesn't have any other offers. What's his fallback position? Japan?
And one other element: the money does eventually start to run out. The Yankees couldn't sell out their highest-priced seats this year, we're still in a recession, and they have a lot of declining players under contract for a perceivable fraction of the GNP. At some point, throwing good money after bad turns into throwing it out the window. Jeter will be happy. His agent will be happy. And a lot of NYC nightclubs will be very happy. The rest of the participating parties will probably feel differently.
$105,000,000 apart. Let the entertainment begin.
The Mets couldn't be this stupid -- could they?