One of the more interesting battles in the history of free agency has already commenced.
On one side is Derek Jeter, who is 36 and looking for one more big pay day. He is not the player he once was, but he is the face of the most famous franchise in sports. The amount of revenue he has generated for the Yankees during his career cannot be measured and now is when he will look to cash in.
On the other side is Hal and Hank Steinbrenner. The heirs to King George’s thrown. They still want to put the best product on the field, not a daily Old Timers game. And while Jeter is still productive, he is a liability defensively and is clearly on the downward slope of his career.
Jeter’s agent is already playing the off-the-field angle, stating that Jeter’s value to the Yankees business “cannot be overstated.” Hal has already declared that the negotiations with Jeter, “could get messy.”
But one has to wonder what the Yankees can afford to give Jeter. The issue isn’t money. Nevermind that Jeter would only make $8-10 million per season on the open-market. Whether he makes $15 million or $25 million a season doesn’t matter too much. The Yankees can afford it.
What the Yankees cannot afford is to give Derek Jeter a six-year deal as some have speculated, including SI.com’s Jon Heyman.
Jeter probably should already be playing a different position. But with Jorge Posada taking at bats at DH this season and Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez locked in at first base and third base for the foreseeable future, there is no where for Jeter to go.
And if Jeter is a poor defensive shortstop now, what is he going to be in 4-6 years when he is in his early 40s?
Jeter is not a liability with the bat yet. But he will cost the Yankees runs with his glove as long as he remains at shortstop. And in the ever-competitive AL East, Every. Run. Counts.
It is not unusual for the Yankees to overpay for talent. But for once, overpaying will come back to haunt the Yankees.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.