You Said What?…


Take this job and shove it…

Hopefully, negotiations between Derek Jeter and the New
York Yankees don’t take that turn.  I am
a little amazed that the difficulties of the negotiation have become so
public.  Hal Steinbrenner, unlike his
brother or his late father, is a quiet, private individual and it is tough to
get a read on his thoughts, generally speaking. 
However, he set the stage with the Jeter negotiations stating upfront
that they could get messy. 

I do feel that the Yankees have made a very fair offer to
Jeter (3 years at $45 million).  $15
million per year for an aging shortstop coming off his worst season is very
generous.  I realize what DJ means to the
Yankees organization.  He is perhaps the
first true homegrown legend since Mickey Mantle.  No disrespect to Don Mattingly, my personal
all-time favorite living Yankee, but Jeter has come to represent everything
that is good about the Yankees and baseball. 
He’s won five World Series and he has basically been the “face” of the
franchise for over a decade.  He has
never been associated with steroids and any scandals and he has produced year
in and year out.  There was a time when
the top three shortstops in the game were DJ, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar
Garciaparra.  Alex is no longer a
shortstop and Nomar is out of baseball, yet DJ is still producing.  Granted, DJ is the reason that Alex is no
longer at short but his image has certainly be tarnished in recent years.  It is my belief that the Yankees offer is
above market and recognizes DJ’s contributions and marketability to the

The latest comment by GM Brian Cashman that DJ should
test the market was outraged some but personally I have no problem with
it.  I do not feel that any team is going
to be willing to pay DJ $15 million per year at this stage of his career.  There is speculation that some team (the
Giants?) could sweep in with a one year, $18 million deal, but I really don’t
see that happening. 

The sooner that the Yankees and DJ can come to the
inevitable agreement, the better both parties will be.  My first reaction to hearing the negative
public comments was what impact would they have on the Cliff Lee
negotiations.  But then again, if Cliff
gets 6 years from the Yankees, he’s probably done at the end so he likely won’t
face a re-negotiation with the team if he signs with them.  Still, the Yankees need to accelerate the
speed of the negotiations and get this resolved. 

Of course, they need to pay equal attention (if not more)
to closer Mariano Rivera.  When I heard
that he wanted 2 years at $18 million per year, my reaction was ‘take it and pay him!’.  Mo IS the reason the Yankees have enjoyed so
much post-season success over the past 15 years. 

The latest rumors have Andy Pettitte leaning toward
returning in 2011.  Seriously, that’s
what I have expected.  I think he’ll
return for one more year and then hang up the glove for good.  Players want to go out on their terms and I
feel that Andy needs stronger closure than the injury shortened 2010
season.  His three years in Houston
robbed him of the legacy of being the greatest lefthander in Yankee history,
but he is still in the same room.  A
rotation headed by CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee and ended with Andy Pettitte would
definitely make the Yanks one of the early favorites heading into 2011. 

I saw that the Yankees had signed reliever Neal Cotts.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the
acquisition.  Although he was most
recently with the Chicago Cubs, it wasn’t that long ago that he was a key part
of the Chicago White Sox championship bullpen. 
He underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2009 and should be ready for
spring training.  He will only be 31 when
the season starts and he is certainly a great left-handed option with Boone
Logan.  I really hope that he is able to
make a successful return from surgery and breaks camp with the Yanks.  He is one of the players I admired as an
opposing player so it is certainly great to see him in pinstripes.

It was strange to see Willie Randolph named as the new
bench coach for the Baltimore Orioles. 
Granted, we saw him leave the Yankees to join the Mets as their
manager.  But now he is with an AL East
rival and that seems weirder than being with the cross-town Mets.  I am not a Buck Showalter fan so I don’t have
the same feeling about Buck managing in the division but Willie has always been
one of the good guys.  I also saw that
former Yankees pitching coach Mark Connor, who frequently drew the ire of
George Steinbrenner, is the new Orioles pitching coach.  I wish Willie the best of luck and hope that
it propels him to another managing opportunity.

Simmons/NY Daily News

Finally, I am glad that Joe Girardi is the Yankees
manager.  However, last season, I had
openly pulled for Don Mattingly if Girardi left to take the Chicago Cubs
job.  It never came close to becoming a
reality since the Cubs decided to stay with interim manager Mike Quade and the
Los Angeles Dodgers named Donnie Baseball as their manager replacing Joe
Torre.  I think it was the Cubs snub of
Ryne Sandberg that made me realize it was probably best for Mattingly to manage
elsewhere.  If he is unsuccessful and
ultimately fired, it would have adversely impacted his relationship with the
Yankees.  I think about Lou Piniella, who
enjoyed his greatest managing success elsewhere, and Yogi Berra, who went years
not speaking to the Yankees before he finally reconciled with George
Steinbrenner.  Donnie will always be a
Yankee but it is best for him to manage in Los Angeles.  As for Girardi, there really is nobody that I’d
rather see in the position.  As for
Sandberg, it is very sad that his relationship with the Cubs has been hurt but
long-term he is better off managing elsewhere. 
He’ll be able to return to Chicago with no hard feelings at some future
point in time.

Yankee great Don Mattingly is currently the Dodgers' hitting coach.

Simmons/NY Daily News

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  J



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