When George Steinbrenner passed away this summer baseball lost an American icon. The "Boss" had a passion for winning and under his ownership the Yankees won 7 world series titles. Everyone assumed that in his absence the organization would be run in the same fashion with the same level of success. The Derek Jeter negotiations have shown us how wrong we were.
Hal Steinbrenner (George's son and CEO of the Yankees) has made it clear that his all star, gold glove, captain is just another player. The last name may be the same, but the philosophy of the new Yankees ownership is quite different. Hal vowed that emotions would not play a part in the offer set forth by the Yankees and the negotiations may get messy. True to his word Hal refused to offer Derek salary arbitration and GM Brian Cashman "encouraged" Derek to test the free agent market to see if he could find a better deal than the Yankees offered him (3yrs, 45 mil). The mere fact the Yankees are putting Derek Jeter in a take it or leave it scenario is astounding. No one player has been more symbolic of the Yankees success than Derek Jeter, AKA The King of New York, AKA Frank White. The "Boss 2.0" is sending a clear message. If he can do this to Jeter he can do it to anyone.
Hal doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve. If the "Boss" were still around this deal would be done already. The new regime is cold hearted and ruthless. They refuse to overpay for players or take into consideration past performances and dedication. Gone are the days of "money is no object" and "You're like a son to me if we win."
This is a dangerous game of chicken Hal Steinbrenner is playing. If Derek Jeter ends up leaving and signs with someone like the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays the city of New York will never forgive him. He will lose the support that gives him the power to sign all those free agents and create additional revenue streams. Hal is gambling that Derek will take less money and less years than he wants to remain the Yankees captain because there is no greater job in baseball. Hal may be right in his assumptions, but his approach is too abrasive and arrogant. Lets hope Derek sees the big picture and conforms to the way the new age Steinbrenners do business. If he walks it will be the start of their ending.
No blog tomorrow, just football and turkey! see you guys on Friday.