Derek Jeter is happy to be back with the New York Yankees, but the All-Star shortstop is not happy with the way the negotiation for his new contract was handled.
At a press conference announcing the new three-year $51 million deal, that includes an option for a fourth year, the Yankee captain expressed his disgust in the way the contract negotiations became public.
"I'm going to be honest with you guys, the thing that bothered me the most was how public this became," said Jeter, who thought there was a perception he was being greedy and demanding. "This was a negotiation that was supposed to be private. It was an uncomfortable position I felt I was in. It was not an enjoyable experience because throughout the years I've prided myself on keeping things out of the papers and out of the media. This turned into a big public thing. That is something I was not happy about. I let my feelings be known."
The Yankee brass and Jeter’s agent Casey Close engaged in a heated back and forth over the last month. While Close was reportedly asking for a four to five year contract in the range of $20 million per year for Jeter, the Yankees made an initial offer of 3 years $45 million.
Close accused the Yankees of handling the contract talks in a “baffling” manner. He warned the team not to underestimate his client’s value. In return, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman suggested that Jeter go shop elsewhere for a deal better than the Yanks offer.
"I was angry I was put in the position to have to respond," said Cashman, referring to Close's comments. "Anger met anger. You get past it and you move forward."
Eventually Jeter and the Bronx Bombers met half way on a new deal over the weekend. The three-year contract should guarantee that the beloved team captain will retire in pinstripes. Going forward, all is forgiven when it comes to Jeter and the organization.
"We are a big happy family," Jeter said. "We had everybody up there. You play somewhere long enough, you are in an organization, you want to call it a relationship, I'm sure there are probably ups and downs."