The Cost Of Keeping Jeter In NYC

Derek Jeter (right) with Yankees manager Joe Girardi

What is the price of a legend?

The New York Yankees are about to find out. Derek Jeter, team captain and future Hall of Famer, is 36 years old and coming off his worst professional season. Jeter may be at that point where his skills are beginning to deteriorate.

He is beloved by New Yorkers, and it is almost unimaginable that he would end his career in another uniform.

But there is no way he’s worth the $18 million per season that he made on his last contract. With teammate Alex Rodriguez being paid $25 million a year, it seems unlikely that Jeter will be willing to settle for the $6 million or $7 million that his current statistics would make fair value.

Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said he “absolutely wants” to sign Jeter.

For his part, Jeter will undoubtedly take the high road and not comment publicly, perceiving that rabid Yankee fans will exert sufficient pressure to force the team to overpay him. And they can well-afford to, even if it doesn’t make good business sense.

Steinbrenner recognized the dilemma. While he also said the situation has the potential to “get nasty,” Jeter will never be part of the nastiness because the most iconic Yankee of them all understands how to play the game, on and off the field.

* For all of the hand-wringing by the college football media about who should or shouldn’t get a chance to play in the national championship game, it is apparent that unless Oregon or Auburn lose, they will meet in the title game.

And that will be a terrific match-up. And it won’t change the fact that the BCS is a disaster.

* If you have a sports fan on your Christmas list, pick up a copy of Death to the BCS. It’s written by three investigative reporters and is an incredibly well-documented tale of ignorance and corruption. When you finish it, you’ll wonder how this could possibly be happening and be surprised that nobody has been indicted. Fortunately for college presidents and bowl directors, stupidity and greed are not crimes.

* I don’t say this lightly, but I believe Greg Salas is the greatest receiver ever to wear a Hawaii uniform. As good as Walter Murray, Ashley Lelie, Chad Owens and Davone Bess were, Salas makes both the ordinary and spectacular catch. And he is the hardest of the group to tackle after making a catch. His ability to separate and work across the middle belies his size. Barring injury, he should enjoy tremendous success in the NFL as an inside receiver.

* Speaking of receivers, Randy Moss may be looking at his last best chance with Tennessee. The Vikings experiment was short-lived, yet featured bad behavior and poor productivity. It also reflected poorly on head coach Brad Childress, who got very little for a third-round pick. Claimed only by the Tennessee Titans, Moss will now play for the dean of NFL coaches, Jeff Fisher. As former NFL head coach Herm Edwards remarked, “If you can’t play for Jeff Fisher, you can’t play in this league.”

If he can’t find success with the Titans, it’s hard to imagine Randy Moss finding someone to pay him the big bucks next year.

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