New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that the Yankees have made a "fair and appropriate" contract offer to Derek Jeter and suggested that if the 36-year-old shortstop thinks otherwise, he should shop himself around to find out.
"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account," Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com. "We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."
Cashman was clearly stung by the recent statement of Jeter's agent, Casey Close, who was quoted in Sunday's New York Daily News as saying he was "baffled" by the team's negotiating strategy.
"I was certainly surprised," Cashman said in regards to Close's use of the word "baffled." "There's nothing baffling about our position. We have actually gone directly face-to-face with Casey and Derek and been very honest and direct. They know exactly where we sit."
Cashman would not provide specifics of the team's offer but sources have confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that it is a three-year contract at $15 million per season. Nor would Cashman discuss the demands being made by Jeter other than to say, "You can write that they have asked for more. More years and more money."
Cashman said there are no further meetings scheduled between the two sides, although he did speak to Close on Monday night to inform him the Yankees would not be offering Jeter arbitration.
If the Yankees had offered arbitration, the shortstop could have accepted a one-year salary set by an arbitrator or signed elsewhere. If he walked, the Yankees would have received two draft picks. But by offering the Yanks would have risked a hearing based on Jeter's 2010 salary of $21 million, considerably more than they are willing to pay him for 2011.
Reached by e-mail Tuesday, Close declined comment to ESPNNewYork.com.
Two weeks ago, owner Hal Steinbrenner acknowledged that the talks to retain Jeter, who is coming off a 10-year, $189 million contract as well as the worst offensive season of his career, "might get messy."