The Yankees would love to have their Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter signed by the Dec. 6 start of the Winter Meetings so they can simply focus on luring Rangers free agent left-hander Cliff Lee and maybe swinging a deal for a bullpen piece.
But the way things stand now, that would appear impossible as both sides need to move significantly. And that hasn’t happened. Despite a report late Sunday night that indicated the Yankees had added $5 million to their original three-year, $45 million deal for the 36-year-old Jeter, the New York Post reported that they haven’t moved at all.
All this, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Times last week, has caused the team to redirect the attention it should be giving Lee to signing its iconic shortstop.
Lee, by the way, is looking for something in the neighborhood of $23 million per season. The Yankees are more than willing to pay that, but they also believe that, with a little convincing, he could come at a slightly lower price tag since the Rangers are unlikely to offer that lofty annual salary.
The Yanks won’t be putting off the Jeter issue to focus on Lee, however. If anything, the two matters will have to be handled concurrently, providing the $60 million-plus chasm between Jeter and the Yanks’ idea of fair is bridged over the next week. That would involve significant movement from both sides, something that certainly hasn’t happened on the Yankees’ end.