Meet the new boss? Derek Jeter has said
he has no interest in minority ownership
of an MLB club, but it's possible the
Yankees could offer up such a deal as
part of his contract discussions
In writing a column yesterday about whether true parity in sports was ever achievable, I had some fun and asked what might happen if in the future there was a salary cap and floor in MLB, as well as the ability, through cloning, for every team to start with the exact same players. I outlined the piece by making up a fictitious press release from Commissioner Derek Jeter III.
The idea that an off-spring of Derek Jeter would one day be commissioner of baseball was a bit of a nod to news this week that Jeter might be interested in owning a team of his own one day.
The remarks came Thursday in Tampa as part of event celebrating the launch of his ninth signature shoe, the Jordan Jeter Throwback. Being around Michael Jordan, especially in light of his recent purchase of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, might have had a bit to do with it, but the idea of Jeter being involved in ownership has been something worth considering for some time.
For those following contract signings as of late, Jeter’s is up for renewal with the Yankees. Joe Mauer just inked an eight-year, $184 million deal, and it seems pretty clear that Albert Pujols is in line for possibly the most lucrative contract in baseball. What do the Yankees offer Jeter?
One possible scenario could be to keep Jeter a Yankee past his playing days.
You’re now going to say, Jeter has no interest.
"Oh yeah," Jeter said on Thursday. "The only interest I have in ownership is to be able to call the shots. I've said that time and time again."
That doesn’t mean that the Yankees couldn’t offer up a stake as he gets into position to be a majority owner of another club. There are other clubs that have done so.
One deal that comes to mind centered around the Diamondbacks and Matt Williams.
In 2005, the league approved a deal allowing Williams to own one-half of one percent of the Diamondbacks. The deal was done through the little known Deferred Equity Right unit (DER) of baseball. That allowed the D-Backs to get Williams paying $300,000 a year via the program that allowed him to pay 10% each year. This lessened the blow in the massively backloaded contract that Williams reached during the Colangelo era (for the record, Williams contract does not come off the books until 2014).
Jeter’s situation would be different (certainly, the Yankees aren't worried about cash like the D-Backs are), but it’s one way of offering up something more than more years and more money to an aging player. If Pujols is offered a 10-year deal, can the Yankees offer likewise? If the Yankees were to offer Jeter a deal today, by the end of the contract he would be 45. When you get into marquee players at the end of their career, offering up other incentives becomes part of the equation.
Jeter might easily say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Yankees offer up a position in the front office, or yes, a minority stake in the club, as part of Jeter’s upcoming contract negotiations.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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