02/09/10 10:36 PM EST
Cashman: Jeter, Mo, Joe will have to wait
Yankees GM says no contract talks until after the season
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The contracts of all three are entering their final year, meaning the Yankees' all-time career hits leader and the Major Leagues' all-time postseason saves leader can be free agents after the 2010 season. And Girardi will face a season in which he will not have a contract beyond the current campaign.
"I don't think you can separate one from the other," Cashman told the Post. "I am not saying they are the same, but the questions will come, 'If you did one, why didn't you do the other?' If this was Kansas City, it would be different -- but it's not."
Jeter is finishing up a 10-year, $189 million contract. He's coming off one of his finest seasons, in which he hit .334, made his 10th All-Star team, won his fourth Gold Glove and passed Lou Gehrig for most hits by a Yankee.
With 2,747 hits at age 35 -- he'll turn 36 in June -- Jeter is likely to enter 2011 with a chance of becoming the first Yankee to reach the 3,000-hit plateau, and should do so as a shortstop after displaying renewed agility at the position during his Gold Glove campaign.
It's safe to assume that Jeter will be seeking a long-term deal, but the Yankees have no particular urgency to reach an agreement now with their captain. Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner hinted last week that no matter when they decide to hammer out details, a Jeter deal is imminent.
"We'll get into all of that eventually," Steinbrenner told The Associated Press. "Jeter's place in Yankee history is obvious, so I think you can pretty much assume from there."
The 40-year-old Rivera was a free agent after the 2007 season but signed a three-year, $45 million contract, later saying that he never seriously considered pitching elsewhere. In contrast, catcher Jorge Posada thought about accepting a contract from the Mets that offseason before the Yankees offered a fourth guaranteed season.
Rivera had 44 saves in 46 opportunities last year and added five saves in the postseason to raise his record to 39, mentioning after the World Series that he felt like he could pitch five more seasons.
Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, told the Post that the pitcher hasn't pressed him to approach the Yankees about an extension. Jeter's agent, Casey Close, could not be reached for comment.
"Everybody signed those contracts and there is a lot of money being made and people are comfortable," Cashman said.
Meanwhile, Girardi and his players could face questions about the manager's future if the Yankees experience a difficult period during the season -- despite the fact that he led the Yankees to 103 regular-season wins and a World Series championship in 2009.
But Cashman told the Post that he isn't concerned about Girardi, who signed a three-year contract before the 2008 season.
Girardi stepped into the manager's seat after Joe Torre, who asked for a two-year deal after 2007 and eventually turned down a one-year offer to land with the Dodgers. Torre often said that having contract stability helped keep the heat off his clubhouse, widely regarded as one of Torre's best strengths in the Bronx cauldron.
"It doesn't make any difference," Cashman said. "[The media] brought his job [security] up when he had two years left on the contract in . It doesn't matter. You can have a contract for 10 years and it doesn't matter."
Repeating a statement he has made many times since the Yankees' World Series victory, Girardi concurred with Cashman.
"I am not concerned and I don't think it will be a distraction," Girardi said. "I am fortunate to be a Yankee."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.