The reason for declining to offer arbitration to Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Kerry Wood and others is that they fear an arbitrator might award big bucks. In the case of Jeter, that could mean $20 or $25 million, "or 30," according to one Yankees person.
The Yankees have until midnight Tuesday to change their minds. That is the deadline for teams to decide whether or not to offer arbitration to their Type A and B free agents. Jeter, Rivera and Pettitte are Type-A free agents and Wood and Vazquez has been classified a Type-B free agent. Teams that offer arbitration to Type-A free agents only to see that player sign with another team receive a first-round draft pick from the signing team as compensation. Not offering arbitration means the team will not get a compensatory pick. Teams losing free Type-A free agents also get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of next year's amateur draft. Teams losing a Type-B free agent get a draft pick as compensation but not from the team that signed him.
Jeter was reportedly offered a three-year, $45 million contract by the Yankees recently and though the two sides have yet to reach an agreement, the Yankees don't anticipate losing their iconic shortstop.
Jeter, the Yankees shortstop and captain who will turn 37 next June, is coming off the worst offensive season of his career. He hit .270 with a .340 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage, all career lows. However, he did make his 11th All-Star team, win his fifth Gold Glove, and miss just five games while helping the Yankees reach the postseason for the 15th time in 16 years. Jeter, the alltime Yankees hits leader, enters the 2011 season just 74 hits shy of 3,000 for his career. Last season was the final year of a 10-year, $189 million contract for Jeter.
Meanwhile, Jeter's fellow Core Four teammate Mariano Rivera has told friends of his that he is seeking a two-year deal to return to the Yankees, but team people are saying terms have yet to be discussed. Rivera posted a 1.80 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and 33 saves for the Yankees in 2010.