What do I want for Christmas? Derek Jeter, of course

By Mark Haskell | Dec 01, 2010

Walt Disney World is by far "The Happiest Place on Earth."

My then girlfriend, Jennifer, and I went there in January 2007, where I got down on one knee on a chilly night in front of Cinderella's Castle under the fireworks and asked her to be my wife. We went again as a married couple in January of 2009 with another couple whom we are dear friends with, and we plan to bring our 7-month-old son Beckett when he is "old enough to appreciate it," which often draws a look of contempt from my lovely wife.

But never will there likely be more fireworks in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. than there will be next week, with Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings on deck for Dec. 6.

My friend Mike (who my friends and I have always affectionately referred to as Hollywood due to his outward nature, fashion sense and prerequisite pair of sunglasses for all occasions) attended the Winter Meetings in his hometown of Nashville (Nash Vegas as he calls it) in 2007 and referred to it as a baseball fan's paradise.

While there is plenty of business to be discussed as to who will play for what team next season, contract discussions and salary negotiations, there is also quite the nightlife where it's not uncommon to see team executives, coaches and players all out mingling with the fans at restaurants, bars and other places of business.

Fresh off the Boston Red Sox's 2007 World Series victory (doesn't that seem like so long ago now?), Hollywood ran into manager Terry Francona, who was smoking a cigar inside one of the local establishments. He thanked Francona repeatedly for both of Boston's World Series victories in the past decade, to which the veteran skipper said, "Don't mention it" or "Respect my personal space" or something to that effect.

Regardless, this year's Winter Meetings will have plenty of happenings on the Hot Stove front. Where will free-agent stud pitcher Cliff Lee land? What about star outfielders Carl Crawford and Jason Werth? And perhaps the biggest question of all: Will Derek Jeter be donning the pinstripes of the New York Yankees next season or not?

Not only that, but might Jeter be the newest member of the Boston Red Sox?

Now everybody settle down. I know this scenario is about as likely as Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan leading the next wave of spokespeople for the D.A.R.E program, but just think about how that would look? Derek Jeter is the epitome of what it means to be a Yankee, and he possibly defects to Beantown.

While Jeter's asking price is certainly through the roof and comical, it is quite clear that the Yanks are lowballing their team captain. And for what reason? The organization practically prints money and they have more of it than God himself. So out of all the players to take a stand on financially and draw a proverbial line in the sand on, why an 11-time all star? If anything, Jeter should be the guy that they are overpaying for in thanks for the four World Series he helped them win, all the jerseys he sold, the money he made the franchise and all he has meant to the city of New York. Even the most biased Red Sox fan can see that.

So with that in mind, with the sides being so far apart on the negotiation and neither Jeter nor the Yankees likely to budge, if you're the Red Sox, why not make him an offer? The worst-case scenario is it would drive up the negotiation price for the Yankees, and the best-case scenario is you have arguably one the greatest shortstops to ever play the game on your roster. Remember how the Yankees panicked back in 1998 when the Red Sox almost signed Bernie Williams? It's a win-win situation.

Sure, Jeter is on the decline of his career, but he won a Gold Glove last season and has won five total, he's a wonderful clubhouse guy and the guy rakes at Fenway Park. And not to mention he's friends with Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, whom he teamed with during the World Baseball Classic. Do we all really firmly believe that Marco Scutaro is the answer at shortstp? Would it be the worst thing to sign Jeter to the money he wants (perhaps with one less year on the deal), trade Scutaro and have Jeter constantly in the ear of shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, who is drawing comparisons to a young Hanley Ramirez within the Sox organization? We don't want Jeter grooming this guy? Really?

And if you're Jeter, if you're not going to get the money you want from the Yankees, where else are you going to get the money? Not only that, but where else would you rather play? Would you rather fade into oblivion with Arizona or Cincinnati, or would you rather play at Fenway for 81 regular-season games (and maybe more), stay firmly embedded in the spotlight and have nine trips back to Yankee Stadium with the opportunity to stick it to Hank and Hal Steinbrenner?

And the biggest plus of all in this whole thing is getting to stick it to the Yankee fans. This would make up for the Yankees signing Wade Boggs, Johnny Damon and even trading for Babe Ruth away from the Red Sox tenfold. Because, as a whole, I can assure you the Yankees are not pleased with the way this is playing out in the media. I'd be the first one out the door to buy a Derek Jeter No. 2 Red Sox jersey, and whether he has a fantastic season or not, it'd be worth it just to be part of the following exchange:

Me: "Man, Jeter looks good out there. What a great play. Nobody knows Yankee Stadium better than that guy does."

Yankee fan: "I'm going to go throw up now."

Me: "He is just fantastic. And we got him at a competitive price. Who wouldn't want this guy on their team?"

Yankee fan: (throwing up in bathroom, launching an expletive-laced tirade in the process).

As a Red Sox fan, I wouldn't even care. You can toss the 2011 season out the window and I'd be fine with it if we could find a way to make this happen. You're probably reading this saying this is spiteful, malicious and above all, unlikely. You'd be right, but you would have also forgotten — awesome.

Remember, Boggs may have celebrated the 1996 World Series with the Yankees by riding a horse, but can you imagine Jeter celebrating the 2011 World Series title with the Red Sox on a duckboat?

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