A-Rod Has Nothing to Do With the Derek Jeter Negotiations

A-Rod's contract was signed under very different circumstances

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Thanksgiving holiday should give us all a brief respite from the growing acrimony surrounding the Derek Jeter contract talks.

    Hopefully, it will also give the parties involved a little perspective on the issues so that we can back to work next week with a little less rancor and a little more constructive discussion about a new deal. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but that's what wishbones are made for, right? If cooler heads to prevail, perhaps we'll be able to pull Alex Rodriguez's name out of contract talks that don't really concern him.

    His name keeps popping up in discussions of the deal, usually from those who believe the Yankees are being unscionable in their desire to pay Jeter a rate commensurate with his abilities. Mike Lupica and Ken Rosenthal both fit that particular bill, but Rodriguez's contract comes up all over the place as people point to the decision to sign him through the age of 42 as something that makes it impossible for the Yankees to draw a line with Jeter.

    That's almost as ridiculous as the contract the Yankees gave Rodriguez in 2007. No one's making any other argument when it comes to the deal hastily handed to A-Rod after he opted out of his existing contract. It was absurd in terms of length and annual value, but not nearly as absurd at the time as it has become in hindsight.

    In 2007, Rodriguez was 32 years old and coming off a season that saw him hit 54 home runs and post a career-high OPS. If he wasn't the best player in the game, he was in the top two and his 2008 tabloid embarrassments, hip injuries and steroid admissions were still ahead of him. Even with all of that, the Yankees paid too much of a premium for A-Rod's services at the time and they have become painfully aware of it now.

    Making that mistake once doesn't mean that you are forced to make that mistake again. Jeter has conducted himself better than A-Rod, he's a better ambassador for the game and a million other things that would make him better paid in a fairer world. That's the world that Jeter and Casey Close want to live in because their entire strategy thus far is that Jeter should be paid whatever he wants simply because he's Jeter. The captain might actually find it surprising we don't live in such a world -- such a skewed viewpoint comes after the life he's led -- but we don't and have to slog forward all the same.

    This is about Jeter and the Yankees finding a sweet spot between what both of them want to get to the point that both of them need to be happy. A-Rod has nothing to do with that so let's stop dragging him into it.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.