It's almost like the Yankees and Derek Jeter went out of their way to script their eventual agreement on a new contract like a romantic comedy.
When the movie starts, our two heroes couldn't be further apart. The team thinks the shortstop is too old and too greedy while the shortstop thinks the team is disloyal and capricious in their refusal to remember the good times. Angry things are said in the press, with each side's friends weighing in and pressing their case to make it seem like a rapprochement is impossible. And then, at the eleventh hour, the two sides come back together again and realize that life isn't worth living if they aren't doing it together.
All that's missing is a dramatic rainstorm, a few montages set to pop music and the rapier wit of Nora Ephron.
The Yankees met with Jeter's agent Casey Close again on Thursday and word has somehow leaked out to every interested media member in the world about the changes in the landscape. After days of standing tough, the Yankees have increased their offer while Jeter's camp has indicated their willingness to accept a lower figure.
Why the change in posture at this point in time? Well, there's the obvious part that negotiations almost always start with two sides taking very different positions and then finding their way to an acceptable midpoint. There's also the fact that no one in this little dance has shown the slightest interest in breaking up their relationship. And, finally, there's the fact that the winter meetings get underway on Monday.
That's not insignificant because it is pretty widely believed that Cliff Lee will be signing his new contract by the end of those meetings. Assuming that the Yankees are the team to win his signature, it is not an occasion that they'd like to mark with whiny columns from the Mike Lupicas of the world about how they can find their wallets when it is time to sign a new player but don't have any respect for players like Jeter. The premise is flawed and the logic is laughable, but it's found some space in the ether and the Yankees would like to stage manage a grand moment for Lee's entrance and Jeter's re-coronation.
In the end, everybody from Jeter to the Yankees to the fans to those of us who got lots of easy fodder to write about is a winner.