NEW YORK -- General manager Brian Cashman has negotiated his fair share of big-time contracts during his time with the Yankees. The ones he has to confront this offseason, though, might be the most difficult.
Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will be free agents this offseason. Although the assumption is that the Yankees will be able to retain both, that doesn't mean the negotiations will be easy.
"Like Joe Girardi, the intent for the organization is to have them back. We want them back," Cashman said. "The intent of the players is to stay; they don't want to be anywhere else. That creates a great atmosphere of getting something done."
The negotiations with Jeter will be delicate, considering the down year the shortstop had at the age of 36. It's up to Cashman to determine whether 2010 was an aberration or the start of Jeter's inevitable decline.
"He's still one of the better shortstops in this game. Obviously he is getting older. There's no doubt about that," Cashman said. "Derek obviously has been and will be an important part of this organization. How it gets defined in this new negotiation is yet to be determined."
Cashman said the team had yet to discuss the upcoming negotiations internally, for fear of any information about its approach leaking out. He added, though, that the franchise doesn't back away from making difficult decisions.
"It's not about money. It's about what's best for the franchise," Cashman said. "We move forward. We're not afraid to make tough decisions, what's best for the franchise. And we'll keep doing that."
Cashman, though, hopes the Yankees don't have to move forward at shortstop or at closer.
"If a player wants to be here and we want to keep him, and the discussions are fair and legitimate, it gets done," Cashman said. "If things don't work out that way, it means one side sees it differently than another, and then it can drag out. That's also possible, too. At the end of the day, I think the recipe is all there for positive relationships to continue."