The national nightmare is over – Derek Jeter will be a Yankee for the next three years and possibly four.

After a month-long battle that saw his agent Casey Close call an offer baffling and a trading card company (Beckett) superimpose images of Jeter in other uniforms, the riveting saga and debate of who is right and wrong has ended.

It ended Saturday when reports surfaced that Jeter agreed to return for a deal worth $51 million with an $8 million player option for 2014.

Jeter just finished a $189 million, 10-year contract that also was contentiously negotiated and following the worst season of his career, the Yankees initially offered him a $45 million, three-year deal. Talks drew to a halt after both sides grew annoyed with the other but last week the talks resumed. It allowed Yankee fans to go on with the rest of their life while wondering if they will get the Jeter who batted .334 in 2009 a continuation of the 2010 decline.

That means Jeter will get to add to a legacy of five championship rings and nothing but winning to go along with various endorsement deals that come with being an iconic athlete. For the Yankees, they avoid a public relations nightmare by signing a player who has never embarrassed himself or teammates.

The toughest part now falls on manager Joe Girardi, who has to determine if Jeter still is a leadoff hitter and may eventually have to decide if Jeter is still a shortstop in the final years of this deal.

Jeter’s negotiations were hardly the first time a Yankee icon faced a battle with management. Early in his career Joe DiMaggio held out and players such as Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra faced a frugal GM in George Weiss during the 1950s.

For Jeter, the simple fact was that where else was he going to go?

Though GM Brian Cashman challenged Jeter to test the waters, there was not a market for an aging shortstop coming off a career-worst .270 batting average who won a Gold Glove despite having average defensive range. There also was the fact Jeter is a life-long Yankee and seeing him on another team would be almost like Jackie Robinson being a Giant after getting sold by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

Jeter’s presence also has helped impact the Yankee stream of revenue. Without Jeter and others leading the franchise to four titles in five years, the Yankees might not be able to establish their own cable-television network and expand their brand in other ways.

One of those ways will be when Jeter closes in becoming the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. Jeter is 74 shy of the mark, so around the middle of the season, expect to see shirts priced at around $25-30 celebrating the occasion.

It would have looked bizarre to see those sold anywhere else and even though it was never a doubt, Jeter is where he belongs – in pinstripes now everyone will see what the return is on this high-priced investment.

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