Consider this quote from a recent New York Times article about Derek Jeter playing in the last year of his 10-year, $189 million contract: “Per team policy, the Yankees do not negotiate contract extensions during the season.”
Jeter, one of the best shortstops of all time, seems perfectly content to abide by the Yankees’ policy and wait until the end of the season to discuss a new deal.
Why? The Yankees’ policy gains negotiation power from three key objective criteria:
1. Precedent power – the Yankees’ have followed this policy in past player negotiations;
2. Tradition power – the longer a practice is followed the stronger it becomes; and
3. Policy power – policies are used in the negotiation context to promote uniformity and consistency.
Good negotiators use objective criteria in negotiations to support their claim that something is “fair and reasonable.” Here, the cumulative effect of multiple powerful objective criteria makes it very difficult for a player to argue otherwise. Other teams which don’t have a similar policy or have made prior exceptions would have a much harder time turning down a request from a top player like Jeter to negotiate a contract extension during the season.