Yanks, Jeter closing in on deal worth nearly $190 million
Updated: Saturday February 03, 2001 3:22 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Derek Jeter is about to get his fourth World Series ring -- and the second-biggest contract in sports history.
Jeter and the New York Yankees neared agreement Friday on a 10-year deal worth just under $190 million.
While the Yankees wouldn't comment publicly on the talks, the progress was reported by a baseball official familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition he not be identified.
"We're getting there," said Casey Close, the agent for the All-Star shortstop.
The sides had been scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing Monday in Phoenix, but decided Friday to postpone it.
Depending on how much of the money is in the later years of the contract or is deferred, the total value probably will wind up between $185 million and $189 million, the official said.
While the sides still were discussing whether the contract would be nine or 10 years long, the official said it probably would wind up as the latter.
For Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, it would be his longest deal since December 1980, when he agreed to a 10-year contract with Dave Winfield that turned about to be worth about $18.3 million.
Jeter's contract, if finalized, would trail only the 10-year, $252 million deal agreed to in December between Texas and shortstop Alex Rodriguez, Jeter's good friend.
New York and Jeter came close to a multiyear contract last winter, reaching a tentative agreement on a seven-year, $118.5 million deal.
Steinbrenner didn't want to go through with it because its average salary, $16,928,571, would have been the highest in baseball at the time.
New York then avoided arbitration with Jeter by agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract and went on to win its third consecutive World Series.
Jeter, 26, has played for four World Series championship teams in the five seasons he has been with the Yankees, a feat likened to Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, who helped the Yankees win the World Series six times in eight seasons after he joined the team in 1946.
Jeter is eligible for free agency after next season, and the Yankees don't want to risk him reaching the open market, where his price could go even higher.
As it stands, he would get the third-highest average salary in baseball, trailing only Rodriguez ($25.2 million), and Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez ($20 million), who agreed in December to an eight-year $160 million contract.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is scheduled for an arbitration hearing Wednesday. Rivera, who lost in arbitration last year, asked for a raise from $7.25 million to $10.25 million. The Yankees offered $9 million.