Derek Jeter's big-money deal with the New York Yankees could be only a few days away.
New York and its All-Star shortstop hope to agree by next week to a contract for nine or 10 years, worth an average of $18 million to $19 million per season.
The sides have been negotiating for weeks and are trying to complete the talks before a scheduled arbitration hearing Monday in Phoenix.
Second-Highest in Sports History?
They have narrowed their differences in recent days, and one baseball official with knowledge of the talks, speaking on the condition he not be identified, said Thursday an agreement was likely within a few days.
At that price, the contract would total $162 million to $190 million, which would be the second-highest in sports history, trailing only the $252 million, 10-year deal agreed to in December by Jeter's friend, Alex Rodriguez, and the Texas Rangers.
Last winter, Jeter and the Yankees reached a tentative agreement on a $118.5 million, seven-year contract, but Yankees owner George Steinbrenner refused to finalize the deal because its average salary of $16,928,571 would have been the highest in baseball at the time.
Jeter and the team then agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract. The Yankees went on to win their third straight World Series, their fourth in the five years Jeter has been with the team. The 26-year-old shortstop then was voted most valuable player of both the All-Star game and the World Series.
All-Star Could Be in Top Three
Jeter, eligible for salary arbitration after next season, appears likely to wind up with 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 a $160 million, eight-year contract.
In arbitration, Jeter asked for $18.5 million, which would be the highest one-year contract in baseball history. The Yankees countered at $14.25 million, the highest amount offered by a team, but neither side expects the case to go to a hearing.
Mariano Rivera is the only other Yankees player in arbitration. The closer, also eligible for free agency after next season, has asked for a raise from $7.25 million to $10.25 million after losing in arbitration last year.
New York offered the reliever $9 million.