Jeter, Yankees Reach Deal

N E W   Y O R K, Feb. 9, 2001 -- Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees agreed today to a $189 million, 10-year contract after more than 13 months of negotiations.

Yankees President Randy Levine and Casey Close, the agent for the All-Star shortstop, finalized details of the deal this morning, according to a baseball official familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition he not be identified.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who backed away from a long-term commitment to Jeter last winter, then gave his permission to finalize the contract, the official said.

"This was an arduous process," Levine said. "This is an agreement that's a fair agreement and a great agreement for everybody."

Second-Largest in Sports History

Jeter's contract package is the second-largest in sports history, trailing only the $252 million, 10-year agreement in December between shortstop Alex Rodriguez and the Texas Rangers.

It raises the Yankees' payroll to $99,337,143 for 20 signed players, with closer Mariano Rivera still in arbitration and expected to get a salary of $9 million to $10 million.

Last year, Levine and Close agreed to a $118.5 million, seven-year contract for Jeter, but Steinbrenner wouldn't close the deal because he didn't want to set any salary records, preferring to wait for a $143 million, eight-year contract between Juan Gonzalez and Detroit to be finalized.

But Gonzalez's deal stalled and then fell apart. Jeter signed a $10 million, one-year contract.

Jeter, 26, hit a team-leading .339 last season with 15 homers and 73 RBIs.

He went on to become MVP of the All-Star game and the World Series as the Yankees won baseball's championship for the third straight season and the fourth time in five years since Jeter joined the team.

Rodriguez Deal Drove Up Price

Jeter's price then went up when Rodriguez signed with Texas. The average annual value of his contract, $18.9 million, is baseball's third-highest behind Rodriguez ($25.2 million) and Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez ($20 million).

Jeter had been eligible for free agency after this season but he had no desire to follow Rodriguez's example and test his value on the market.

"I've said it before: I want to be a Yankee for life. I've been very vocal about that for the last few years," he said Monday.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, originally scheduled for a hearing Thursday, will have his case rescheduled for Feb. 14 or 19 following the firing of his agents, Jim Bronner and Bob Gilhooley, by SFX Entertainment Inc. Randy Hendricks will take over arguing Rivera's case.

Rivera is asking for a raise from $7.25 million to $10.25 million, and Bronner turned down a $27 million, three-year deal. The Yankees offered $9 million in arbitration.