Jeter, Yankees Reach Deal

ByRonald Blum

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

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

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

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

Second-Largest in Sports History

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

It raises the Yankees' payroll to $99,337,143 for 20 signedplayers, with closer Mariano Rivera still in arbitration andexpected 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 thedeal because he didn't want to set any salary records, preferringto wait for a $143 million, eight-year contract between JuanGonzalez 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 homersand 73 RBIs.

He went on to become MVP of the All-Star game and the WorldSeries as the Yankees won baseball's championship for the thirdstraight season and the fourth time in five years since Jeterjoined the team.

Rodriguez Deal Drove Up Price

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

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

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

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

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

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