The iconic shortstop and the New York Yankees reached a preliminary agreement Saturday on a $51 million, three-year contract with an $8 million player option for 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
While negotiations moved slowly, there was little doubt that the Yankees captain would remain in the Bronx. Beloved by fans and respected by his peers, Jeter wants to be a Yankee for his entire career in the mold of Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
The guaranteed portion of the contract includes a $3 million buyout if the option is declined. If it is exercised, Jeter would earn $56 million over four seasons.
The player option can escalate up to $17 million. The amount depends on a points system. He earns points based on if he finishes anywhere among top six in AL MVP voting and if he wins World Series MVP, league championship series MVP, Gold Glove or Silver Slugger awards. If he earns the maximum, he would get $65 million over the four years.
Jeter has finished in the top six in the MVP voting four times, placing second in 2006. He won the World Series MVP award in 2000 and has five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers.
There is deferred money included, which for the purposes of baseball's collective bargaining agreement and the luxury tax brings its average annual value to about $16 million annually, just above the $15,775,000 average in the 10-year deal agreed to this week by Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki.
Coming off a $189 million, 10-year contract, Jeter initially had been offered a $45 million, three-year deal. After a Nov. 8 meeting, talks came to a standstill as the sides expressed frustration with each other. But talks resumed Tuesday with a meeting in Tampa, Fla., and the sides negotiated over the rest of the week until they reached the agreement.
New York has a roster filled with veteran players, many in their 30s with high-paying long-term deals topped by the record $275 million, 10-year contract running through 2017 for 35-year-old third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Unlike A-Rod, who admitted using steroids before his time with the Yankees, Jeter has been a model citizen since coming up to the Yankees in 1995 and winning the AL Rookie of the Year award the following season. He helped lead the team to World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009, setting a standard admired and envied throughout baseball.
Jeter's 2010 season made the contract situation more complicated. Despite winning his second consecutive Gold Glove and becoming the oldest AL shortstop to win the award, he showed less range. And he declined at the plate to a .270 average with 10 homers, down from a .334 average and 18 homers the previous season.
While his RBIs increased by one to 67, his on-base percentage fell from .406 to .340 and his slugging average dropped from .465 to .370.
New York also has been working to finalize a $30 million, two-year agreement with closer Mariano Rivera, which also contains deferred money. The Yankees also are awaiting a decision by left-hander Andy Pettitte, who told the team he was leaning toward retirement.
After settling with Jeter and Rivera, the Yankees will next turn their attention to the pursuit of left-hander Cliff Lee.
Negotiations for the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner, who is wanted back by the Texas Rangers, figure to intensify when the winter meetings start Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
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