Derek Jeter became the first player this year to beat a club in salary arbitration when he was awarded $5 million Tuesday.
A day after hearing arguments at Tampa, Fla., the three-man panel rejected the New York Yankees' offer of $3.2 million to the All-Star shortstop.
Jeter matched Ruben Sierra's 1992 salary with Texas as the second-highest ever awarded in arbitration. The only higher award is the $5.3 million pitcher Jack McDowell got from the Chicago White Sox in 1994 -- when he lost his case.
Jeter, who made $750,000 last year, was eligible for arbitration for the first time. The case was decided by arbitrators Nicholas Zumas, Ira Jaffe and Gil Vernon.
When Bernie Williams became a free agent last autumn, he said anger from his 1996 arbitration hearing lingered. Williams, the last Yankee to go to a hearing before Jeter, nearly signed with Boston but instead stayed with New York, agreeing to an $87.5 million, seven-year contract.
Jeter, 24, is eligible for free agency after the 2001 season, one year after Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez becomes eligible, which could lead to a record deal.
Jeter hit .324 last season with 19 homers, 84 RBI and 30 steals. He was fifth in the American League in batting average and first in runs with 127.
| Jeter has 5 million reasons to celebrate. (AP) |
Owner had won the first five hearings this year, defeating Montreal infielder Shane Andrews, Boston outfielder Midre Cummings, Kansas City outfielder Johnny Damon, Los Angeles shortstop Mark Grudzielanek and Detroit outfielder Brian Hunter.
Second baseman Ray Durham, scheduled for a hearing Monday, instead agreed to a $20 million, four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.
Durham made $1,935,000 last year and asked for $4.3 million in arbitration after hitting .285 with 19 homers, 67 RBI and 36 steals last season, all career highs. Chicago offered $3.35 million.
He will receive salaries of $3.4 million this season, $4.9 million in 2000, $5.9 million in 2001 and $5.8 million in 2002.
© 1999 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved
for more features.