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Yanks' Jeter Takes 1-Year Deal

With Derek Jeter's $118.5 million, seven-year contract on hold, the New York Yankees instead agreed Thursday to a $10 million, one-year deal with their star shortstop.

"I said it before: I'd like to sign a long-term deal, but it's not up to me, it's up the team to make that decision," Jeter said from Tampa, Fla. "I don't think the team owes me a long-term deal. That's not how it works. I have two more years. Then you can start negotiating. Then you can make decisions on your own."

Jeter, 25, is eligible for free agency after the 2001 season, when he will have six years of major league service.

Yankees manager Joe Torre doesn't want Jeter to hit the open market. He wants New York owner George Steinbrenner to just show Jeter the money.

"I'd like to see him sign a long-term contract because, to me, he's the future of the franchise," Torre said Thursday. "He's going to play the same, whether he's making a dollar or $100 million."

    Yankees Manager Joe Torre Talks About Derek Jeter Signing.(SportsLine)
  • Yankees' Joe Torre
  • Yankees' Joe Torre
  • New York and Jeter's agent, Casey Close, have been talking about a $118.5 million, seven-year deal. Both the total and the average of $16,928,571 would top the current salary records, set by pitcher Kevin Brown and the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 1998, a $105 million, seven-year contract that averages $15 million per season.

    Knowing that the price only goes up, Yankees officials have been trying to convince Steinbrenner to give Jeter a long-term deal.

    Steinbrenner is sometimes reluctant to set salary marks. Now he can finalize the rest of the contract as an extension, hoping that Juan Gonzalez and the Detroit Tigers go first with the $140 million, eight-year contract they've been negotiating.

    New York has never made Jeter a formal multiyear proposal, just hinted at one.

    "We've had discussions trying to work to an offer," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Discussions have to continue and they will, but there's no guarantee we'll get anything done."

    Jeter's deal is the second-highest ever for a one-year contract, trailing only the $12 million contract Yankees pitcher David Cone agreed to in December. And his contract increases New York's payroll to $84,961,810 for 2 players, with Mariano Rivera, who figures to make $7.25 million to $9.25 million, the only big-money player still unsigned.

    New York agreed to the deal with Jeter this week because their arbitration hearing was scheduled for Monday.

    "We weren't going to get anything done between now and the arbitration date on a multiyear deal," Jeter said.

    Jeter's income has jumped meteorically. He made $130,000 when he was American League Rookie of the Year in 1996, $550,000 in 1997, $750,000 in 1998 and $5 million after winning in arbitration last year.

    Since he's joined the team full-time, the Yankees have won three World Series in four seasons.

    "I'm paying a lot of tax now," he joked. "It's kind of overwhelming, the way I've been compensated the last few years. It's not really something I sit around and think about too much."

    He hit .349 last season with 219 hits, 24 homers and 102 RBIs, all career highs. And already he's thinking about the possibility of a third straight Series title.

    "We only think about one thing: winning," Jeter said. "You don't think: We won in '96, '98, '99, that's good enough. You play to win a championship every year. I think the motivating factor for this team is championships, and we won't settle for anything less."

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