Report: Jeter, Yanks agree to new deal

Update by Mike: It’s a done deal, says RAB fave Jack Curry. It’s a three-year contract worth a guaranteed $51M with a fourth year player option for $8M. Jeter can also earn an additional $9M in incentives that final year, and there’s a $3M buyout of the option (so $16M per season). Jon Heyman explains that the incentives are based on finishes in the MVP, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove voting. I don’t like the player option at all; Jeter might as well pick it up now.

Original post by Ben (12:55pm ET): According to George A. King III, the Yankees and Derek Jeter will “finalize a three-year deal today.” The two sides are haggling over the final details of a contract that will guarantee Jeter up to $17 million a year. As Jack Curry reported earlier, both Jeter and the recently re-signed Mariano Rivera have agreed to defer money to move the process along.

According to King, “The contract includes a tricky option for a fourth season, neither a vesting situation nor a club option. It is linked to what happens across the three guaranteed years.” Late last night, WFAN’s Sweeney Murti reported that the option would probably be worth around $10 million, bringing Jeter’s total package to a potential four years and $61 million.

In one sense, the Yankees are bidding against themselves for Jeter. No other team has put in an offer, and comparable players are signing for less than 50 percent of what Jeter will earn annually. On the other, though, by upping the offer to $17 million a year for the next three seasons, the Yanks have ensured that Jeter will earn a higher salary than A.J. Burnett. That fact was a sticking point for many.

Ultimately, even though this deal was inevitable from the day the Yanks lost the ALCS, this is a gamble for the team. Jeter will be playing his age 39 season in the final guaranteed year of this contract and will be 40 for the option year. Despite his declining range, there are no plans to move him off short and no obvious landing spots either. We can live with the dollars and the short term, but we’ll have to hope that Jeter’s career-worst .270/.340/.370 was an aberration and not a sign of things to come.

Meanwhile, by wrapping up this deal ahead of the Winter Meetings, the Yanks have all but assured themselves a singular focus in Orlando. Cliff Lee, you’re next.

Additional reporting by Mike Axisa.

Jeter deal could be done today

Update (11:23am): Jack Curry hears that both Jeter and Mariano Rivera have agreed to defer money to move the process along. That’s huge as far as the 2011 payroll is concerned.

Based on the zillions of reports floating around, the Yankees and Derek Jeter could have a new deal finalized sometime today. Ken Rosenthal says it’ll be a three-year pact worth $15-17M annually, and that the fourth year will not be guaranteed nor will it be able to vest. A source called it “creative, hybrid” solution. I wonder how that’s going to work.

Red Sox on the verge of acquiring Adrian Gonzalez

Update (11:10am ET): The Padres will be receiving Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named later in the trade. They were ranked the first, third, and sixth best prospects in Boston’s farm system a few weeks ago.

According to various reports out there, the Red Sox are on the verge of acquiring Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres for a package of prospects, including Casey Kelly. The players are apparently agreed to and MLB has approved a window for Boston to negotiate an extension with the first baseman, but Gonzalez must still take his physical, not a sure thing after having shoulder surgery last month.

Just look at how much the failure to sign Mark Teixeira has impacted the Sox. They had to trade three young players to the Indians for Victor Martinez in 2009 to make up for the lost offense, and now they have to deal even more young players to San Diego to fill the first base hole long-term. And they’re still going have to pay Gonzalez a boatload of money as if he was a free agent. Kinda sucks for them.

Yankees, Jeter getting ‘really close’ to a deal

Via Sweeny Murti, the Yankees and Derek Jeter‘s camp are working deep into the night and are getting “really close” to a deal. The team will not budge on three guaranteed years however, if anything a fourth year would be some kind of option. This entire situation has changed rather drastically in the last four or so days, and there’s a really good chance that this whole thing will be wrapped up before the Winter Meetings officially start on Monday.

Update by Ben (2:00 a.m.): Around an hour ago, Murti offered up a follow-up with some dollars. He reports that the deal for Derek would clock in at three years and $51 million and would include a vesting option for a fourth year at $10 million. I can live with that.

Open Thread: Over The Edge

(AP Photo/The Advocate, Kathleen O'Rourke)

That picture by itself is enough to terrify me, nevermind actually being out there hanging off the side of building 300-something feet in the air. Brian Cashman manned up and rappelled down the 22-story Landmark Building in Stamford three freaking times this morning in advance of this weekend’s Heights and Lights even, and Ben Shpigel brilliantly recapped the ordeal. Here’s video. Maybe I’m just a wuss, but that’s insane.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s open thread. The Rangers and Islanders are wrapping up their home-and-home, plus both the Knicks and Nets are in action. Use this thread for whatever your heart desires.

Weekend Writer Update: We’re still pouring through the applications folks, thanks for being patient.

The RAB Radio Show: December 3, 2010

A lot has happened since we last broadcast. We start with the small, and then move onto the more significant items.

Mariano Rivera is back in pinstripes. There was little doubt that he’d re-sign, but there was an interesting little twist to the negotiations. Apparently there were other teams in on the 41-year-old closer.

Also: is this going to hasten the Jeter negotiations?

We know the Yanks are in on Lee, and something could move next week on that front. But what about Carl Crawford? From what we understand he’s not atop the priority list, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees should neglect him. They’ve apparently been “engaged in talks,” though in off-season lexicon that means very little. If the Yanks somehow lose out on Lee, they could certainly turn to Crawford, create an impenetrable outfield defense, and turn to the trade market for a pitcher.

What are the Yanks plans at catcher? We thought we knew, but a development yesterday made that less certain. The Yanks apparently almost traded Francisco Cervelli for Russell Martin. The Dodgers later non-tendered Martin, so he is a free agent. The Yanks have interest. What does that mean for the 2011 team?

Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll broadcast next from the Winter Meetings in Orlando on Monday.

Podcast run time:

Here’s how you can listen to podcast:

  • Download the RAB Radio Show by right clicking on that link and choosing Save As.
  • Listen in your browser by left clicking the above link or using the embedded player below.
  • Subscribe in iTunes. If you want to rate us that would be great. If you leave a nice review I’ll buy you a beer at a meet-up.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Intro music: “Smile” by Farmer’s Boulevard used under a Creative Commons license

Imagining Crawford and Lee on the payroll

As we learned this morning, the Yankees are talking to Carl Crawford. This shouldn’t strike us as surprising. All season long we heard how much the Yankees liked Crawford. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to sign him. Cliff Lee still appears to be the first priority, meaning Crawford is only a backup plan — and a tough backup plan at that, since it still leaves a hole in the rotation and a surplus in the outfield. Chances are the Yankees are just trying to drive up the price for other teams.

Still, it’s tough not to wonder what the Yankees would look like with Crawford in the outfield and Lee on the mound. In terms of baseball skill, they’d have to be the instant AL favorites. Yet we know the company line on payroll: it won’t rise significantly. The Yankees had about $209 million on the payroll last season ($214 million, per Cot’s, minus the $4 million for Igawa). They then added some salary at the deadline. So maybe, just maybe, we could see the payroll hit $215 million. Can the Yanks fit both Crawford and Lee under that cap?

As it stands, the team has $144 million committed. We can add another $15 million for Mariano Rivera, and we can presume $19 million for Jeter. That brings payroll to $178 million. What about arbitration raises? Baseball-Reference estimates it at just under $11 million, so let’s add that in. The Yanks are now at $189 million, with a few holes still to fill. Now comes the fun part. Let’s add in Lee at $23 million. Payroll would then be $212 million. That appears to be the limit, and that’s before they sign Pettitte. If they bring him back that’s another $12 million or so. In this scenario, the Yankees would have a payroll of nearly $225 million. What’s crazy is that I don’t see what they can do to get it much lower, short of abandoning their Lee pursuit.

At that point it’s tough to see the Yankees, even with all their riches, going any further. Even $225 million seems way above where they’re willing to go. I’d bet that they get that number lower by making a chunk out of Lee’s first-year salary and making it a signing bonus. Even then, payroll would still be over $214 million, and that’s without signing a single bench guy.

Adding Crawford to that might seem like a ton, but it wouldn’t come on its own. Chances are the Yankees would deal Swisher or Granderson in that case, which would knock $8 or $9 million off the salary. They’d probably have to take prospects in return, since adding a major league player would mean adding even more payroll. But signing Crawford and dealing Swisher would be a net add of around $9 million, bringing the total to $234 million. With a few signing bonus manipulations, which will only hurt future years, the Yanks might be able to get that in the $220 million range. Is that something they’re willing to do just in order to put together a behemoth 2011 team?

There might be something else at play here — for all we know, the Steinbrenners could be thinking about selling the team. The Yankees could also think that the added revenue from another long playoff run would help justify these contracts in the future. But given the information we have currently available, signing both Crawford and Lee is a long shot. Talent-wise I don’t think anyone would be against it. But that creates some difficult payroll situations in the future. Are the Yankees ready to start committing $225-plus million to the club every year in the future?