TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees and shortstop Derek Jeter have finalized terms of a new three-year contract.
Financial details were not disclosed in the club's release, although reports this past weekend indicated that it will pay the Yankee captain at least $51 million. The contract also contains a player option for 2014.
Jeter just completed a 10-year, $189 million deal and had one of his worst seasons in 2010, as he batted a career-low .270 with 10 homers and 67 runs batted in. He still scored 111 runs and won a Gold Glove for the fifth time after committing just six errors, although his range has been questioned recently.
It was always thought that Jeter's new, and possibly final, deal would be somewhat easy to construct because of his value to the Yankees on and off the field. However, at age 36 and coming off a down season, it made for a more difficult process.
"We didn't want him going anywhere," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman at Tuesday's press conference. "This was a long negotiation like they always are. This was one of the big topics for this particular winter."
The Yankees had initially offered a three-year contract worth $45 million and reports had indicated that Jeter's agent, Casey Close, was seeking a deal for four or five years worth about $23 million per season. The two sides met in Florida last Tuesday and the Yankees were said to have upped their offer to about $17 million per season but still only for three years. Another bargaining session on Friday apparently produced the parameters of the deal.
"I've never had one of these before," Jeter joked as he stepped to the podium. "This is the only organization that I've ever wanted to play for and where I want to finish my career."
The negotiations played out through the media, something Jeter said angered him to an extent.
"I think the thing that bothered me the most was how public this became," Jeter said. "The negotiations were supposed to be private. It was not an enjoyable position to be in. This turned into a big public thing. I never wanted to be a free agent. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't angry at how some of this went."
Reports during the process indicated that the Yankees told Jeter to test the market, but he said that was never a consideration.
"I told Casey, I didn't want to talk to any other teams, I didn't want to hear from any other teams," Jeter stressed. "I never wanted to go anywhere else."
Jeter has spent his entire career with the Yankees, who made him the sixth overall pick of the 1992 draft. He broke into the majors on May 29, 1995, and had a 15-game stint that year, then was handed the starting shortstop job in 1996 and went on to win Rookie of the Year honours while helping the Yankees to their first World Series title since 1978.
Named the team's 11th captain in 2003, Jeter has helped the Yankees win five World Series titles during his 15 full seasons and is on the verge of becoming the first Yankee to record 3,000 hits. He needs just 74 to reach the milestone.
Prior to this past season's downturn, the 11-time All-Star had batted at least .300 for five straight seasons. He is a career .314 hitter with 234 homers, 1,135 runs batted in and 1,685 runs scored.
"He is a true Yankee," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was also in attendance Tuesday. "He embodies what the Yankees are all about. We're all fortunate he's back."
Even with his gaudy regular-season numbers, the postseason is where Jeter has proven his true worth. He is a career .309 hitter with 20 home runs and 101 runs scored in 147 postseason games, and has batted .321 in his seven World Series appearances. In the 2000 Fall Classic against the New York Mets, he hit .409 with a pair of homers and was named the MVP.