Yankees, Jeter finalize $51 million deal

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TAMPA, Fla. | Derek Jeter can admit it now: He was definitely getting steamed at the New York Yankees.

While Jeter tried to keep talks quiet as the sides negotiated, the Yankees went public with suggestions his increasing age and decreased numbers should result in a pay cut.

At one point, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the 36-year-old shortstop should explore other options if he was dissatisfied with New York’s offer.

“I was pretty angry about it, and I let that be known,” Jeter said Tuesday after finalizing a $51 million, three-year contract that cut his salary. “I was angry about it because I was the one that said I didn’t want to do it. I said I was the one that wasn’t going to do it.”

At a news conference at the team’s spring training home to announce the agreement, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman maintained there will be no lingering fallout. Manager Joe Girardi and Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal sat alongside Jeter, while Hank Steinbrenner was in the back and Jeter’s dad in the audience along with Jeter’s agent, Casey Close.

“A big happy family,” Jeter said. “You move past it. It’s over with, and I won’t bring it up again. I’m happy because this is where I want to be.”

Following a Nov. 8 meeting, talks came to a standstill as the sides expressed frustration with each other. Wanting negotiations to remain private, Jeter was dismayed when Cashman suggested he explore the market.

“To hear the organization telling me to go shopping and I just told you I wasn’t going to, oh yeah, if I’m going to be honest with you, I was angry about it,” Jeter said.

And the public comments from team officials rankled Jeter.

“The thing that probably bothered me the most was how public this became,” he said. “The negotiations were suppose to be private. It was an uncomfortable position I felt that I was in. It was not an enjoyable experience because throughout the years I’ve prided myself on keeping things out of the media and this turned into a big public thing.

“That was something I was not happy about and let my feelings be known. I never wanted to be a free agent. It was the situation I was in. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t angry,” he said.

He maintained even before the start of negotiations that he wouldn’t discuss playing for other teams.

“At the end of the season I said that in private meetings I had with the Yankee organization. I had never planned on going anywhere,” Jeter said. “I didn’t want to talk to any other teams. I didn’t want to hear from other teams. I told Casey that. This was a situation where this is the only team I ever want to play for, contrary to some other reports.”

Cashman pointed out Jeter’s performance. He hit .270 with 10 homers this year, 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.

“You’d like to think that last year was a hiccup, I guess,” Jeter said. “But it’s my job to go out there and prove that it was.”

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