- Associated Press - Thursday, November 11, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Derek Jeter’s grandmother has been joking that he doesn’t have a job.

“Really it doesn’t feel like there’s anything different,” the New York Yankees captain said Thursday about becoming a free agent for the first time. “I understand there’s negotiations that are going to come and those sorts of things, but for me personally I don’t feel any different.”

Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, met with general manager Brian Cashman, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine on Monday in Tampa, Fla. Jeter said the meeting “set the framework” for contract negotiations and went well.

“It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “It wasn’t like meeting people for the first time. It really wasn’t that complicated.”

Cashman, Jeter and fellow free agent Mariano Rivera were all together in New York on Thursday night, but not for negotiations. Before attending former manager Joe Torre’s Safe At Home Foundation benefit, they couldn’t avoid contract talk.

“It’d be nice to get it over with so you don’t have to answer any more questions,” Jeter said. “It’s not just reporters. You walk down the street and people want to know, ‘Come play for this team. Come play for that team.’”

Cashman described the negotiations with Jeter as in their “infancy stages.”

“He wants us as much as we want him,” Cashman said.

Rivera said of his contract negotiations: “I don’t know anything.”

Cashman’s busy week also included sitting down with free-agent target Cliff Lee and his wife in Little Rock, Ark., on Wednesday. It was the first time Cashman had met the ace left-hander.

“Just seemed like a great guy that’s not very excitable, excellent at what he does, knows what he wants to do,” Cashman said. “Wants to put his family in the best position possible. Wants to be happy. Wants to be successful. Wants to be part of a winner.”

The Yankees‘ competition probably will include the Texas Rangers, who acquired Lee in July and rode him to their first World Series appearance.

“This is a place that intrigues them a great deal,” Cashman said of the Lees coming to New York. “But unfortunately there’s other places I’m sure intrigue them as well.”

Cashman also met with Jorge Posada on Monday. The 39-year-old catcher had arthroscopic surgery to repair a small tear in the meniscus of his left knee Wednesday.

“We had a good, honest, direct conversation,” Cashman said. “He was professional. All he wants to do is win, and he wants to play. If things go the way we’re drawing it up, he’ll be in the lineup as the DH. But I told him he needs to prepare as a catcher at the same time, because it doesn’t mean things will go the way you expect.”

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