Jeter inches closer to a deal with the Yankees

A month in the life of Derek Jeter(notes) was true to its predictable story arc – buildup, conflict, Jeter-in-Olde-Towne-Photoshop-mockup, and resolution.

Soon, presumably, we can get back to the more pressing issue for the New York Yankees, which, if we heard them quite right, is to sign a 36-not-26-year-old, reality-potion-drinking, un-baffled, businessman shortstop who understands it’s 2010, not 2000.

There ought to be a few of those around.

Yes, the mood in the Bronx seems to have lightened considerably in recent hours, the goodwill greased perhaps by the news Mariano Rivera(notes) was re-upping for another two years and another $30 million.

A source told the Associated Press that Jeter and the Yankees had made “significant or substantial” progress in their talks, three days after Jeter’s people and Steinbrenner people met in Tampa to take their negotiations inside.

The only solid numbers made public were the Yankees’ initial offer of $45 million over three years. The rest has been vague, as in how many more years and how many more millions Jeter was insisting on. The prevailing opinion had Jeter demanding a fourth guaranteed year and an average annual value closer to his previous contract, which was $18.9 million.

If the Yankees are able to sign Jeter in the coming days – or hours – they’ll go to Orlando for the winter meetings able to concentrate on their desire to sign free agent Cliff Lee(notes). They also are expected to meet with the representatives for free agent outfielder Carl Crawford(notes), who is drawing attention from several teams, among them the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox.

If the Yankees and Jeter were unable to reach a deal Friday night, they were expected to continue their dialogue Saturday.

Tim Brown is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. He co-authored with Jim Abbott the memoir “Imperfect: an Improbable Life”.   Follow him on Twitter.   Send Tim a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Friday, Dec 3, 2010