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Yankees Decline to Offer Jeter Arbitration; Talks at Impasse

The New York Yankees didn’t offer arbitration to Derek Jeter before a midnight deadline, and contract negotiations between the team and its 36-year-old All-Star shortstop remain at an impasse.

Jeter has won five World Series titles in 16 years with the Yankees and last season passed Babe Ruth as the franchise leader in hits. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has said the team wants to keep Jeter and ESPN reported the Yankees offered $45 million for three years.

If the Yankees had offered arbitration, Jeter would have had the option of accepting a one-year salary determined by an independent arbitrator or signing with another Major League Baseball team as a free agent.

Jeter made $21 million in 2010, the final season of his 10-year, $189 million contract. The Yankees’ captain had a career-low .270 batting average last season, down from .334 the previous year and his lifetime average of .314. Jeter’s .340 on-base percentage in 2010 was the lowest since he became a full-time player in 1996.

Cashman told ESPN yesterday that the Yankees made a “fair and appropriate” contract offer that recognizes Jeter’s contributions to the organization. An 11-time All-Star, Jeter has been the face of the 27-time World Series champions, the most successful team in North American sports.

“We’ve encouraged him to test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this,” Cashman told ESPN. “If he can, fine. That’s the way it works.”

‘Baffled’ at Strategy

Cashman also said he was surprised by a comment from Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, who was quoted on Nov. 21 by the New York Daily News as saying he’s “baffled” by the Yankees’ negotiating strategy.

Cashman told Close two days ago that the Yankees wouldn’t offer arbitration and said no other talks have been scheduled, ESPN said. Close didn’t return a telephone message left at his office regarding Jeter’s contract situation.

Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, last week described Jeter’s contract situation as “a business negotiation” and said he hoped a new deal could be in place by the Christmas holiday.

“None of us want to make it personal because it’s not personal,” Steinbrenner told reporters at baseball’s general managers meetings in Orlando, Florida. “Both sides have a lot of respect for each other. My family has a lot of respect for Derek and I believe it’s a mutual thing. It’s been a good history.”

Shortstops’ Contracts

Since 1990, the only 34-and-older shortstops to sign contracts in excess of $5 million were Marco Scutaro, who received $12.5 million for two years from the Boston Red Sox in 2009, and Miguel Tejada, who got a one-year, $5 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles in 2010.

Florida All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who turns 27 next month, will get $11 million from the Marlins in 2011. Philadelphia Phillies All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who turns 32 on Nov. 27, is set to make $8.5 million next season in the final year of his contract.

Jeter was the eighth-highest earning American athlete this year, according to, making $31 million from his Yankees salary and endorsements that include Ford Motor Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

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