Jeter, Yanks near richest deal

7-year, $118M contract would beat Brown's


NEW YORK -- Shortstop Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees are close to completing a seven-year, $118.5 million contract that would be the richest in baseball history.

The negotiations could culminate within the next week in a face-to-face meeting between Jeter and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, according to a person familiar with Jeter's contract discussions.

Jeter's representative and the Yankees are still negotiating the construction of the 25-year-old shortstop's signing bonus, but if the final numbers are close to the $118.5 million proposal, then his average annual salary would be about $17 million. Jeter's agent, Casey Close, declined to comment, as did Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kevin Brown is the majors' highest-paid player, after signing a seven-year, $105 million contract in December 1998, for an average of $15 million per year.

Jeter probably wouldn't have the largest contract in baseball for long. Seattle Mariners center fielder Ken Griffey and shortstop Alex Rodriguez are expected to seek deals in the range of $150 million later this year.

Kevin Garnett of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves still has the largest contract in the history of team sports -- a six-year, $126 million deal ($21 million average). Michael Jordan made the highest single-year salary, $33 million for Chicago in the 1997-98 season.

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