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.”
Nationals join race for Lee
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Well, well, look who’s entered the Cliff Lee sweepstakes — those cash-slingin’ Washington Nationals.
OK, general manager Mike Rizzo admits they probably won’t get him. But the fact the Nationals are even talking to Lee’s agent signals a shift at these winter meetings. As in, this session isn’t just for the Yankees, Red Sox and baseball’s other big spenders.
The Arizona Diamondbacks kept busy Tuesday, giving free agent reliever J.J. Putz a $10 million, two-year deal. Colorado filled a need by getting 2010 All-Star infielder Ty Wigginton, and Pittsburgh added pitcher Kevin Correia, both with $8 million, two-year contracts.
Also, pitcher Dustin Moseley wound up with San Diego, and outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Former AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke was said to be available for any team willing to meet Kansas City’s steep price.
Yankees waiting for Lee’s agent
Tampa, Fla. — After meeting with Cliff Lee’s agent at the winter meetings, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is awaiting a go-ahead from Darek Braunecker to make a contract offer.
“If they’re ready to take one, I’m willing to get serious,” Cashman said. “We’re just waiting for them to get to that position. I know what we’re willing to do and how far we’re willing to go. We’d to love to add Cliff Lee to the Yankee rotation, there’s no doubt about that. He knows that.”
McCourt marital pact ruled invalid
Los Angeles — A postnuptial agreement giving Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers was thrown out Tuesday by a judge, allowing McCourt’s ex-wife to seek half of one of baseball’s most storied franchises and leaving the team’s future uncertain.
Despite the ruling by Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon, the bitter saga over who owns the team is no closer to resolution. It could, however, force the feuding former couple to reach a settlement to avoid further off-field distractions.
Free-agent safety turns down Jets
New York — Keith Fitzhugh chose operating trains over a shot at a Super Bowl.
The free-agent safety turned down an offer to join the New York Jets to remain a conductor with Norfolk Southern Railroad and stay on track financially while helping support his parents in Atlanta.
“I’ve got something now where I know every two weeks I’m getting a paycheck,” Fitzhugh told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday night. “That’s what helps out the most right now. I don’t knock the Jets at all. I highly appreciate them.”
Colts lose CB Powers for season
Indianapolis — The Indianapolis Colts have put starting cornerback Jerraud Powers on injured reserve due to a broken right forearm and have re-signed running back Dominic Rhodes.
Power was hurt in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Dallas and is the 14th Indy player to go on injured reserve this season.
Wannstedt out at Pitt
Pittsburgh — Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt is being forced out of the job he always wanted and the one he never truly wanted to leave.
Wannstedt resigned under pressure Tuesday, three days after Pittsburgh finished up a disappointing 7-5 season by beating Cincinnati 28-10. The former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins coach will remain as a special assistant to athletic director Steve Pederson.
Pitt apparently chose to change coaches now, rather than after playing Kentucky in the Jan. 8 Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., because most top candidates would not be available then, and national signing day would be less than a month away.
Hoosiers give Wilson 7-year contract
Bloomington, Ind. — The Indiana Hoosiers have given new football coach Kevin Wilson a seven-year contract worth $1.2 million per year.
The school announced contract terms about 15 minutes before Wilson’s introductory news conference Tuesday.
Wilson has been the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma since 2006 and worked under coach Bob Stoops since 2002.
Ex-UConn star Quimby dies
Storrs, Conn. — Former University of Connecticut basketball star Art Quimby, who averaged more than 21 rebounds a game for the Huskies in the 1950s, has died. He was 77.
UConn officials announced his death Tuesday, without providing additional details.
Quimby led the nation in rebounding in 1954, averaging almost 23 per game.