MLB: AP source: Rivera & the Yanks close at $30M |

MLB: AP source: Rivera & the Yanks close at $30M

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees are close to an agreement on a two-year contract for about $30 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke early Friday on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made. The person said negotiations were not quite complete.

While talks with Derek Jeter have gone slowly, negotiations with Rivera, who turned 41 this week, had proceeded smoothy.

Co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said Thursday night that the sides were moving toward a deal.

“I think you can be pretty confident in Mo,” he said. “We’re looking good.”

Earlier Thursday, the Yankees increased their contract offer to Jeter.

The team informed Jeter’s side of the new offer during a telephone conversation early Thursday, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

“The ball’s in Derek’s court now, and his agent,” Steinbrenner said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s up to them.”

Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, declined comment. But since negotiations resumed Tuesday, talks have appeared to gain a little momentum.

“We don’t know how happy they are. We’ll see,” Steinbrenner said. “There’s no possible way anybody could criticize us for what we’ve offered.”

New York opened with a $45 million, three-year proposal last month, then awaited a formal counteroffer from its captain. It was not known whether the new offer improved the value, contract length or both.

Before the sides met this week in their first session since Nov. 8, Close had suggested a contract averaging about $23 million for four or five seasons.

While negotiating with their own players who became free agents, the Yankees are anticipating talks will intensify at next week’s winter meetings with Cliff Lee. Among other team’s free agents, the 32-year-old left-hander is New York’s No. 1 priority.

“It’s no secret we want Cliff, and we will do what we can to get him,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s the bottom line.”

NOTES: The Yankees and RHP Sergio Mitre agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. He can earn $200,000 more in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 40, 55, 65 and 70 games. New York did not offer contracts to RHP Alfredo Aceves and RHP Dustin Moseley, allowing both to become free agents.