Posada Signs with the Yankees

The New York Yankees and Jorge Posada agreed Monday night to a $52.4 million, four-year contract that keeps the catcher off the free-agent market. Posada was ranked one of the most lucrative free agents (ranking at #5 from a list of 144), so this is a huge accomplishment for both the player and the Yankees.

Posada is a five-time All-Star. We’ve heard reports that the deal to sign with the Yankees was “really close,” although initial reports were for a three contract in the forty million dollar range.

Posada’s $13.1 million average salary becomes the highest for a catcher, topping the $10 million Detroit’s Ivan Rodriguez and Boston’s Jason Varitek currently are guaranteed and the $13 million Mike Piazza averaged under his contract with the New York Mets from 1999-05. Rodriguez will earn $13 million next year, the option season of his contract with the Tigers.

New York also was trying to re-sign Mariano Rivera before Tuesday, when free agents could start talking money with all clubs, but those talks were taking longer to complete.

The Yankees initially offered the 36-year-old Posada a three-year contract but increased their proposal to four years on Monday evening.

Posada hit a team-high .338 this year with 20 homers and 90 RBIs. He set career highs for average, slugging percentage (.543), and on-base percentage (.426).

Now the Yankees have to sign Mariano Rivera, who was in the Dominican Republic on Monday. The Yankees closer said if he couldn’t reach a deal with New York, he would consider following manager Joe Torre to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is expected to receive a three-year contract and Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Rivera already had been given an improved offer.

“The Yankees are my first option,” he said in Santo Domingo. “But if that is not possible, there is Joe with the Dodgers.”

General manager Brian Cashman said re-signing the pair were his top priorities right now.

“The ball’s pretty much in their court now. They’ve both been made very good offers now, and we’ll see where they’re at,” Steinbrenner said Monday afternoon. “We’ll see how committed they are.”

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~ by mlb2007playoffs on November 13, 2007.

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