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Derek Jeter talks get shot of optimism after Tampa meeting

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter Credit: Getty Images

With the Winter Meetings beginning Monday in Orlando, Fla., and Cliff Lee slated to be the object of the Yankees’ affection during the annual MLB swap meet, the organization finally appears ready to negotiate with Derek Jeter.

And they’re even doing it face-to-face, rather than through the local tabloids.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Jeter’s long-time friend and agent, Casey Close, met with general manager Brian Cashman for four hours in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. The first sitdown between the sides since Nov. 8 could lead to an agreement with the 36-year-old shortstop.

“I’m confident that Derek will remain with the Yankees, and my brother [Hal] does, as well,” co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner told the Associated Press late Tuesday, a week after noting that “some of these players are wealthier than their bosses.”

The two sides are working to close a $60 million-plus gap between the Yankees’ offer and Jeter’s demands. That would end weeks of back-page contention and clear the way for the Yankees to focus on landing Lee next week.

“We want to keep [Jeter]. He's very important,” Steinbrenner added. “I certainly hope he remains with us and he certainly should.”

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