The Yankees may go up to $51 million on Jeter; add a fourth year option

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As was reported last night, Jeter and the Yankees spoke again yesterday and things went well.

Afterwards, Jon Heyman reported that, while there is nothing imminent, the Yankees may be willing to go up to $51 million over three years and to possibly add a fourth year in the form of an option. Moshe Mandel of TYU had received similar word from a source prior to Heyman’s report.

All of which fits nicely into the scenario I outlined yesterday: a negotiation more geared towards giving Jeter a face-saving way to accept a contract much closer to that which the Yankees were offering than it is to his reported demands.  $51 million is still high in my mind, but when the gulf between the sides was $65 million or more, $6 million is not exactly a generous concession by the Yankees. A fourth year in and of itself is not smart, but if it’s an option of some kind — especially if it’s a team option or a vesting option — it’s far preferable, and ultimately not much for the team to give up.

But however this shakes out, a face-to-face meeting followed by a report reflecting calmness and (so far) no incendiary leaks to the media suggests that Jeter and the Yankees have started fresh, with an eye towards restoring sanity to the process.

And that’s good news for everyone except the bloggers.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.

Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.

Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.

Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.