Derek Jeter smiling

UPDATE: Yankees on verge of deal with Derek Jeter

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UPDATE: We’re still hearing it’s a three-year deal worth between $15-17 million per season, but here’s a little more on the fourth year.

A source tells Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger that the fourth year will include a combination of guaranteed money and compensation that will also be tied to incentives. Described as “very unusual” by the source, the two sides are still “tweaking” the structure of the fourth year, which appears to be the final hurdle before this one becomes official.

Carig writes that negotiations could be completed as soon as tonight, but that an official announcement may not come until next week’s winter meetings.

11:32 AM: Jack Curry of YES Network reports that both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera have agreed to defer money as part of their new contracts.

10:25 AM: Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that Jeter’s new contract is “for around” $16 million per season and may be finalized by as soon as today. He adds that “final hurdles” will determine how the fourth year will be treated. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that it will be a three-year deal worth between $15-17 million per season. Interestingly, he hears that a fourth year will not be guaranteed, nor will it be a vesting option, however it will be something called a “creative, hybrid solution.” Stay tuned.

8:37 AM: While most of us were sleeping, Sweeny Murti of WFAN.com tweeted that Derek Jeter and the Yankees were talking about a three-year contract worth $51 million (less than last night’s reported numbers) which would include an option for a fourth year valued at $10 million. He reports that the two sides are getting “very close.” I imagine it was the Rod Barajas contract that gave Jeter the leverage he needed.

In any case, it sounds like an agreement could be reached at any moment, so stay tuned for the latest.

Friday, 11:25 PM: It’s almost over.

Roger Rubin and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News report that the Yankees could reach a deal with Derek Jeter by as early as tonight or Saturday.

No surprise, both sides compromised from their initial demands. According to the report, Jeter would make somewhere “in the neighborhood” of $19 million annually over three years and the contract could include a vesting option for a fourth year with “reachable parameters.” Gee, it’s almost like this whole thing has been scripted.

Sweeney Murti of WFAN.com hears similar contract details and adds that the Yankees are “working into the night” to get a contract done. It sounds like they want to get Jeter and Mariano Rivera out of the way before the winter meetings begin next week.

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.

We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.

Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.

It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.

Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.

This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.