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.

Magic Johnson says the Dodgers will win the World Series

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Baseball, as we so often note around here, is unpredictable. Especially when it comes to the playoffs. You can be the best team in the land for six months but a few bad days can end your season once October hits.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in the regular season but lost the ALCS to the Yankees, four games to one. In 1906 the Cubs won 116 games in a 152-game season and lost the World Series. In 1954 the Indians won 111 games in a 154-game season and lost the World Series. In 1931 the Philadelphia A’s won 107 games and lost the World Series.

More recently, with the advent of expanded playoffs, the chances for the team with the best record to win the World Series have been pretty dang terrible. Since the beginning of the wild card era, only five times has the team with the game’s best record gone on to win the World Series: The 1998 and 2009 Yankees, the 2007 and 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Cubs. That’s it.

At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball’s best record. They’re 71-31 and sit 12 games up in their division. Their playoff chances are almost 100%. The above examples notwithstanding, if you had to make a prediction as to who might win the World Series, it would not be unreasonable to pick the Dodgers. Sure, you’d want to make sure they got Clayton Kershaw back by early September or thereabouts to make it a safer prediction, but it’d be a totally defensible pick. Maybe even the one most people make.

But it’d be the utmost in magical thinking to presume that one could make such a prediction with any degree of certainty, right? The Los Angeles Times, however, passes along some Magical thinking:

Magic Johnson called his shot Thursday night, and he wasn’t shy about it. The Dodgers’ co-owner did not hesitate when he predicted how the team would finish this year.

“The Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year,” Johnson said. “This is our year.”

The headline calls it a “guarantee.” I don’t know if I’d call it that — I think it’s more of a confident prediction — but it is a bold statement whatever you call it.

If I had to pick one team at the moment — and we could assume a healthy Clayton Kershaw — I suppose I would make them my World Series favorites too. And, yes, if I had an ownership interest in the Dodgers, I’d probably say what Johnson said.

But given the example of history, I think “field” would be a much safer bet.

Mariners trade Steve Cishek to the Rays for swingman Erasmo Ramirez.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, with a 15/7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He’s a setup man right now, but he has experience as a closer, saving 25 games for Seattle last year and as many as 39 back when he pitched for the Marlins in 2014.

Ramirez has appeared in 26 games for the Rays and has started eight games. He’s 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and a 55/16 K/BB ratio in 69.1 innings. This will be his second stint with the Mariners, having played for them from 2012-14.

Sort of a surprising deal given that both Tampa Bay and Seattle are competing for a wild card spot, but needs are needs.