Outfielder's deal worth up to $38M
Gary Sheffield has decided to accept the Yankees' three-year contract offer for between $36 million and $38 million, sources close to the free-agent outfielder have told ESPN's Peter Gammons.
Sheffield did not finalize details of the deal with George Steinbrenner on Saturday; the Yankees' principal owner was at a Tampa, Fla., hospital with longtime Yankee assistant Billy Connors, who suffered a heart attack Friday and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. But Sheffield has told friends the deal is done, Gammons reports.
Sheffield and his agent, Rufus Williams, had a one-hour meeting Tuesday with Steinbrenner at Legends Field, the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., the AP reported.
Williams said it has not been determined when a deal with the Yankees would be completed.
"A deal is done once it's inked, and we're not at that point," Williams told The Associated Press.
New York might wait to finalize Sheffield's deal until after the Dec. 7 deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to former players who became free agents, a baseball official with knowledge of the situation told AP on condition of anonymity.
It was initially reported that Sheffield wanted more money from the Yankees and that he was even considering re-signing with the Braves. If Atlanta doesn't offer arbitration to Sheffield, the team that signs him after Dec. 7 would not lose any amateur draft picks as compensation.
Sheffield, 35, has played for the Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers and Braves. He hit .330 with 39 homers, 132 RBI and 18 stolen bases for Atlanta last season.
Dwight Gooden, Sheffield's uncle and a former Yankees pitcher, helped convince the All-Star to seriously consider the Yankees.
Meantime, New York announced its $700,000, one-year contract with infielder Enrique Wilson on Tuesday.
The Yankees were playing additionals angles in the free-agent market Monday:
The Red Sox and Athletics are still viewed as his most likely destinations, but the Cubs and Mets remain in the picture, at least technically. Foulke is expected to sign this week, but did not appear to be close to a decision Monday.
New York's need to re-sign Pettitte increased when the Red Sox acquired Schilling. Schilling joins Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe to give Boston's rotation a formidable front end. The Yankees' rotation is uncertain following the retirement of 41-year-old Roger Clemens and the team's decision to decline an option on 40-year-old David Wells.
Information from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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