"As much as we want to keep everybody, we've already made these guys very, very rich, and I don't feel we owe anybody anything monetarily," the Yankees' co-chairman told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Some of these players are wealthier than their bosses."
The Yankees have offered Jeter a three-year, $45 million contract, which Jeter is not inclined to accept. Jeter is coming off a 10-year, $189 million contract, having earned $21 million for the final season of that deal.
The New York Daily News reported on Friday that the captain's starting point was $150 million over six years, something Close called "simply inaccurate" in a statement that he e-mailed to several media outlets.
These say two different things.. In hot stove: Early Saturday, the Daily News reported that Jeter's asking price had come down to five years, with an average value resting between $22-24 million.
The Yankees have also listed keeping closer Mariano Rivera and left-hander Andy Pettitte among their winter priorities, while hoping to sign left-hander Cliff Lee as a free agent.
"Do we want to keep Derek? Of course we do, obviously," Steinbrenner said. "Obviously we all want to keep Derek and we all want to keep Mo."
General manager Brian Cashman said that the offer to Jeter is fair, with some concerns on the Yankees' side about Jeter's current and future performance. The shortstop will turn 37 in June and is coming off a career-low .270 batting average and .340 on-base percentage, though he did win his fifth American League Gold Glove Award this year.
"Negotiating is always a process," Steinbrenner said. "I know he wants to stay. It's going to come down to what's fair for everybody considering all circumstances."
Pettitte's status is still uncertain, though Newsday reported on Tuesday that the lefty is leaning toward pitching one more season. Rivera is said to be looking for a two-year deal, while the Yankees would prefer to offer a one-year contract.
Steinbrenner told the AP that he is confident deals will be reached to keep both Jeter and Rivera by the time the offseason is complete.
"I don't think, in the end, they will be unreasonable," Steinbrenner said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.