Yanks give 36-year-old Posada $52.4M, four-year deal

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees and Jorge Posada agreed
Monday night to a $52.4 million, four-year contract that keeps the
catcher off the free-agent market.

Posada, 36, must pass a physical before the contract is finalized.

Posada's $13.1 million average salary becomes the highest for a
catcher, topping the $10 million Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez and
Boston's Jason Varitek currently are guaranteed and the $13 million
Mike Piazza averaged under his contract with the New York Mets from
1999-05. Rodriguez will earn $13 million next year, the option
season of his contract with the Tigers.

Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner wasn't concerned that Posada will be 40 when the deal expires.

"He's a catcher, but he can also later on be a DH,"
Steinbrenner said Tuesday. "I'm fine with keeping his bat another four
years. And as far as the salary is concerned, he was pretty
logical. You can't argue with that. He didn't go nuts with what he
asked for."

Posada and his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, had lunch Monday
with Mets general manager Omar Minaya and vice president Tony
Bernazard. The Yankees initially offered Posada a
three-year contract but upped their proposal to four years on
Monday evening.

Posada hit a team-high .338 this year with 20 homers and 90
RBIs. He set career highs for average, slugging percentage (.543)
and on-base percentage (.426).

The Yankees also offered closer Mariano Rivera a $45 million,
three-year contract to stay with the team.

"The ball's in their court," Steinbrenner said. "If they
still want to look for more somewhere else, that's up to them."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.