The Yankees and Derek Jeter‘s agent, Casey Close, are making “substantial progress,” and a deal appears to be at hand.

The deal is expected to be completed as early as Saturday, with Jeter receiving in the $15 to $17 million range annually for a three-year deal with a fourth year option.

It is going to be a very creative deal, according to people briefed on the negotiations, and the final issues are how the fourth year is going to be treated—it will not be a vesting option—and the exact amount of guaranteed dollars.

Both sides made significant compromises the past two days to try to reach an agreement with the Yankees’ iconic shortstop.

Jeter, 36, is coming off the worst offensive season of his career, with career lows in batting average (.270), on-base percentage (.340) and slugging percentage (.370), although he did score 111 runs, drive in 67 and steal 18 bases.

He also made his 11th All-Star team and won his fifth Gold Glove award at shortstop.

Jeter enters the 2011 season just 74 hits away from 3,000 for his career.

On Friday, the Yankees reached a two-year deal with legendary closer Mariano Rivera. Like Jeter, Mo is a member of the Yankees’ fabled Core Four who, along with catcher Jorge Posada and starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, have been a part of five world championship teams in the Bronx.

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