Michael Kay and the YES Network will be working together for the next 3-5 years. The TV play-by-play voice of the Yankees has a new deal with the TV network that will pay him upwards of a million dollars per season. It makes him the highest paid local play-by-play man in the game. The deal is for three years with a two year option after that.
He will call his regular schedule of 125 Yankee games per season. When Kay is off those duties go to Ryan Ruocco, John Flaherty, or Ken Singleton, who has announced that he will retire at the end of this season.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, these negotiations got tense at times before a deal was finalized.
For these YES negotiations, Kay brought in heavyweight baseball agents Casey Close and Jim Murray as his representatives, and the discussions were tense at times, according to sources. This is not totally unusual, though with a unique circumstance in this instance.
At the beginning of the talks, there was a disconnect between the two sides as Murray, who did most of the legwork on Kay’s side, entered it with a perspective of someone who handles baseball players, while the top YES executives, Jon Litner and John Filippelli, know how TV contracts work.
Close and Murray have had run-ins with Yankees management in the past. Close represented Derek Jeter when the captain was very disappointed in the Yankees’ approach to his second-to-last contract in 2010. Yankees president Randy Levine criticized Murray’s approach to Dellin Betances’ arbitration during spring training in 2017.
Kay will be 60 years old at the end of the deal, but does not intend on retiring. He will also continue doing his afternoon drive show on ESPN 98.7 in New York.