February 13, 2007

Exit Sandman?

Mariano Rivera, 37, will be a free agent after this season. When asked about a possible contract extension, he said:
If they want to talk, we're willing to listen. ... Definitely I want to finish my career here, but if they don't give the respect that I deserve, I have to move on.
Sounds familiar. (A few years back, Rivera talked about retiring after this contract and becoming a preacher.) It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the New York media.

Letting Rivera get to the free-agent pool could drown the Yankees. Especially if the Red Sox haven't figured out their suspect closer situation before the end of the World Series. And it's not like the Yankees have a closer-in-waiting.
John Harper of the Daily News calls Rivera the Yankees' "most indispensable player throughout the Joe Torre era, more vital to their four championships than Derek Jeter or anybody else" (I agree):
This doesn't seem like a tough one. Until there is some solid evidence that age is stealing the late life from Mariano Rivera's famous cutter, he gets whatever he wants, right? ...

The old adage in baseball has always been that it is better to trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late, and it has come to apply to handing out multiyear contracts in the free agent era.

But if ever there was an exception, it's the guy the Yankees endearingly call "Mo." ... They need to write him a check, whatever the amount, and be happy he didn't ask for more.
Joel Sherman, Post:

[T]he Yankees are more than ever applying cold logic to the decision-making process. They are not going to give up 25- and 40-man roster spots as thank yous for greatness in the rearview mirror. They are not going to dole out millions for appreciation of championships past. ...

Rivera missed more than three weeks late last season with a muscle strain near his elbow. In general, closers usually have very short shelf lives, and, thus, Rivera is way beyond his expiration date anyway. ...

The Yanks have the leverage of knowing Rivera - like Williams - does not want to play anywhere else, regardless of what he might say. They also know, if they must, they can always outspend any competitor to retain Rivera.

So the Yanks are going to use the leverage. They are going to make their most vital player of the last decade prove that he is healthy and still dominant.


Woti-woti said...

Joel Sherman said:

"The Yanks have the leverage of knowing Rivera - like Williams - does not want to play anywhere else, regardless of what he might say."

This has to be filed somewhere handy. Please, please, someone prove it wrong.

L-girl said...

God, don't you just hate Joel Sherman?