Archive for Mariano Rivera
Via Bob Klapisch: The Yankees are preparing a contract offer for Mariano Rivera, and it includes a pay cut from this year’s $15M salary. Exact details of the offer are unknown, but one team official said “there’s just no way” he could expect the same salary in 2013.
Rivera, 43 later this month, recently informed the team of his decision to return next season. The Yankees got Andy Pettitte to take a substantial pay cut following his subpar 2008 season, but incentives eventually pushed the value of that deal back up into his usual salary range. I suspect we’ll see something similar here. A lower base salary with a bunch of easily attainable incentives that could bring the deal back into the $15M range.
Via George King: Mariano Rivera has informed the Yankees that he wants to pitch again next season. “Rivera contacted us and wants to play,” said Brian Cashman, who admitted to not being surprised by the decision.
Rivera, 43, blew out his knee in early-May and said he wanted to pitch again the next day, but a few weeks ago he told Cashman that he was having second thoughts. The two sides will discuss a contract in the coming week according to King, and this sounds like something that could happen relatively soon. Then again, the Yankees and Rivera have a history of contentious negotiations. Another one-year deal in the $10-15M range is likely in the cards.
A total of 137 players around the league officially hit free agency today, including a dozen Yankees: Eric Chavez, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Hiroki Kuroda, Derek Lowe, Russell Martin, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Ichiro Suzuki, and Nick Swisher. Rafael Soriano can join them if he opts out of his contract by Wednesday’s deadline, which seems likely. Feliciano’s inclusion in the list of free agents is an indication that the Yankees have already declined his $4.5M club option. That is not surprising at all after the left-hander threw zero meaningful pitches during his time in pinstripes.
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, players don’t even have to file for free agency anymore. They just hit the open market. I never understood the point of that anyway. Players are free to sign with new teams starting Saturday. Click here for the full offseason schedule.
Via Andrew Marchand: Mariano Rivera is having second thoughts about returning to pitch next season, informing Brian Cashman that he is unsure about his future earlier this week. “He wasn’t certain on what he is going to do,” said the GM.
Rivera, 43, suffered a season-ending knee injury in early-May and said definitively that he would return to pitch another year the following day. Mo’s free to change his mind of course, especially if he felt the rehab was more grueling than expected. Either way, I selfishly hope he comes back for another year just so the fans can give him a proper send-off. Getting carted off the field in Kansas City is no way for Rivera to go out.
The Yankees were swept out of the ALCS by the Tigers almost a week ago, but it wasn’t until today that Joe Girardi conducted every manager’s annual end-of-season press conference. He said the team has yet to look back and evaluate the 2012 campaign just because everyone takes a few days off to be with their families and kinda get away from baseball immediately after the season ends. They’ll obviously evaluate the club top to bottom in the coming weeks. Here are the important notes from the press conference…
On Alex Rodriguez…
- “These were things that we evaluated a lot before we made our decisions,” said Girardi when asked about benching A-Rod in the postseason. “I don’t go back and second guess myself.”
- Girardi has not yet spoken to Alex (or any other player for that matter) about their relationship, but said “that will take place … it just hasn’t yet.” He isn’t worried about things being strained but acknowledged that actions have consequences and he will deal with them if need be.
- Girardi said he believes A-Rod was healthy in the postseason and was just struggling, particularly against righties.
- “Can Alex be a very good player again? Absolutely, I don’t have any question in my mind,” said the skipper. He praised A-Rod’s baseball smarts and said he expects him to be his everyday third baseman next season.
- Chad Jennings has Girardi’s full quotes about A-Rod if you aren’t sick of hearing about it yet.
On the playoffs…
- “Yes it was somewhat puzzling,” said Girardi on the offense’s struggles. He attributed Robinson Cano‘s disappearing act to being pitched well and just falling into a poorly-timed slump. He did acknowledge that Robbie was frustrated, which likely compounded the problem.
- Girardi said he doesn’t think the team’s unfavorable postseason schedule contributed to their lack of hitting, ditto all the tough games they had to play down the stretch in September. He basically said he doesn’t believe his team was worn out after a month of playoff-type games.
- “I hope not,” said Girardi when asked if he may have he lost the trust of some players by sitting them in the postseason. “I was making moves trying to win ballgames … I’ve been honest with our players and I will continue to do that, and I will do my best for this organization to win every game.”
- Girardi attributed the dull Yankee Stadium atmosphere in the postseason to a lack of scoring on the team’s part, nothing more. “I think our fans are very passionate about the Yankees (because) we see it even on the road.”
- “(It has) not taken place,” said Girardi when asked if CC Sabathia has gone to visit Dr. James Andrews about his elbow. He is encouraged by his ace left-hander’s performance in September and the ALDS and he expects to have him in Spring Training. “We’re always concerned that it’s maybe something more than you think it is … I don’t like people going to see doctors (but) sometimes people have to be evaluated to make sure everything is okay.”
- “We expect him to be back and playing for us next year on Opening Day,” said Girardi about Derek Jeter and his fractured ankle. He added that there are always concerns following a surgery, including Jeter pushing his rehab too hard and having some kind of setback.
- Mariano Rivera did throw sooner than expected this year but Girardi never did ask him if he will definitely return next season. “I don’t think you push a rehab like he pushed it unless you have some interest in coming back,” he said.
- There were no undisclosed or “hidden” injuries this year, so to speak. Russell Martin‘s hands are banged up but that is typical catcher stuff and isn’t a long-term concern.
- Both hitting coach Kevin Long (elbow) and third base coach Rob Thomson (hip) will have surgery this offseason, if you care.
On free agents and the team moving forward, etc…
- “There’s a lot of hunger and fire in him,” said Girardi about Andy Pettitte, but he doesn’t know if the veteran southpaw will return next year. He expects him to discuss things with his family before making a decision.
- He mentioned briefly that like Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda is among the players who will make a decision about his future and playing beyond this year.
- Girardi said he was unsure about Ichiro Suzuki coming back next year but he knows the veteran outfielder enjoyed his time in New York. He also praised Ichiro for making adjustments like playing left field and batting towards the bottom of the order.
- “I think this kid has something to offer us,” said the manager about Eduardo Nunez while also acknowledging that his role for next year is undetermined because other parts of the club are unsettled. “There is talent there, there is speed, there is excitement, he has a lot to offer.”
- “There’s a lot of players we have to decide what we’re going to do with, but I believe when Spring Training starts next year, we’ll be a championship club,” said Girardi, acknowledging that the team has a lot of players with open contract situations.
- He also spoke about the Yankees getting power from non-traditional power sources (specifically catcher, second base, and center field) and their ability of the offense to absorb the loss of a homerun hitter (i.e. Nick Swisher) if that happens this winter.
- Girardi acknowledged that the team has a busy offseason coming but doesn’t expect the chaos to be a problem. “Sometimes quiet is a bad thing,” he joked.
On the status of him and his coaches…
- “No. The pressure you see I put on myself,” said Girardi when asked about the pressure of entering a contract year. He doesn’t expect the team to talk about a new deal until his current one expires and he doesn’t anticipate asking for an extension before then either.
- Girardi expects the entire coaching staff to return next year but again pointed out that the team has not yet discussed everything.
- Girardi praised his role players for stepping up into more prominent roles than expected this year, mentioning Raul Ibanez, David Phelps, and Cody Eppley by name.
- When asked about Cano’s general lack of hustle down the line to first base, Girardi said he “will address with every player to play hard.”
Over the next few weeks we’re going to spend some time reviewing the entire 2012 season, which featured another division title and unfortunately another disappointing playoff exit.
For the last 15 years, the Yankees have always had one indisputable advantage over their opponent regardless of who they were playing. When push came to shove in the late innings, Mariano Rivera was always there to march out of the bullpen and restore order with his humble but brutal effectiveness. On May 3rd of this year, the Yankees lost that advantage.
A few hours before the Yankees were scheduled to play the series opener of a four-game set against the Royals in Kansas City, the team’s 25th game of the season, Rivera took an awkward step shagging fly balls during batting practice and crumbled to the ground on the center field warning track. He was carted off the field and taken for tests while his teammates went on to lose the game, and afterwards Joe Girardi shared the grim news.
“It appears that he has a torn ACL,” said the skipper. “He will obviously go back to New York and be examined by our guys.”
Rivera did go back to New York and he was examined by the Yankees’ doctors, but the diagnosis did not change. He had torn a ligament in his right knee and would require surgery that would all but certainly end his season. If there was any good to come out of the incident, it’s that a pre-surgery exam discovered a blood clot in his right calf. After a round of blood thinners and treatment, Rivera finally had surgery to repair the knee on June 12th, nearly six full weeks after the initial injury.
Prior to the injury, Mo had been pitching like his usual self. He actually blew a save on Opening Day, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks (one intentional) while recording just one out in the walk-off loss to the Rays. The next four weeks were vintage, flawless Rivera. He struck out seven and walked zero in eight scoreless innings across eight appearances, allowing just two singles and a double while going five-for-five in save chances. Rivera made his final appearance of the season on April 30th, saving a 2-1 win over the Orioles. It was the team’s 22nd game of the year.
By all accounts, Mariano has recovered well from the surgery but not well enough to rejoin the team for the stretch drive, which Brian Cashman insisted would not happen the entire time. Rivera threw off flat ground in the Yankee Stadium outfield in August, which created quite a stir. He didn’t start jogging as part of his rehab until just a few weeks ago. Surgery to repair a torn ACL typically requires a six-month recovery period, and there was no bending of the rules for Mo.
Rivera told reporters that he was unclear about his future a few hours after the injury — “At this point, I don’t know. I’ll have to face this first” — but the very next day he stood at his locker and declared that he would return to the team in 2013. “I am coming back,” he said. “Write it down in big letters … I’m not going out like this.” It was a whirlwind 24 hours for fans, who were worried that they had already seen the final pitch of his career.
The Yankees survived the season without their long-time closer and can now look forward to having him back next season, but now more than ever there are questions surrounding Mariano. He’ll turn 43 years old next month and it’s unclear if and how the injury and long layoff will affect him going forward. Rivera has never once been a problem or any kind of significant concern for the Yankees, but there are reasons to be skeptical about his ability to be himself moving forward. After all the great things he’s accomplished in pinstripes, it’s hard to believe Mo landed in the What Went Wrong category this year.
Mariano Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game Three last night, but he still isn’t close to throwing a meaningful pitch in an actual game following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. The best reliever in baseball history told Steve Zipay that he’s “feeling much better (and) in process of doing some jogging, running,” during a charity even at LaGuardia today.
Last week we found out that Mo was throwing off flat ground against doctor’s orders in August, so you know he’s itching to get back. The team has been adamant that he will not return this year however, no matter how far the Yankees go in the postseason. They’re focused on 2013.
Remember that whole bit from back in July, where Mariano Rivera‘s doctor said that the closer could pitch again this year? Brian Cashman shot down that report soon after, basically ending our hopes of seeing Mo before 2013. Earlier this week Cashman reiterated his stance, but in doing so he told a story that I haven’t seen anyone report.
In August [Rivera] threw in the Yankee Stadium outfield in front of pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
“He went out there on his own earlier [in August] and caused a ruckus,” Cashman said. “We had to smoke him on that: ‘What the hell are you doing? Now all these guys think you’re coming back.’ The doctor — his doctor, the surgery doctor — was like, ‘Stop! What are you doing?’ “
I have to think that if MO had his way, he’d be on the ALDS roster ready to close out Sunday’s game.
It was always a long shot, but Brian Cashman officially crushed any hope of Mariano Rivera returning this season during an appearance on MLB Network Radio this morning. “No … He’s not coming back this year and I wish he was, I wish he was, but unfortunately people get excited,” said Cashman.
Rivera, who had surgery to repair a torn right ACL in June, is using a doctor and physical therapist approved by the team. Earlier this month the rehab folks came out and said Mo could return this year because he was going so well, but Cashman called that “unprofessional” and “not a fair reflection of where this player’s at.” He basically accused them of wanting to get their name in the spotlight, which may or may not be true. Either way, getting Rivera back lack in the season was always a pipe dream. At least now we can stop getting our hopes up.
I went with short-ish answers this week so I could squeeze in as many questions as possible, but I still only got to six. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything, mailbag questions or otherwise.
Mark asks: Assuming Brett Gardner is indeed out for the year and that the Yanks’ main AL title competitor, the Rangers, make another big trading deadline splash and acquire either Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke, should the Yanks counter by acquiring a solid hitting left fielder?
Nah, don’t make moves to “answer” another team’s moves. That’s how you end up with a Kei Igawa situation. If the Yankees are able to find a reasonable upgrade for the outfield given Gardner’s surgery, then by all means go for it. What another team — particularly a non-division rival — does is immaterial. Put the best possible team on the field and it doesn’t matter what everyone else does.
Cory asks: One big element missing from the offense this year is speed. Obviously Gardy’s out and his 49 steals from a year ago makes a big difference, but a 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez is the team leader. 38-year-old Jeter is second, and rounding out the top eight are guys with limited action (Jayson Nix, Dewayne Wise, Eduardo Nunez, Gardner), a 40-year-old Ibanez, and Curtis Granderson. Do you expect Cashman to target speed come July 31, or is that an element they can live without this year?
We’re already heard that if they do make a trade to acquire a replacement outfielder, that it would be a speedy center field type similar to Gardner. Overall team speed is the club’s one glaring hole just because there is none of it. They’re very station-to-station but they can live with that because they get guys on base and hit a bunch of extra-base hits. I think they can get by without any speed but it is something that would be nice to have, just to add a different element to the offense and occasionally put some pressure on the pitcher. Like I said, if they find someone reasonable to fill that need, by all means go for it.
Mike asks: Does signing money from competitive lottery picks factor into a team’s bonus pool? Could you see the Yanks sending a prospect to a team in exchange for the pick and the pool money, someone like a Adam Warren or Corban Joseph? Other team gets a prospect near MLB ready and doesn’t have to pay $1M for him, Yankees get the pick and don’t have to lose the prospect in the Rule 5 draft.
Yep, the extra competitive balance lottery picks comes with extra draft pool money and they can be traded. There are a dozen such picks and the Yankees don’t have one because they’re the Yankees. I have no idea how teams will value those picks in a trade but I’d guess they’d value the draft pool money more than the pick itself. Trading a near-MLB ready guy like Warren or CoJo seems like a backwards move given the high attrition rate of draft picks in general. I’d rather use them as part of a package for a piece to help the big league team or just keep them for depth. These competitive lottery picks seem like they would be the second or third piece in any trade, not the headliner.
I don’t think that’s nearly enough. Gordon’s one of the better outfielders in the game even if his power dropped off quite a bit this year, and he’s signed to very reasonable long-term contract ($50M through 2015 with a player option for 2016). As impressive as Phelps has been in the first half, he’s still just mid-to-back-end starter and that’s not enough incentive for Royals. If they’re going to move Gordon, they’ll need a potential impact, number one type guy in return. Just look at what the White Sox gave up to acquire Nick Swisher at a similar point of his career — a potential front-line guy in Gio Gonzalez, another high-end pitching prospect (Fautino DeLoSantos), and a solid outfield prospect (Ryan Sweeney). Gordon obviously makes sense for New York but they would really need to sweeten that pot.
Michael asks: What do you think it would take for Joe Girardi to get fired in the next couple of years? Losing in the ALDS, losing in the wild card round, not making the playoffs, or maybe even just not winning the World Series?
An awful lot. Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and the rest of the brain trust hand-picked Girardi for the job so it would take a ton for him to get fired. They’d have to miss the playoffs a few years in a row I believe, and even then he would just be a scapegoat. More than likely, the end of the Girardi era will come when he says he’s had enough and decides to walk away due to burnout or because another team offers a megacontract.
Anonymous asks: Given Rafael Soriano‘s success in Mariano Rivera‘s absence, do you see the front office pushing Cashman to renegotiate a contract and extend him beyond 2013 when this season is over? Despite the tools, something tells me David Robertson won’t be successful as our closer and there’s no telling how Mo will perform coming back from an injury at 43 years of age. Speaking of which, what kind of money will Mo receive next year if he’s healthy?
I really hope they don’t push to re-sign Soriano. If he opts out, say thank you very much and let him walk. That $14M he’s owed next season can go not just towards replacing Soriano with another high-end reliever, but also replacing Swisher in right (or even re-signing him) and maybe even adding various depth pieces. Soriano’s been awesome, better than we could have possibly expected once Mo went down, but he won’t continue pitching at this level because no reliever not named Mariano ever has sustained a performance like this across multiple years. It just doesn’t happen and I wouldn’t expect a 32-year-old with a history of elbow problems to do it.
As for Mo, I think they’ll re-sign him to a one-year deal at similar money to what he’s making now, so $15-16M. I know he’s 43 and coming off knee surgery and all that, but I have a hard time thinking they’ll play hardball with the money. They might hold the line on one-year but I doubt they’d balk at a high salary. It’s just money and Mo’s one of the few players with legitimate high-end marquee value that transcends his on-field value.