In what can only be described as a good sign, the Yankees, contrary to rumor, have not offered Mike Lowell a four-year deal to play first base in the Bronx. The Daily News has the story at the bottom of an article. The same article says Mariano Rivera will probably accept an overly-generous three-year, $45 million deal. That’s awfully swell of him.
The headline says it all. Mark Feinsand adds some details:
According to sources, the All-Star closer is now demanding a fourth year from the Yankees, who have already extended a three-year, $45 million offer to Rivera that would make him by far the highest-paid closer in baseball.
The $45 million offer drew criticism from Major League Baseball executives in charge of monitoring salaries and payrolls, as sources said that Yankee executives Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine were admonished during yesterday’s owners’ meetings in Florida for drastically upping the market for relievers. That criticism figures to be further incentive for the Yankees to stand firmly behind the three-year offer, and it could dissuade other teams from topping it – something that was unlikely to take place anyway.
As A-Rod and the Yanks work toward a seemingly surreal contract, the Yanks have kept busy on a few other contract fronts. Let’s check in.
According to reports out of Boston, the Yanks are one of four teams to offer Mike Lowell a four-year contract somewhere in the $55-60 million range. The Yanks’ offer comes with a caveat: They want Lowell, a career third baseman, to move across the diamond and man first base.
I don’t see this move going any further than it already has. As I noted two weeks ago, Lowell isn’t a great fit for the Yanks, and he doesn’t want to play first. He’ll have to decide if he wants that fourth year badly enough to leave Boston for Anaheim, Atlanta or St. Louis. My money is on Lowell’s returning to the Red Sox, especially with A-Rod seemingly sticking around the Bronx.
As a side note, clearly the Yankees do not envision much for Jason Giambi in 2008. Hideki Matsui is the presumptive DH, and the team is actively looking for a first baseman. While I don’t see the Yanks landing much if they trade Giambi, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s shipped out for a few fringe prospects just so the Yanks have some roster flexibility.
This is the contract that has much more of an impact on the Yankees. Rivera still hasn’t put pen to the paper on the Yanks’ offer of three years and $45 million. Now, as commenter Bob Sage pointed out, Sweeny Murti was on the FAN this morning claiming Rivera, 38, will sign a three-year, $52-million deal or a four-year, $60-million deal.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Joe Torre said the Dodgers will welcome Rivera. Add on the requisite “if the price is right” clause, and you’ve got yourself a deal. No way, however, will the Dodgers offer Rivera the $15-$17.3 a year Rivera wants, and neither should the Yankees.
I don’t know what’s going to happen or what is happening here. Rivera, for some reason, is playing hard to get despite having what many would consider a deal-sealing argument on the table. For someone supposedly so humble and altruistic, he sure is being a ruthless businessman, and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s too ruthless for his own good.
Mariano Rivera still hasn’t signed his contract. The longer he waits, the less sympathetic I become. Rivera has built up 12 years of good will in New York. Why is he burning it all right now during the twilight of his career? Three years and $45 million is more than he ever should be making and way more than anyone else will offer. Just sign it already.
Yesterday, when Joe outlined our thoughts on Mariano Rivera’s contract situation, I figured we had written everything that needed to be said on the issue. In an effort to exact some measure of juvenile revenge, Rivera was keeping the Yankees and their overly generous three-year, $45 million offer waiting for a few days. I thought Rivera would just sign the deal and let bygones be bygones.
So much for that.
That’s according to Tyler Kepner of the Times. Is anyone else a bit baffled as to why Mo hasn’t accepted yet? Does he think there’s some team willing to offer him four years at $55, $60 million?
Look, the game is up. We know Mo is crying about not getting a new contract back in the spring. Get over it. For a guy who is portrayed so reverently in Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, Mo is acting like a teenager here. The Yankees have made a more than generous offer, which figures not to be topped by another bidder. What, does he think the Dodgers will outbid the Yanks just because Joe Torre is now the manager?
I’m honestly surprised the offer got this high. Three years, $40 million was an offer not likely to be topped. And now the Yankees upped the offer by $5 million in hopes of signing Mo before other teams could bid. Well, now that other teams can, the point of that $5 million is kind of moot.
What the Yankees should do, though they certainly won’t, is let Mo field offers from other teams. Hey, he wanted to test the market, right? So when teams are coming in with far less than three years, $45 million, the Yankees can say: “Mo, we’ll match your best offer. But you blew signing that three-year, $45 million deal. Just like we blew signing you cheaper back in Spring Training.”
After all, this should work both ways, right?
In a failed effort scare the Yankees into forking over more money, Mariano Rivera, recipient of a three-year offer from the Yanks, tried to convince the world that he would follow Joe Torre to the Dodgers if he can’t come to terms with the Yanks. This is about as likely as Bonds’ name not showing up in the upcoming Mitchell report. The Dodgers, with Takashi Saito, Jonathan Braxton and, yes, Scott Proctor, had the third lowest bullpen ERA in the Majors in 2007. With their offensive production so poor, they aren’t about to make a 38-year-old closer any offer that comes remotely close to the one the Yanks have extended to Rivera. Just sign your contract already, Mo.