Joel Sherman has a new piece in his Hardball Blog where he discusses Mariano Rivera’s pending free agency with the Great One himself. Here’s what was said:
When I asked Rivera what he wanted, the great righty said, “During the season it is hard to focus on the contract. During the season, I have to do what is right by the team.”
When I asked if he would be amenable to doing what Andy Pettitte (another free-agent-to-be) does, and take one-year contracts and determine at the end of each season if he wants to continue to play, Rivera said, “Something like that would be fine.”
In the past, however, Rivera has been pretty rigid about wanting top-of-the-market money for multiple years.
I take that last sentence that Joel wrote more seriously than anything Mariano says at this point. I think he made it clear he didn’t really want to get into it, and was just being agreeable to move things along. Also, Mariano has a history of being very amenable during the season, and very difficult after. In Mariano’s last contract negotiation everything was smooth early in the process, but then things got very bumpy as the off season progressed. He filed for Free Agency (unlike Posada) even though he had no other suitors, and was clearly annoyed with the Yanks when they wouldn’t go for the extra year and $ he wanted. Brian Cashman has stated that Mo has never left a dime on the table in these negotiations, and once his agent gets in his ear his tune may quickly change. Further, Andy Pettitte often spoke last year about ‘what a horrible negotiator’ he was for making it clear he would only play for the Yanks, resulting in a low base/ incentive-laden deal for that season. But at age 40, he may not want to have the obligation of a multi-year deal, opting to take things one year at a time. At some point he will lose his effectiveness, and he’s not the type of pitcher who will want to go out there and embarrass himself. I’ll go 50-50 on this one, but again I have my doubts.
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