Not that there was ever any doubt, but nonetheless it’s still heartening to see that the Yankees were able to reach a two-year agreement (at the same $15 million salary, to boot) with the immortal Mariano Rivera relatively quickly, in spite of several things:
(a) Mo reportedly was looking for $18 million a year for presumably two years. Though Mo is all that is right with the world, there’s a pretty strong case against even paying Mo $15 million a year, let along giving him a $3 million raise. I’m sure had it come to that the Yankees would’ve acquiesced to Rivera’s salary demands, as unlike Derek Jeter, Mo is still operating at an elite level, but that’s still a tremendous price to pay for a reliever entering his age 41 season.
(b) Apparently both the Red Sox and Angels were hovering with supposed three-year offers that may have each been worth a total of around $51 million. Not that I would have ever expected Mo to bolt the only team he’s ever known (nor would the Yankees ever have let that happen), but if these rumors are true and Mo actually turned down a higher average annual salary, extra year and $21 million in compensation for the Yankees’ two-year, $30 million pact, then he is even more Godly than we even realized.
(c) Though there are reports that the Yankees and Jeter have made some headway in their negotiations, the already very public battle has made both sides look pretty bad regardless of which side you stand on. Regardless of what Jeter eventually signs for, that Mo was willing to wrap this thing up relatively quickly and take less money than both what he initially asked for and he was possibly being offered by two of the Yankees’ arch-rivals, speaks volumes about the kind of person Mariano Rivera is, and may tarnish Jeter’s golden boy image if he continues to stubbornly insist on far more money than he is worth.
After another stellar season in 2010 in which Mo pitched to 1.80/2.81/3.65 pitcher triple slash (ERA/FIP/xFIP), Bill James has Mo once again being amazing, with a 1.89 ERA (in two more innings) and a 2.52 FIP. For his career Mo is a 2.23/2.79/3.03 pitcher in 1,150 innings. James also has Mo’s K/9 — a number that had many people concerned as it fell to 6.75, his lowest since 1998′s 5.28 — bouncing back to 8.42. CAIRO — which, by the way, if you haven’t already done so be sure to check out SG’s fantastic post on Mo from earlier this week — sees Mo with a 2.69 ERA and 2.99 FIP in 68 innings, and accumulating 1.9 WAR.
So unless you believe Mariano is teetering on the edge of breaking down, there’s no reason not to like a deal that keeps him in the fold for two more years at the same salary level. Well done on all sides.
In a minor rumor that doesn’t really merit its own post, apparently the Yankees and Dodgers were close to swapping Francisco Cervelli for Russell Martin, which, had it happened, would’ve made me dance in the streets. However, apparently the Dodgers went ahead and non-tendered Martin anyway, and I imagine the Yankees will be all over this especially if it doesn’t cost a player, even though Cervelli’s as expendable as it gets. Martin’s been pretty terrible the last two years, but is still a career .337 wOBA hitter, and as Ben noted in the aforelinked post, still gets his walks (11.8% career BB%). James has Martin projected at a bounceback .334 wOBA in a whopping 536 plate appearances (CAIRO .329 in 547), and perhaps he’d even be a bit better than that in a more limited role as the Yankees’ BUC.
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