Torre’s Status Will Influence Rivera

Mariano Rivera isn’t a sure thing to return to the Yankees in 2008.  He’s not happy about Joe Torre’s unknown status, and he doesn’t seem thrilled that the Yanks passed on their opportunity to re-sign him earlier this year.

Jon Heyman’s best guess yesterday: the Yanks re-sign Rivera for two years and $26MM, plus an option year for 2010.  That seems fairly reasonable to me; it’s still hard to picture a closer earning more than $13MM.  But Rivera may listen to offers, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see a team offer him three years guaranteed.

One stopper who could average such a salary in his next deal is Joe Nathan.  Nathan will be well underpaid at $6MM next year; he’s arguably the game’s best closer.  From 2004-07, Nathan has a 1.94 ERA and 11.3 K/9 in 282.3 innings.  He’s also got 160 saves over that four-year span.  If given an extension window, would the Yankees part with a Robinson Cano this winter to get Nathan?

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