Mariano Rivera Rumors
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is expected to miss the rest of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL last week. Here are some links explaining the long-term impact of Rivera’s injury on the Yankees’ bullpen:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggests Rafael Soriano may contemplate hitting free agency in search of a long-term contract after the season if he takes over for Rivera and pitches well. Soriano has a $13MM player option for 2013.
- David Robertson will earn considerably more through arbitration next year if he becomes the closer. The right-hander, who is under team control through 2014, could become a candidate for a long-term deal if he can handle closing, Sherman writes. An extension would keep Robertson in place for years to come and help the Yankees keep their payroll under the upcoming luxury tax threshold of $189MM.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wonders how much of a pay cut the Yankees can expect Rivera to take if they re-sign him this offseason. He suggests a 10% reduction to $13.5MM could work for both sides in 2013.
- The majority of MLBTR readers believe Robertson should replace Rivera according to our weekend poll.
The Yankees lost Mariano Rivera for the season when he tore his ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice two days ago. He says he will return to pitch next season, though the team still needs to replace him for the remainder of 2012.
Rivera, 42, is the greatest reliever in baseball history and even at his advanced age, the Yankees will be unable to find someone who can match his brilliance. Setup man David Robertson has emerged as one of the game's best non-closing relievers over the last year, pitching to a 0.92 ERA with 121 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings since the start of last season. He seems like the obvious choice to replace Rivera, at least initially, but he's not the only option.
Ownership overruled GM Brian Cashman two offseasons ago to sign Rafael Soriano, the former All-Star closer with the Rays who became a setup man in New York. He missed time with an elbow issue last year and has pitched to a 3.72 ERA with 8.2 K/9 in 48 1/3 innings since signing with the Yankees. Although he's been outpitched by Robertson, the team could prefer his ninth inning experience in Rivera's stead. His salary ($11MM in 2012) could also be a factor.
Yesterday we heard that the Yankees will not aggressively pursue a reliever, but a trade can never really be ruled out. Closers like Huston Street, Brandon League, Brett Myers, and Jonathan Broxton could be available at the trade deadline, though that is just my speculation.
Here's the latest from around the league, as Friday turns into Saturday...
- "Absolutely," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Marc Carig of The Star Ledger when asked if he'd welcome Mariano Rivera back next year (Twitter link). Rivera said today that he will pitch next year after tearing his ACL yesterday, and I can't imagine Cashman would have answered any differently.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the Yankees will not aggressively pursue a reliever in a trade in the wake of Rivera's injury (Twitter link). They are confident in David Robertson and Rafael Soriano in the late innings.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden put together a list of baseball's most immovable contracts. Barry Zito, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Howard highlight the list of five players.
THURSDAY: Rivera told reporters that he plans to return to baseball, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. "I am coming back. Write it down in big letters. ... I'm not going out like this," said the closer.
WEDNESDAY, 11:40pm: Mariano Rivera appears to have suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters after tonight's 4-3 loss in Kansas City. Rivera suffered the injury while chasing a fly ball during batting practice earlier today, a pre-game ritual that Rivera has undertaken throughout his entire career. The ace closer will consult with doctors tomorrow in New York and, if the initial diagnosis is confirmed, Rivera will miss the rest of the 2012 season.
Speculation has already begun that Rivera's career could be over, as the right-hander had hinted during Spring Training that this would be his final season. A disconsolate Rivera told reporters (including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch and Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan) that he wasn't sure if he would ever pitch again and that he would first have to get through the rehab process before deciding if he could continue as a Major Leaguer. It's hard to imagine that Rivera would allow his legendary career to end in such ignominious fashion, and yet, as Bob Klapisch points out (Twitter link), Rivera could also see his injury as a sign that it's time to leave the sport.
Needless to say, Rivera's injury is a huge blow to both the Yankees and, if his career is indeed over, to baseball as a whole. For now, David Robertson or Rafael Soriano will have big shoes to fill as New York's next closer. The Yankees could also now explore the trade market for relief pitching or explore such options as moving Phil Hughes back to the bullpen.
Mariano Rivera suffered an apparent right knee injury while shagging fly balls during batting practice today in Kansas City. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch has the details about the injury, which has been initially diagnosed as a twisted knee (Twitter link), though Rivera will undergo an MRI tonight. If the injury requires Rivera to miss time, it would be the legendarily durable closer's first DL stint since 2003. Follow @CloserNews for the latest on Rivera's status and how his possible absence would impact the Yankees' bullpen.
Here's some news from both Big Apple teams...
- Joba Chamberlain has been transferred to the 60-day DL, the Yankees announced today. In corresponding moves, Jayson Nix has been called up from Triple-A and Eric Chavez has been put on the seven-day DL due to a possible concussion.
- The Mets have no plans to call up star prospect Matt Harvey to become the team's new fifth starter, GM Sandy Alderson told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. “Aside from Matt himself -- and I love that he thinks this way -- there is no one in the organization who feels he is ready to be in the major leagues,” Alderson said. "When we bring him up, we hope to do so and not have to send him back. This is not about filling an immediate need. This is about the long-term stability of the organization and the team.” To that same end, the Mets will also not call up any of their other top pitching prospects like Zack Wheeler or Jeurys Familia.
- "There are no other options" for the Mets in regards to Jason Bay other than to hope that he returns from the DL fit and starts hitting, writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo as part of a reader mailbag. I wouldn't say Bay is completely untradeable, as the Mets may be able to move him for another bad contract, though that wouldn't really help the situation. Bay is owed approximately $13.3MM over the remainder of this season and $16MM in 2013, though as DiComo notes, Bay's injury problems make it unlikely he will get the necessary plate appearances for his 2014 $17MM club option to vest.
Here are some links from the around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday...
- The Mariners could probably afford to trade one of their third base prospects, muses Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Seattle has Kyle Seager, Alex Liddi, Francisco Martinez, and Vinnie Catricala at the hot corner.
- MLB is still investigating the signing of Dominican outfielder Jairo Beras by the Rangers, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Beras agreed to a $4.5MM deal last month, but there are questions about his age and eligibility to sign.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote about the unique construction of the Rockies' roster. The team added high-character positions players to a largely unproven group of young starters this offseason.
- Dan Hayes of The North County Times reports (on Twitter) that the Padres still expect to have their new television deal with FOX Sports San Diego finalized within the "next few weeks or sooner."
- "If I can't stay healthy for 200 innings, if somebody says something about closing or being a reliever, I can do that, I can be a reliever," said White Sox starter Jake Peavy to MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom. "If it comes down to that, I'll do it because I love this game."
- “I know that I want to make the right decision,” said Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to reporters (including Chad Jennings of The Journal News) today following Andy Pettitte's return. “That’s what I want to do. When I make the right decision, I don’t want to come back or say, ‘I should have done it’ or ‘I should have stayed.’ I want to be 1000% sure that it’s the right decision."Rivera hinted at retirement last month.
On this date in 1955, the New York Giants signed 17-year-old prospect Willie McCovey as an amateur free agent. Four years later he was named the NL Rookie of the Year when he hit 13 home runs in 52 games. McCovey, now 74, went on to hit 521 home runs in his Hall of Fame career. Here are today's links...
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks back at the day in June, 1995 when the Yankees optioned Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter to the minors together. Rivera hasn't said whether this will be his last season as a Major Leaguer, but he told Morosi that winning another championship would be the perfect way to end his career.
- Even Rivera's teammates marvel at the closer's ability and accomplishments, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.
- The Cardinals will stretch Lance Lynn out in case Chris Carpenter isn’t ready for Opening Day, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Roy Oswalt remains available for a mid-season deal in case a long-term opening emerges in the Cardinals’ rotation.
- Carlos Guillen told George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press that he retired because his body wasn't keeping up with the daily grind of Spring Training. The 36-year-old retired last week.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons is opening some eyes in Braves camp. The 22-year-old hasn't yet reached Double-A, but some are wondering if he could win the Opening Day shortstop job from Tyler Pastornicky.
- Braves executives view Simmons as the long-term answer at short, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio tweets.
It was on this day in 1985 that the Blue Jays and Dave Stieb finalized one of the more unique contracts in baseball history -- an 11-year deal worth a guaranteed $16.6MM and (with incentives) possibly worth as much as $25MM. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looked back at the contract in 2010, noting that while the Jays absorbed some criticism for the deal at the time, they got a bargain in the long run when Stieb developed into one of the best pitchers of his era. In 1991, the Jays reworked three years of the contract to pay Stieb an extra $4.35MM as a gesture of gratitude for his performance.
Here's some news from all around the AL East...
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera denied a New York Post report from yesterday that claimed he would announce his possible retirement plans before the All-Star Break. Rivera told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that "nothing's changed" about his future plans and that he will "tell everybody what my plans are at the same time after the season."
- Brian Roberts isn't sure when, or even if, he'll be able to return to the Orioles following a series of concussions, he tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Roberts says he has stopped trying to guess when he may be able to resume his career, though he notes that his recovery is "progressing" and he "has more good days than bad days."
- Rays southpaw Matt Moore tops Baseball America's preseason list of the top 20 rookies in the game. Moore is the only AL East representative on the list, though former Yankee prospect Jesus Montero (now with the Mariners) clocks in at the #3 position.
- "We need some guys to step up on our pitching staff," Red Sox GM Ben Cherington tells MLB.com's Ian Browne. The Sox will be looking at pitching or outfield depth as they conduct their usual scouting of other teams' Spring Training camps. Also in this in-depth interview, Cherington discusses his first winter as a general manager, the difficulty in parting with long-time Red Sox stars Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, and what he learned from Theo Epstein.
- The Blue Jays may be the only team that could be a fit for Derrek Lee, writes Fangraphs' Chris Cwik. Lee could be an alternative to Adam Lind at first if Lind struggles, or Lee could at least platoon if Lind again struggles to hit left-handed pitching. Though Cwik was pretty hesitant about Lee's chances of playing anywhere in the Majors in 2012, I'm not sure Toronto works as a landing spot either; the Jays have Edwin Encarnacion backing up at first, Travis Snider or Eric Thames as DH candidates, plus Ben Francisco and Rajai Davis as right-handed bench bats.
"I think maybe it will be before the All-Star break," legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post regarding an announcement of whether he will pitch in 2013. Rivera wants to be certain of his decision, which he seems to have already made privately. Rivera said that when he does retire, "It would be nice that you tell the fans, so every stadium you go to, the fans will be there to show their appreciation and you appreciate the fans."
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he's ready to move on without Oswalt, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. “I think I may have been more comfortable, but I wouldn’t have been totally comfortable,” Valentine said of potentially signing Oswalt. “What did he pitch, 136 innings last year?” Valentine was close -- it was 139.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says he doesn’t anticipate making any more additions in the near future, Alex Speier of WEEI.com tweets.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports discusses the Rays’ impressive rotation depth and explains why it’s a good ‘problem’ to have. Manager Joe Maddon told Rosenthal the club could use a six-man rotation at times this year and said top prospect Matt Moore won’t be relegated to the bullpen.
- Mariano Rivera seems to be savoring the early days of Spring Training, so Joel Sherman of the New York Post won’t be surprised if the closer chooses to retire after the season.
- Blue Jays infielder Omar Vizquel said he'll likely become involved in coaching next year, according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm (on Twitter). The 44-year-old doesn't anticipate playing after 2012 and would eventually like to manage in the Major Leagues.