News are coming fast and furious out of the Bronx this morning. Closer Mariano Rivera is expected to sign a new one-year deal to stay with the New York Yankees and that contract is likely to happen at some point this week.
The deal, according to Ken Rosenthal, is likely to be more lucrative than the estimated $10-11 million Andy Pettitte is expected to receive.
Rivera, who just completed a two-year, $30 million contract, pitched in only nine game before tearing his ACL while shagging fly balls during Yankees batting practice and considered retirement. The all-time saves leader was lights-out once again for the Bombers in 2012 before his injury, posting a 2.16 ERA and eight strikeouts in 8.1 innings of work.
In his last three seasons, Rivera has posted a combined ERA of 1.87 and a WHIP of just 0.871. That’s ridiculous for a pitcher is his prime.
It’s what Rivera has done since turning 40.
The Yankees were able to survive Rivera’s injury in 2012 thanks to a stellar season from Rafael Soriano, but as good as Soriano was, he didn’t come close to matching what Rivera has done in any given season since 1997. In the 15 season between ’97 and 2012, Rivera has had exactly four seasons in which his ERA ended the year above 2.00. He’s had eight seasons in which his WHIP wound up less than 1.000 and he’s never, save his rookie season in 1995, had a WHIP higher than 1.186.
At some point, you figure, Rivera will lose his dominance. It happens to every athlete, no matter the sport, no matter the position. Maybe the knee injury will expedite the process for the future Hall-of-Famer, but I doubt it. I think it’s far more likely that Rivera gets tired of playing baseball before he becomes anything less than the best closer in the game.