• Mo Rivera Wants Two-Year Deal, Yanks Offering One

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2010 · Comments (13)

    Via Jeff Passan:

    The quickly devolving Derek Jeter negotiations might not be the New York Yankees’ only problem. They’re playing hardball with Mariano Rivera too.

    While the free-agent closer is seeking a two-year deal, the Yankees are currently inclined to offer him only one year, according to a source familiar with the team’s thinking. And by doing so, they risk doing to Rivera what they’ve already done with Jeter: muck up talks that could’ve – and should’ve – gone smoothly.

    In taking a hard line with their two biggest stars since Mickey Mantle, the Yankees are banking on the greatest leverage they’ve got: the notion that Jeter and Rivera wouldn’t fathom wearing another uniform. It is a canny strategy. For Jeter or Rivera to walk away wouldn’t merely take a contract offer of less than they believe they’re worth. It would necessitate a profound insult, and the Yankees expect the players to interpret the team’s tack as business, not personal.

    With Rivera, it could easily remain so. The chasm between one year and two years isn’t insurmountable, and the Yankees are already prepared to give him a raise from the $15 million he made in 2010. Whether Rivera meets the Yankees in the middle at one year with a club option or holds firm at two years and expects the team to honor his contributions and continued dominance will determine whether the negotiations turn as contentious as Jeter’s.

    And do not undersell the three-year, $45 million offer the Yankees sent their shortstop’s way as a mere negotiating parry. It was, to the Jeter camp, a declaration – not of war, not yet, but not of an easily obtained, peaceful treatise, either. Between asking Jeter to take a nearly one-third pay cut from last season and spinning in the media that any delay is Jeter’s fault, the Yankees are playing a dangerous game – one fueled by an arrogant belief that Jeter wouldn’t at least entertain the possibility of going elsewhere.

    This is a referendum on what two men mean to a franchise – whether the Yankees are the Yankees because of their history or because of who constitutes them at any particular moment. The mystique died in the ’80s when the team was bereft of stars beyond Don Mattingly as well as befallen by a miserable record, so an answer isn’t obvious. If the Yankees don’t bend with Jeter and Rivera, their thinking is obvious: The uniform is more important than those wearing it.

    Jeter and Rivera each realize the Yankees don’t want to make another mistake with an aging player, not with Alex Rodriguez and his bum hip contracted for another seven years and, if he breaks Barry Bonds’ home run record, $204 million. The players also don’t want to be penalized for mistakes Yankees leadership made, and if anyone deserves special treatment, it is them.

    So their agents counteroffer, and they wait and wonder whether the Yankees will budge. Jeter’s desires are unknown, but they’re surely more than three years and more than $15 million a pop. Rivera wants a second year, and because the news so revolves around Jeter, the Yankees haven’t bothered making an issue of it publicly. Which is, by no means, to say they’re above that.

    Jeter aside, betcha there’s a market outside of Yankeeland for Rivera – even at his age. And, I would not put it past him to go somewhere else if Brian Cashman plays chicken for too long on this one.

    Comments on Mo Rivera Wants Two-Year Deal, Yanks Offering One

    1. MJ Recanati
      November 23rd, 2010 | 2:42 pm

      The Yanks gave Rivera a three year deal at the end of the ’07 season and Rivera lived up to his contract. He’s coming off another very good season in 2010. On this one, I can’t side with the Yanks. They should be offering Rivera 2Y/$32M and not even thinking twice about it.

      Jeter can go piss in his hat if he doesn’t like 3Y/$45M. But Rivera should be afforded every opportunity to set his own terms. He’s been reliable and hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down.

    2. Evan3457
      November 23rd, 2010 | 2:57 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      The Yanks gave Rivera a three year deal at the end of the ’07 season and Rivera lived up to his contract. He’s coming off another very good season in 2010. On this one, I can’t side with the Yanks. They should be offering Rivera 2Y/$32M and not even thinking twice about it.
      Jeter can go piss in his hat if he doesn’t like 3Y/$45M. But Rivera should be afforded every opportunity to set his own terms. He’s been reliable and hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down.

      Pretty much, yeah. I’d have to agree.

    3. G.I. Joey
      November 23rd, 2010 | 3:00 pm

      Get ‘er done.

    4. Jim TreshFan
      November 23rd, 2010 | 3:03 pm

      Do the Yankees big brass know something that we don’t know about Rivera?

    5. November 23rd, 2010 | 3:04 pm

      I surveyed my non-Yankee fan Facebook friends about this issue the other day. Most would want their teams to pass on Jeter. A few wanted Pettitte. But everybody wanted Mariano.

      I think Mo will get his two years from the Yankees.

    6. Evan3457
      November 23rd, 2010 | 3:06 pm

      Jim TreshFan wrote:

      Do the Yankees big brass know something that we don’t know about Rivera?

      Maybe they think he’s slippiing slightly and are afraid he’ll fall off the cliff this season, leaving them on the hook for a 2nd year at $18 million for a player with no remaining value.

    7. MJ Recanati
      November 23rd, 2010 | 3:53 pm

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      @ Evan3457:
      It’s possible that the Yanks know something we don’t. But I still have to believe that they should at least offer a mutual option or a team option with a hefty buy-out number attached.

      Rivera’s coming off a strong season. Paying a teensy bit for past glory is OK when you’re also paying for the very good things he did just this year.

    8. Raf
      November 23rd, 2010 | 5:44 pm

      Jeff Passan wrote:

      The mystique died in the ’80s when the team was bereft of stars beyond Don Mattingly…

      Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield (among others) don’t count?

    9. MJ Recanati
      November 23rd, 2010 | 5:46 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield (among others) don’t count?

      In Passan’s world, apparently not. To fans of the Yanks, however…well, we know better.

      Winfield may not be as beloved now as he was then but, from what I can remember as a kid in the 80′s, we loved Winnie just a wee bit less than Mattingly. He was “1A” to Donnie’s “1.”

    10. November 23rd, 2010 | 5:56 pm

      To me the Rivera deal needs to get done before Jeter. Make no mistake about it there is definitely a market for Rivera, and I believe he would go someplace else rather than accepting a substandard offer from the Yankees. Rivera is arguably the greatest relief pitcher of all time, and to me just as important a Yankee icon as Jeter.

    11. jay
      November 23rd, 2010 | 6:14 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Rivera’s coming off a strong season. Paying a teensy bit for past glory is OK when you’re also paying for the very good things he did just this year.

      Rivera’s IP total have been steadily declining – which is something we’ve all seen. He can’t be used like he was able to be used even 2 or 3 years ago. Rivera obviously still gets the job done like no one else, but you don’t want be to paying a closer $18M to pitch 50 innings. There has to be a line drawn somewhere and the Yankees are doing that.

    12. November 23rd, 2010 | 6:55 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Not for me. I was one of the Yankee fans who rooted for Winfield over Mattingly in the batting title race (and I was there, in person, at the final game of the year!)

    13. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com
      November 23rd, 2010 | 8:18 pm

      Mo is absolutely essential, Derek not so much!

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.