As expected, Mariano Rivera will be back with the Yankees in 2013 on a one year contract. The agreement pays Mo $10 million in base salary, with performance incentives. Rivera will regain the closer position he lost after blowing out his knee in Kansas City. Rafael Soriano did a phenomenal job filling in, but will not be back next season as he is testing the free agent waters.
Rivera is undoubtedly the most dominant closer in the sport’s history, and father time really hasn’t done him in. Since 2010, up until he was injured in 2012, Mo posted a 1.87 ERA in a hair under 130 innings, all while over the age of 40. Now, the question will be how he recovers from his torn ACL.
Paying $10 million dollars for any reliever is steep, but Mariano has earned it on reputation. He is taking a cut from $15 million, but much of that is due to the health concerns. However, it’s the Yankees were pleased with his progress enough to bring him back. Rivera has earned the right to go out on his own terms.
As we’ve discussed ad nauseum, this deal falls right into what the Yankees wanted with the austerity budget in 2014. Soriano will be missed performance-wise, but whoever signs him is sure to pony up multiple years for big bucks.
Ultimately, it’s good to have Mariano back. I have some reservations about his knee, but Mo has defied logic of late in his career. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees brought in someone else as insurance, like Joakim Soria. The Ryan Madson deal with the Angels, one year for $3.5 million that can escalate to $7 million might be a solid basis.
The Yankees will have to open up a 40-man roster spot for Rivera; the move won’t be known until the deal is made official.