Earlier in the year everyone was writing stories about Derek Jeter and what it would take to resign him after this season is over and his 10-year contract finally comes to an end. I’m not sure what the obsession was over it because everyone knows that Jeter is more likely to retire than to sign somewhere else.
However, with all of the Jeter/free agency stories out there there really wasn’t much thought given to Mariano Rivera, another potential free agent who, at age 40, is much more likely to retire than Jeter. Joel Sherman of the NY Post did catch up with Rivera this week and asked him about his impending free agency:
When I asked Rivera what he wanted, the great righty said, “During the season it is hard to focus on the contract. During the season, I have to do what is right by the team.”
When I asked if he would be amenable to doing what Andy Pettitte (another free-agent-to-be) does, and take one-year contracts and determine at the end of each season if he wants to continue to play, Rivera said, “Something like that would be fine.”
This is good news for the Yankees because it will give them financial flexibility as they won’t have to shell out a huge multi-year deal. It also should give them the piece of mind that they won’t have to be paying Rivera past his expiration date, if he even has one.
The one fear this does bring up is that by not locking Rivera down it is possible that he could retire before his skills have faded. Admittedly this is not a very big fear because in most of the interviews Rivera gives he talks about how much he loves playing and how he’s going to keep pitching until he is no longer effective.
Really, if the Yankees were lucky Jeter would do the same thing, providing the Yankees with roster and payroll flexibility. Hell, if both players would do that than it would be worth it for them to overpay each player in their final years. Those extra dollars would easily be worth the flexibility one -year deals would provide.