UPDATE: The Yankees have scheduled a 10:00 a.m. press conference for Saturday at Steinbrenner Field where Rivera will announce his retirement after the 2013 season, per Joel Sherman.
Considering the fact that he’s 43-years-old and has hinted this was coming for a little while now this doesn’t come as a big surprise. In fact, Olney said that if Rivera hadn’t gotten hurt last season that he would have retired at the end of the 2012 season.
Rivera has a career 2.21 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and a 2.0 BB/9 in 1,219.2 innings over parts of 18 seasons. Last year he posted numbers right inline with those career stats — 2.16 ERA, 8.6 K/9, and a 2.2 BB/9. The Yankees have gambled on a one-year and $10 million deal that he will bounce back from knee surgery to serve as their closer.
If he falters or retires there is no clear heir to his throne. David Robertson seems to be the most likely candidate at this point, but he struggled in the second half last season after injuries and is already dealing with arm problems this year.
Joba Chamberlain could also enter the mix. Joba, though, has made it known that he wants to start next season which means he might be leaving via free agency at the end of the year leaving the Yankees with one fewer option.
Besides those two, the Yankees are going to have to find a closer on the free agent market although with the $189 million budget happening next season it might have to be a stopgap replacement until an internal replacement is ready. Mark Montgomery would be the best bet for that to happen, but I wouldn’t rule out a prospect like Jose Ramirez or even Manny Banuelos falling into that role too.
The point is that for the first time in nearly 20 years, the Yankees don’t know who their closer will be after this season. Let’s take some time, perhaps the entire 2013 season, to appreciate Mo while he’s still here.