New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman recounted closer Mariano Rivera informed him that he is unsure if he is going to play again or retire.
Cashman announced that he and Rivera had a conversation in which Rivera announced he does not know yet if he’ll return for a 19th season.
“He wasn’t certain on what he is going to do,” Cashman expounded.
After he crumbled to the turf and ripped his ACL in Kansas City in early May, Rivera vowed he would return in 2013.
“I’m coming back,” an emotional Rivera said in Kansas City a day after the injury. “Put it down. Write it down in big letters. I ain’t going down like this.”
Now, with his 43rd birthday next month and as he’s worked very hard during his rehab to return, Rivera has the familiar tug that he has carried for many years of possibly wanting to remain home with his family and call it a career.
In the past, Rivera also has emphasized that he expects to leave the game as an elite player. If he has doubts that he will keep his ability level, that also could lean him to call it a vocation with the most saves (608) in big league history and 5 World Series rings.
The talks for a new contract also may be a bit difficult. Rivera made $15 million last season, but even with the front office’s utmost respect for him, it is misleading what it’ll offer him considering he would be returning after a season in which he pitched in only 9 games.
This offseason, the N.Y Yankees are beginning to tighten up their budget in expectation of trying to lower payroll by 10% to $189 million for 2014. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has mandated the plan to exploit the new luxury tax breaks.
During his end-of-season news conference, Yankees executive Joe Girardi hinted that Rivera may not return.
“From watching how he rehabbed and everything that he was going through, picked up a baseball earlier than he was supposed to and got his hand smacked a little bit, that would tell me that Mo doubtless wants to play,” Girardi related. “But in saying that, it’s a call that I think he’ll sit down with his family, evaluate where he’s maybe a little bit later in this process and how he feels and how his arm feels, to feel just like you believe that you can compete at the same level he’s always competed at. But I don’t think that you push a rehab like he pushed it unless you believe you probably have some interest in coming back.”
Since Rivera already had vowed to come back last May, Girardi’s words were taken as managerial-speak, the feeling being Girardi did not need to totally commit to a player who wasn’t signed yet. Basketball odds
Rivera has been cryptic about his plans to play or retire. During spring training, he said that he knew whether 2012 would be his last season, but he declined to tell anyone in the front office or the media.