"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Watch That Man

The Yankees don’t generally offer their players contract extensions. But with Mariano Rivera in the final year of a four-year deal, it would behoove the Yankees to lock up their ace closer sooner rather than later. At 34, you could argue that Rivera is too old to pay $8 million plus for another two or three years. But like Derek Jeter, Rivera has been the face of the Yankees’ latest championship run. He is coming off of one of his best seasons, and it says here, that he is worth the gamble. (Hey, it’s only George’s money, right?) Both The Daily News and The New York Post feature articles on Rivera’s future this morning. According to the News:

“We haven’t talked yet, but I think we can get to some agreement on an extension. I feel good, and I want to remain a Yankee,” Rivera said after a mid-morning workout at the Yanks’ minor-league complex yesterday.

When Rivera signed the four-year deal in 2001, he mentioned that he would leave baseball when the contract ran out, and turn his attention to Religion. Also, Rivera was reportedly upset with the Yankees for letting Andy Pettitte walk last fall. But for now, he would like to stay in New York. But for how long?

“I don’t know, maybe three more years, a chance to put some more more numbers there,” said Rivera, the Yanks’ all-time leader in saves with 283. “Like I said, I want to win another World Series before I go, and we have a chance. When you’re with the Yankees, you always have a lot of opportunity.”

You could argue that the Yankees could do without Rivera after 2004, but my guess is that most Yankee fans would rather see Rivera in New York for another couple of years. Part of me would rather see Rivera retire or move on instead of watching him decline in New York, but again, Rivera was terrific last year, and perhaps he’ll still be very good for another couple of seasons. The other part of me–the protective part–wants Rivera to be a life-long Yankee, regardless of the results from here on out. I think most Yankee fans will be happy taking their chances with Mo: case closed.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver