Well, Mariano Rivera's posturing lasted about a week. Pete Caldera from the Record is reporting
that Mo has accepted the previously offered 3 year/$45 million offer from the Bombers. There was no way anyone was going to offer Mo four years, and there was absolutely no way anyone was going to top the $45M offer, no matter how long the contract was. Rivera was obviously still peeved at the Yanks for failing to extend him before the 2007 season, and probably also a little bitter at all the stiffs who got rich off the Yanks (Pavano, Randy Johnson, etc.) while he dominated for 12 years without ever really cashing in.
This contract demonstrates a loyalty to Rivera that the Yankees and Yankee fans can be proud of. Professional sports is often a cut-throat business world, and it would've been very easy for the Yanks to move on. Joba Chamberlain could've closed, or they could've gone out and gotten Francisco Cordero for much less money, they brought Mo back for a boatload so he can retire a Yankee, and hopefully provide them with another year or two of top-flight relief work. I wish the negotiations wouldn't have been so acrimonious, but the bottom line is they brought back the Yankee legend, we'll never have to hear Enter Sandman played in Dodger Stadium and Mo doesn't have a reason to be upset with the Yanks anymore.
The Yankees also brought back Jose Molina earlier in the week on a two-year, $4M deal. Here's a breakdown of what the Yanks have done thus far in the offseason:
- A-Rod: Expected to sign an incentive laden 10 years/$275M deal any day now.
- Posada: Signed a 4 year/$52M deal to return to the Yanks.
- Rivera: Reportedly agreed to a 3 year/$45M deal to return to the Yanks.
- Molina: Signed a 2 year/$4M deal to return to the Yanks.
- Pettitte: Opted out of final year @ $16M, still undecided for 2008 and beyond.
- Doug: Unrestricted free agent, not expected to return.
- Vizcaino: Unrestricted free agent, the Yanks are rumored to want him back.
- Villone: Unrestricted free agent. No news to report.
If the season started today, the Yanks would be looking at the following rotation:
The bullpen would be much less settled, with only Rivera as the closer and Farnsworth as his setup guy in place. Ohlendorf, Veras and possibly Edwar Ramirez would be slotted in to fill the remaining holes.
The lineup is back from last season with the exception of Doug. The first base platoon would consist of some combination of Betemit, Duncan and Giambi. I'd actually expect Frankenstein to get a fair shake at first, based purely on Girardi's admiration of the kid from broadcast booth last season. Joe likes the kid's fire, couple that with his power bat and good eye at the plate and we may see quite a bit of him. I'm all for that.
When you take a look at where the team stands right now, it's much easier to see what they need to do at the Winter Meetings and after. A top-flight starter would be ideal, short of that, they need to get another reliable arm in the rotation. The young guns are all unproven commodities who probably can't handle 200 inning workloads. Mussina sure looked like he was through last season. They need more depth there. If Pettitte comes back, this becomes less of a priority.
Priority number two is the pen. With Joba, the pen was a strength, especially late. Without Joba, there's no one you'd feel comfortable in getting the ball to Mo for the 9th. There aren't a lot of options on the free agent market, I guess the Yanks could throw a boatload of money at Francisco Cordero to set up, but I don't think that's a wise move. Most likely, they'll bring Vizcaino back and possibly swing a trade.
The offense is fine. If an unbelievable opportunity comes up, they should snatch it, otherwise concentrate on the pen and keep moving forward.