The Yankees are busy with Derek Jeter and Cliff Lee, but after that’s all said and done, Mariano Rivera will be tops on their priority list. Jon Heyman reports today that, when they do get to him, they’ll find that he wants a two-year deal, not a one-year deal.
This should not be a problem. I think you pretty much give Mariano Rivera whatever he wants. At least within reason. He earned 2011 by continuing to be awesome in 2010. While, sure, he might fall off a cliff eventually, who has a greater right to ask for an extra year than Mariano Rivera? He’s carried them for 15 years. They can carry him for one if, for some reason, next season is his last effective one.
In other news, Heyman says that “Rivera has told friends” of his desire for two-years. I’m trying to picture what Mariano Rivera’s “friends” are like. I can see anything from normal guys, to cyborgs, to supermodels to the nerdiest people who ever existed. Could be anyone, really. Unless I’m missing a big expose that’s been written, we probably know less about Mariano Rivera than we know about any all-time elite athlete in history.
Personally, I’m going with cyborgs.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.