After moving past Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves leaderboard yesterday Mariano Rivera was asked whether he plans to keep playing once his current contract with the Yankees is up following next season:
Every year it’s harder and harder. So I mean it’s a decision that we have to make as a family and we’ll go from there. I know that I have another year going on. I don’t know if I can pitch for another three years guys. It’s hard out there. It’s not easy. And I have no hair left. So I don’t know, I don’t know. Like I said I know that I have another year and then after that, I’ll let you know.
It might seem “harder and harder” for Rivera at age 41–especially with “no hair left”–but his actual performance certainly hasn’t declined any. He’s saved 43 games with a 1.98 ERA and 57/7 K/BB ratio in 59 innings this season, posting the second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his brilliant career while being on pace for his most saves since 2003. And his velocity has remained pretty steady during the past handful of seasons, with his cutter actually clocking in slightly faster than in 2009 and 2010.
Getting to 700 saves may not mean a ton to Rivera, but he has a chance to get there and set the bar for future closers ridiculously high considering no other active pitcher has even 350 right now. Rivera is under contract for $15 million next season and projects to have around 640 saves by the time he has to decide whether to re-up with the Yankees again.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.