I’m guessing Yankees fans have heard this story before, but I don’t recall it. Here’s Bob Klapisch, relating the story of Mariano Rivera discovering his cutter. Given how dominant and unique Rivera is, it’s not terribly unlike a superhero creation story:
Its genesis is well known in the Yankees’ family, although Rivera still takes pleasure in explaining how a simple game of catch with Ramiro Mendoza changed his life 15 years ago.
“All of a sudden the ball started moving, cutting, in a way I’d never seen before,” Rivera said. “I wasn’t doing anything different, yet it had a life of its own. So, tell me, how do you explain that? [Mendoza] kept asking me what I was doing to make the ball move like that, and I had no answer. To me, the pitch was a gift from God. How can I really teach this pitch if I can’t explain how it came to me in the first place?”
And that’s the crux of Klapisch’s piece: Rivera will try to teach it to anyone who wants to learn it, but no one else can do it. His remains the single most lethal pitch in baseball after all these years, and it remains his alone.
I never get too wrapped up in mythologizing baseball players. But if one of our era deserves it, it’s Rivera. He’s just a different case altogether.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.