Last month Mariano Rivera was coy about his future beyond this season, saying he’d already come to a decision but wasn’t going to share it publicly.
That led to some speculation that he plans to retire and Rivera’s comments to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post today would seemingly strengthen those beliefs.
Asked when he’ll reveal the decision, Rivera said:
I think maybe it will be before the All-Star break. I just want to be sure. I want to make sure whatever I decide, it will be the right decision. I don’t want to tell you, “OK, I’m going to retire,” and then I don’t do it. To me, that’s not right. Whatever decision I make, I continue or I don’t continue, that is a decision I want to stick with. As you get older, you have your priorities and you just go and do it.
Obviously a 42-year-old pitcher saying he plans to play another season is newsworthy, but if he plans to simply keep playing the need for a big buildup followed by an announcement doesn’t really seem necessary any more than it would have when he was 39 or 40 or 41.
Rivera also indicated that he likes the idea of making an announcement with enough time to say goodbye at each ballpark because “it would be nice that you tell the fans, so every stadium you go to, the fans will be there to show their appreciation and you appreciate the fans.”
I’d selfishly like to see Rivera continue pitching until he’s no longer one of the most dominant relievers in baseball and he’s shown absolutely no signs of slowing down yet, but he sure sounds like someone 162 games from retirement.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.