Two weeks after officially returning to the Yankees on a one-year, $10 million deal Mariano Rivera made it very clear that he expects to be fully recovered from knee surgery by Opening Day.
“Oh, yeah, I don’t see why not,” Rivera said, via Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. “We have at least three months, four months until that point. I’ll be ready.”
Rivera noted that he hasn’t started throwing regularly yet, but added that he’s “feeling good” and “the leg’s getting stronger and stronger.”
Because the Yankees are not expected to re-sign fill-in closer Rafael Soriano they’re definitely counting on Rivera being healthy and effective in 2013, but David Robertson is still around as a potentially excellent closer if things don’t go totally according to plan.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.