Yankees

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera on reported talks with Red Sox: “It was real”

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Mariano Rivera has confirmed reports that he had talks with the Red Sox prior to re-signing with the Yankees for $30 million over two years, saying: “It was real.”

Rivera didn’t verify reports that his agent actually initiated contact with Boston, but made it pretty clear that he viewed the Red Sox as a legitimate option if negotiations with the Yankees broke down.

“I made sure that I thanked [the Red Sox], because they took me into consideration,” Rivera told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. “But, again, this is business, and the Yankees did the right thing. And I’m here.”

Asked if he ever truly felt pitching for the Red Sox was a realistic possibility, Rivera said: “It would’ve been different. I don’t think so. I don’t think the Yankees will allow that to happen. I just had to make sure that I had a job, and the Yankees did that.”

Unlike the Derek Jeter negotiations Rivera’s talks with the Yankees (and Red Sox) mostly went under the radar, with various details emerging only after he’d already re-signed. Boston reportedly offered him the same two-year, $30 million deal that he accepted from New York.

Russell Martin needs knee surgery, but the Yankees signed him anyway

Russell Martin
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Russell Martin officially signed his one-year, $4 million deal with the Yankees after passing a physical exam earlier this week, but it turns out he didn’t so much “pass” as the Yankees were only concerned with the status of his fractured hip.

Presumably they were encouraged enough by what they saw in his recovery from that injury to sign off on the contract, because Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the physical exam revealed Martin needs knee surgery.

Sherman classifies it as minor surgery and Martin is expected to be recovered from the operation in time for spring training, but going under the knife complicates things even further for the 28-year-old catcher who was already somewhat of a question mark coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons and a major hip injury.

Sherman opines that the Yankees’ willingness to sign Martin anyway “says lot about” their lack of faith in top prospect Jesus Montero being ready to catch in the majors in 2011, but realistically a minor knee surgery in mid-December seems unlikely to hold up a signing regardless.

Russell Martin signed with Yankees for lower base salary than he turned down from Dodgers

Russell Martin
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ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has the details of Russell Martin’s one-year contract with the Yankees. He’ll earn $4 million in base salary, which is less guaranteed money than he turned down from the Dodgers prior to being non-tendered.

Los Angeles reportedly offered him $4.2 million upfront and another $1.5 million in potential incentives, while Martin is said to have insisted on at least $5 million guaranteed.

There’s no word yet on if his deal with the Yankees includes more than $1.5 million in incentives, but either Martin simply wanted a fresh start after five seasons with the Dodgers or he miscalculated his market value coming off a fractured hip and back-to-back down years.