Are the Yankees really playing it cheap with Mo Rivera?

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Yankees, already in a public free agent battle with shortstop Derek Jeter, are now at odds with Mariano Rivera about a contract for next season.

Rivera wants a two-year deal worth around $18 million per season but the Yanks only want to give him a one-year pact.

First reaction?  The Steinbrenner kids are serious about running the club like a business and not spending wildly like the pinstriped teams of the past.  They’re really going to play hardball with the old timers.

Second reaction?  Rivera won’t be treated like Jeter, because Mo is still a highly effective player and worth a little outlandish cash for a couple of final seasons.  The 40-year-old closer turned in a 1.80 ERA and 0.83 WHIP this past year while holding opposing hitters to a .187 batting average.  Jeter, meanwhile, registered a career-worst .270/.340/.370 batting line and showed poor range at the shortstop position.

The Yankees’ three-year, $45 million offer to Jeter is a generous one.  I think we all need to be reminded of that.

Brian Cashman and Co. will concede on Rivera — probably not at a total of cost of $36 million, but they’ll concede.  They shouldn’t on Jeter.