I was skeptical about the Red Sox making a serious offer to Mariano Rivera, but Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that it was legit: a two-year deal at $15 million per. If Mo had accepted it, the Sox would have non-tendered Jonathan Papelbon.
I had made a comment this morning asking why the Sox would sign Rivera, who would have the effect of blocking Daniel Bard from the closer’s role for which he seems destined. Reader Ari Collins made a good point: it’s not really a block seeing as how the eighth inning guy typically gets more innings and pitches in higher-leverage situation. Having Rivera close (or Papelbon) and Bard pitch in the seventh and/or eighth actually maximizes Bard’s value while keeping his salary-inflating save total down to boot.
In any event, I guess the real question is this: did the Red Sox actually think they’d get Rivera with that offer, or did they know/suspect that he’d sign with the Yankees anyway? Maybe it doesn’t matter. If you make an offer you have to be prepared that the other side will accept it. Still, part of me still thinks that there was a bit more theater to the Sox’ offer to Rivera than you see in most free agent pursuits.