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.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.