Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are expected to ask Mariano Rivera to take a “significant paycut” as part of a new contract.
He made $15 million in 2012. Heyman thinks the Yankees could ask him to take $10 million in 2013, possibly with incentives. Which doesn’t seem unreasonable given his age and the fact that he’s coming off an injury.
Also: Rivera probably doesn’t have a choice. Not a palatable one, anyway. This is sort of like when Derek Jeter was a free agent a couple of years ago. He may be worth somewhere between $10-15 million to the New York Yankees given his history there, the fan base and what he means to the team. But is a closer of his age — like a shortstop of Jeter’s — worth that to another team? And what does changing teams at this juncture in his career do for him? At the very least it’s an inconvenience. At most it’s a disruption of a legacy. At least to the extent he cares about such things.
It’s possible Rivera will be worth more than that, both the Yankees or to some other team. Indeed, if 2011 Rivera shows up again the Yankees will have a bargain. But as we sit here now, not knowing what the injury and the time off will do to Rivera’s cutter, the leverage here is definitely on the Yankees’ side.