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.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.