I’ve written a few times that it just doesn’t seem fair to the baseball-loving public for Mariano Rivera to retire when he’s still so clearly an amazing pitcher, if only because I want to find out exactly how long he can continue posting a sub-3.00 ERA. 45? 50?
Anyway, apparently Yankees manager Joe Girardi agrees, because on the same day Rivera notched his record ninth 40-save season Girardi told Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York that he plans to try to talk the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer out of retiring once the season is over.
I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t. He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do. … I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, “Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.”
For his part, when asked about Girardi’s plans Rivera said: “I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision.”
Meanwhile, he has a 2.12 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and could end up with his most saves since 2004. Keep playing, Mo!
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.