Rivera would keep Boone, says earlier remarks out of context

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Mariano Rivera says he would keep Aaron Boone as the New York Yankees’ manager and that remarks he made earlier this week were taken out of context.

The Hall of Fame reliever told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was speaking generically about teams and managers when he answered questions Tuesday during a videoconference session with Panamanian business executives.

“I said when a team like this, the New York Yankees, is expected to win, the season that they had, and they don’t make it to the end, always the manager is the one that always ends up paying,” Rivera said during a telephone interview with the AP.

“Although the manager doesn’t hit, the manager doesn’t pitch, the manager doesn’t run, the manager doesn’t do nothing but manage and make sure everybody’s ready to play, unfortunately they never fire the whole team, they always fire the manager,” he said. “I was giving a generic estimation. And obviously they took it out of context.”

Rivera said he does not advocate for a manager switch: “I don’t have to change. Who I am to say?”

During Tuesday’s videoconference, a recording of which was posted online by ESPN, Rivera said in Spanish: “If I’m the owner, he wouldn’t stay. … Obviously all blame points at the manager, but players also have to do their job. … Sometimes when things don’t come out the way we want them to be, the blame falls on the manager. And someone has to pay for the blame, the players won’t get fired. The manager is the one that always gets fired. You try to do something to try fix things.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday he plans to have Boone return for a sixth season as manager.

Rivera retired after the 2013 season and a 19-year big-league career, all with the Yankees.

He said he was asked three questions, the first involved whether Aaron Judge should stay with the Yankees and the second whether Judge should become captain, the first since Derek Jeter.

“I’m a Yankee for life and he should be a Yankee,” Rivera said. “He has to make it own decision. But if it was me, I want him on my team. And then captain, that’s a privilege that you have to earn. And I remember when they named Derek captain of the team, we all were content with in the news, but at the same time it’s a lot a work. Thank God that we were there for Derek to help him.”


Cubs, RHP Taillon reportedly agree to 4-year contract

jameson taillon
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The Chicago Cubs have added Jameson Taillon to their rotation, agreeing to a four-year contract with the right-hander that is worth roughly $68 million.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Cubs haven’t formally announced the move, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said the team has been looking at Taillon for a long time.

“I think he’s a really good starting pitcher,” Hoyer said at baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “He’s been really consistent. I think he’s continued to get better as he’s gotten healthier in his career. I think he’s showed the promise he had.”

The 31-year-old Taillon is coming off a solid season with the New York Yankees, going 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA. He matched his career high with 32 starts and worked 177 1/3 innings, his best total since he logged 191 innings in 2018.

The move puts Taillon back in the NL Central after he began his career with Pittsburgh. Taillon made his major league debut in 2016 and went 29-24 with a 3.67 ERA in 82 starts in his first four seasons with the Pirates.

Taillon missed the 2020 season after he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for a second time. He was traded to the Yankees in January 2021 for four prospects.

“Since he’s been healthy, beginning with the Yankees, I think he’s pitched really well,” Hoyer said. “Yeah, I think there’s still more in the tank. But obviously we’re excited to get him. He’s a guy we targeted at the beginning of the offseason.”

Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, moves into a rotation that also includes Marcus Stroman, who finalized a $71 million, three-year contract last December. Kyle Hendricks is hoping to return to form after he missed the last part of the season with shoulder trouble.

Chicago went 74-88 this year and finished third in the NL Central. But it went 40-31 in its last 71 games. The rotation had a 2.89 ERA after the All-Star break, third in the majors behind the Astros (2.70) and Dodgers (2.73).

The Cubs also got Cody Bellinger on Tuesday, agreeing to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the 2019 NL MVP. Bellinger figures to play center field, but he also could get some work at first base.

The team could add another starting pitcher, and it is monitoring the shortstop market.

“Really glad with the two guys that we are able to potentially come to an agreement with while we’re here,” Hoyer said. “And obviously a lot of offseason left.”