Just about every aspect of the Mariano Rivera negotiations has gone differently than the Derek Jeter negotiations. Rivera reportedly drew interest from other teams, including the Angels and Red Sox. Rivera and his agent made a point of keeping the process quiet, as opposed to negotiating in the press. And, according to one report at least, Rivera will take less money (and fewer years) from the Yankees so he can remain with the only club he’s ever played for.
Rivera reportedly had an offer from another team in the range of $17 million a season over three years. (And Boston was reportedly one of three teams that had offered a three-year contract.) But Rivera is expected to sign a two-year, $30 million contract with the Yankees, possibly as soon as today — figures that would match the $15 million per season he’d been earning on the contract he signed prior to the 2008 season.
It’s no surprise that Rivera will be the first of the Yankees’ off-season priorities to sign: Jeter’s negotiations have included all sorts of unique headaches, and they’ll have to compete with other teams to sign Cliff Lee. (And unlike Rivera, Lee won’t give the Yankees a discount.) But all along it appeared that there wouldn’t be any significant roadblocks to signing the closer, who turned in yet another excellent season in 2010 even though he turned 41 this week.
That’s the thing with Rivera: This contract will take him through the age of 42, and as well as he’s pitched over the past few seasons, he’s also dealt with some injury issues. Closers, healthy or otherwise, aren’t supposed to pitch until they’re 42, at least not effectively. But then again, they’re not supposed to pitch so well between the ages of 38 and 40 either.