Finally, the Yankees re-sign their two legendary players, shortstop Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera, to three and two year deals, respectively. Now all the talks about having Eduardo Nunez playing short, or signing Orlando Cabrera, or making a blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins that would send Hanley Ramirez to the Bronx are over, finally.
On Thursday the Yankees agreed to a two year contract worth 30 million to Mariano Rivera. Rivera asked for two years, and he got two years. But, on the other hand, Derek Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, asked for at least for five years worth at least 23 million per year. They weren’t close at all, no pun intended. Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a three year, 51 million dollar deal. That’s more like it.
Money wise the Rivera contract was a no-brainer, but Jeter’s was a little different. Jeter is not going to be an elite player for five years while earning 23 million a year. The Yankees have fallen in this trap before. See Alex Rodriguez and his 10 year deal he signed following the 2007 season. They can’t do it again with another aging left side of the infield player. This is a great deal for the Yankees because they won’t have to pay big bucks for a 40 year old infielder.
Now, the Mariano Rivera deal was a little interesting. There were reports that the Boston Red Sox offered Mariano Rivera the same contract, Mo was smart enough and stayed with his team. Now, if Rivera did the unthinkable by going to Boston, the Red Sox would have non-tendered closer Jonathan Papelbon’s contract, thus making him a free agent. Very interesting. We’ll see how Papelbon reacts in the 2011 season. He struggled in 2010 by posting a 3.90 ERA, worst in his career by far, and blowing eight save opportunities.
There’s really not much else to say about these two deals. Except for that they had to be done, and they were done. Also the Yankees didn’t get suckered into a bad contract like they have before. See Alex Rodriguez, A.J Burnett, Carl Pavano, etc. But, the Yankees aren’t even close to being finished with their off-season checklist. They still have to sign Cliff Lee, another setup reliever, and a lefty reliever, among other minor moves.