By now, most every baseball fan has heard about the ACL injury suffered by New York Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera. Now I’m certainly not a Yankees fan (but I’m also not one of those irrational folks who hates them for simply being the Yankees), but this news is about as bad as it gets for anyone who likes baseball. It’s obvious that we here at BS,W are especially fascinated by relief pitchers, and when it comes to relievers, it’s a pretty unanimous pick to whom is probably the greatest of all-time.
It goes without saying that Rivera is done for the 2012 season. The bigger question is whether or not Rivera is done for the remainder of his career. He is a free agent after the 2012 season, but let’s face it, at this point, regardless of the disappearance of allegiance and loyalty, I’m betting that it’s absolutely out of the question that Mariano Rivera ends up with another team. So it’s a question of if the Yankees will sign him for one more year, or if the evolving, more financially selective evolution of the Yankees management will allow Mo to go the route of Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada, and simply force him into retirement.
It’s question worth asking, because unlike the decline of Posada, Rivera could feasibly still be bringing it in 2013, if re-signed. Although it’s a small sample of just nine games and 8.1 innings, his numbers were as good as they’ve been over the span of his so-called decline phase, and there’s little reason to believe that they would fall off a cliff next year. They are also a little skewed, since it was only in the first game of the season in which he had his only blown save, only runs allowed, and only walks yielded. As far as the opposition is concerned, still, nobody’s figured out how to neutralize Rivera’s cutter. They probably won’t next year, either.
But ultimately, the biggest question of them all, is if Mariano Rivera will even want to play anymore. He turns 43 in November, and it simply doesn’t matter if he can cutter the rest of MLB to death still, if he simply doesn’t want to. In late 2012, Chipper Jones tore his ACL in Houston, after making a jump-throw from third base; he had been bouncing the idea of retirement back then too, but simply ended up declaring that he simply refused to let the sight of him on his back, writhing in pain, to be the last sight anyone had of his professional career.
Personally, I’d love to see Rivera return for 2013, and the Yankees give him fair compensation to do such. I don’t think Jhonny Peralta wants to be the last guy to ever strikeout to Rivera, and I don’t think Nick Markakis wants to be the last guy to ever face Rivera (he GIDP’d). Whether you’re fans of relief pitching, fans of the Yankees, or just a fan of baseball in general, Mariano Rivera should be ending his career, walking away on his own power, with the fans standing in respect.
Not like this.