How Much Money Does Rivera Deserve?

(Bob Leverone 2012)

Yesterday, there were some grumbles about Mariano Rivera retiring this offseason. This comes after he stated, “I’m coming back. Put it down. Write it down in big letters. I ain’t going down like this.” There’s been some time in between these two statements, but more than likely, the mention of retirement is nothing more than his last hope at leverage when it comes time to negotiate.

How Much Money Does Rivera Deserve
Will Rivera go to another team? It’s doubtful, especially as he’s trying to come back and retire on good terms with his lifelong Yankee fans. The only way to earn any sort of contract leverage here is to threaten not playing at all, to make up a little white lie and say that he’s changed his mind about playing in 2013. You can’t blame him. He’s one of the best closers available on the free agent market, and the greatest of all time, yet he has very little bargaining power when it comes to the Yankees.

He’s coming off an injury, he’s obviously not going to another team, he’ll be 43 years old, and the Yankees already have David Robertson and potentially Rafael Soriano to close next season. We would all love Rivera back, but Soriano’s success in the 2012 season taught us that he isn’t as important as we once thought. So now that we’ve hit the offseason, the free agent is using the media to try and get the money that he deserves. Coming off a $15 million salary in 2012, the closer may be expecting another one year deal on that same amount. That’s at least a likely starting point from his side.

Meanwhile, the Yankees will be looking at something lower than what a top closer coming off injury would normal receive. Joe Nathan is a decent example, he’s a guy who had 6 consecutive seasons with a 1.87 ERA and a WHIP below 1. A year after Tommy John Surgery, at 36 years old, he pitched to a 4.84 ERA with his final season on the Twins. In 2012, he received a two year $14.5 million contract with a 3rd year team option. In Nathan’s contract, his annual average salary was $7 million. Rivera will be 6 years older than Nathan, and he hasn’t returned to the mound yet to prove he can still pitch. You’re going to have to lower the annual salary down to around $5 million, and that will probably be the starting point for the Yankees in negotiations.

Personally, I think they’ll find a common ground around an $8 million one year deal. I’d like to know what TYA thinks. Should he receive more based on who he is and his previous performance, or less based on his injuries or age?

About Michael Eder

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

6 thoughts on “How Much Money Does Rivera Deserve?

  1. he is very wealthy and just got paid 15 million for a year of not playing. it would be nice if he took 5 million. i doubt he would accept thouh. im thinking its gonna be five with easily reachable performance bonuses that take him to 15.

  2. I feel Mariano will retire, I know he made comments about being back in 13 but that was before the Yankee world saw the success that soriano accomplished in 12. I love MO and I would be sad to see him go but if it comes between having soriano for a multiple year contract or MO for his last year (who knows how he will perform either) I think we need to stick with sori. Just my .02$

  3. $5M take it or leave it.

    If he rejects it, the Yanks will clear $35.5M of bullpen salary like this:

    $15M letting go of Mo
    $12.5M buying out Sori
    $4M letting go of Garcia
    $4M letting go of Feliciano

    If they used $1.6M of that to double Robertson’s salary ($1.6M to $3.2M) and $3.9M of that to sign Jose Valverde to be the seventh inning man for a year, they’d still have $35.5M – 5.5M = $30M to play with.

  4. Mariano is special. He has less ego problems than a lot of players, but I know he wants to get a career ending trip around the league to say goodbye to all opponents and opposing fans. I think he will come back just to get a standing O at Fenway if he appears in the final away game there. He deserves a send off tour, not just Mariano day at the Stadium. A farewell tour. I put down 7 mil….he will be worth that, as that is a token….cuz if ita a matter of worth, there is no number.

  5. $350K per save gets him $17.5MM for a 50 save season. That would motivate him financially but also remove the Clemens/Pettitte issue of wanting to skip April/May. The Yankees would be thrilled with to pay him $17MM or $18MM as it would mean they had a guy closing out 50-55 games. It probably makes TOO much sense to work