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Mariano Rivera probably won’t pitch this season … but he could

Jul 10, 2012, 3:02 PM EDT

Mariano Rivera AP

Brian Cashman and everyone with the Yankees has said that Mariano Rivera is out for 2012. Cashman said it as recently as yesterday. But as Joel Sherman reports in the New York Post, at least one person thinks Mo could come back this season: the doctor overseeing his rehab.

Dr. Keith Pyne says that Rivera’s timetable is not up to him, but that give how hard he has worked, how flexible and in shape he was at the time of the surgery and given that it was only a partially torn ACL and not a fully torn ACL, Rivera could very well successfully complete an accelerated timetable in his rehab.

Fun stuff and, yes, if Rivera could come back early it would be a hell of a story.  But it’s also the case that Rafael Soriano has been almost perfect taking his place and the Yankees have a seven game lead in the division, so there’s no need for Rivera to make a superhuman effort to return early.

  1. Jeremy T - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    No reason for the regular season, maybe, but if he’s somehow healthy by October, I don’t think there’s anyone the Yankees would rather have on the mound when it matters most. He’d have to be absolutely 100%, which seems unlikely even with this report, but I could see it happening.

  2. Old Gator - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Eh. What’s one more golden brick in the edifice of his legend anyway?

    • bigharold - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      We hear on the bridge of the Death Star concur.

  3. Jeff J. Snider - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    I could see him pushing hard to come back if he already had his heart set on retiring after this season. Get three or four weeks in this season, plus the postseason, and then call it a career.

    • Jeremy T - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      He’s already said that’s not going to happen, though

  4. number42is1 - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I would like to present this question again

    So my question is, let’s say its Nov 1st, the WS is over and let’s just say, for the sake of this question that the Yankees just won the World Series. Come Nov 1st Soriano has put together a season of 50 saves and 6 Post seasons saves. Knowing that Mo is coming back next season does Soriano choose to opt out 5 days after the WS ends or does he choose to stick around and become the setup man for Mo next year with a few saves here and there and then take over in 2014 (assuming that Mo retires).
    In my opinion I think that he Opts out unless the Yanks can guarantee him some sort of split with Mo (which I cannot see happening). This would also affect Robertson as he would get pushed into the 7th inning role. I’ve spoken to a few folks about this on my train ride and at work and opinions are mixed. I would honestly love to hear yours, as well as the other HBT commentators here.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Depends, he’s got a guaranteed $12M and a possible future role of Yankee closer in place. But, the market for closers is fickle (cf. Madsen, Ryan).

      • number42is1 - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        yea but on the flip side he would for sure have to wait a full yr to get that close role on the Yanks. if he tested the free agency market (assuming the numbers above) he would prob get a 3 or 4 yr deal from another team (Sox probably)

  5. mybrunoblog - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    I suspect if the scenario you presented took place, Soriano would opt out. Remember, by opting out it doesn’t guarantee he would leave the Yankees it only makes him an unrestricted free agent. He could still end up with the Yankees even if he opted out.
    Guess we’ll have to wait and see……

  6. theaxmancometh - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    According to baseball reference he’s got a guaranteed $14m salary next yr, which he would be lucky to make over 2 yrs on the open market. Everybody is realizing its not a good investment to pay big $ to relievers. Papelbon lucked out big time, terrible contract by the Phillies. I think he would be smart to stay in NY & have a good chance to be the Yanks closer in 2014, where he’d probably get more from them than anywhere else.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      I’d amend that to *most* GMs are realizing it’s not a good investment to pay big money to relievers. Are you telling me that if the Dodgers, White Sox, Giants or Tigers just miss the playoffs and decide a craptastic bullpen was a main culprit they wouldn’t come offering a nice deal for him? The marginal cost of opting out is $12.5 million (since he gets $1.5 million either way), and Boras is his agent. I kind of think he could pull the wool over the eyes of somebody like Colletti or Sabean, dazzling them with “his performance has been stellar every time he’s been a full-time closer, because he just has that closer mentality!” and get a three-year, $30 million deal. Yeah, less money in 2013, but he guarantees himself more years without having to risk catastrophic injury or just plain falling apart next season.

      • badintent - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:00 PM

        Just the mention of Boras makes my BP go up 30 points. You already know that he’ll stick it to the Yankees, then A-Rod will tell Rafel where he’s at. where the Yankees are at, and NYC is at. He ain’t going now where, not after last season’s smackdown. He grew up as a man thanks to Mo. Wants to be a winner. He’s man-ed up and doing his job with no excuses.He’s no BSox BS Papsmear..Lovely.

  7. randygnyc - Jul 10, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Although were grateful for his performance so far this year, we will have Robertson, Joba and Mariano all back next year. The Yankees will be happy if Soriano opts out and they shed his salary.

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