Rivera Still a Yankee

Mariano Rivera has notified the Yankees that he is accepting their three-year, $45 million offer.

Word of Rivera’s signing comes days after the future Hall of Fame closer (career stats: 62-44 record, 2.35 ERA, 443 saves, and an insane 1.05 WHIP in 787 games) returned from a week conducting baseball clinics in the Dominican Republic, leaving the Yankees to wait for his response.

Rivera, who turns 38 on November 29, will become baseball’s highest-paid closer once he passes a physical, earning $15 million per year through the 2010 season. His annual salary by far surpasses the $10.5 million earned across town by the Mets’ Billy Wagner.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke with Rivera last week while Rivera was in the Dominican Republic. According to Girardi, Rivera wanted to stay a Yankee, where he has accumulated 443 saves – all as a Yankee (not to mention Rivera’s 34 postseason saves).

Other players had a comment as well. Said Alex Rodriguez, “I think Mariano is obviously someone that we can’t live without. He’s one of a kind and he’s so unique in what he does for us. He’s such an unbelievable force in our clubhouse. In many ways, he’s the voice for a lot of people in there and he means so much — more so than what he just does on the field. He’s very, very special.”

In 2007, Rivera made 67 relief appearances for the Yankees. During that time, he went 3-4 with a 3.15 ERA. He got off to a rocky start (his ERA on April 28, 2007 was a whopping 12.15, and it didn’t drop below a 4.0 until June 12, 2007) , but settled down near the end of the season, going 2-2 with 2.23 ERA in his last 59 appearances, during which he converted 30 out of 32 save opportunities.

With Rivera agreeing to terms, the Yankees have signed their biggest free agents: Rivera, Jorge Posada, and of course, Alex Rodriguez.

“We’ve got everybody back,” Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner told the Associated Press Monday. “It’s good to have both Jorgie and [Rivera] back.”

This is a pitcher who obviously wants to finish his career as a Yankee. The guy is still one of the most dominant closers in the game (just look at his K:BB ratio; in 2007 it was 6.167). He’s been filthy in the postseason, where his career ERA is a miniscule 0.77. With Rivera back, the Yankees are hoping that they will finally capture a World Series title that has eluded them since 2001.

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~ by mlb2007playoffs on November 20, 2007.

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