Leverage

That has been the missing ingredient for Derek Jeter all along in his negotiations with the Yankees. He has needed another team to come and make a serious run at him.

I mention this because the word is out that Mariano Rivera had that leverage. In fact, he apparently had a lot of leverage. Jon Heyman is reporting that three teams, including the Red Sox, offered Rivera a three-year deal to leave the Yankees. Mo being Mo, turned them down and is going to take two years from the Yankees. If you really needed another reason to love Mo, there it is. I am also fascinated that the Red Sox would offer Rivera three years. I wonder what Mr. Papelbon thinks about that? I am amazed that any team, let alone three, would offer a 41-year old a three-year deal.

For the Yankees, this deal is one more year than I would have liked, but it is obvious they didn’t have a choice if other teams were offering three. The problem is going to be the balance Joe Girardi will need to strike between keeping Rivera fresh and blowing out his bullpen. To avoid that, the Yankees should seriously rethink the way they use Joba. Assuming he pitches up to his capabilities, the Yankees should look for 100 or so innings of relief from him. If they use him like the 1996 Rivera they would go a long way to solving the problem of the bullpen wearing out.

I’ll worry about that the another day. For now, I am going to enjoy the fact that my favorite player is back where he belongs.

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One other rumor Heyman reported is that the Yankees almost swapped Cervelli to LA for Russell Martin. With Martin making $5 million in 2010 and heading to arbitration again, I would have hated that move and I am glad the Yankees avoided it. Cervelli regressed as the season went along, but he still got on base at a .360 clip. That’s good value for a guy making the major league minimum.