Will the Yankees try to hang onto these two Bronx legends? Mariano River and Derek Jeter joined the Yankees at about the same time in 1996. Derek Jeter has rose to become team captain and a place may even be saved for him in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Mariano Rivera has risen to become the top closer in baseball, especially in the post season.
Chances are that the Steinbrenner Brothers will do what takes to keep these two legendary Yankee players in New York. But after a sub par year for Jeter, the Yankees may not offer much in salary, and an over 40 year old Rivera may not be offered too much salary either. There is also a matter of player pride. Both of these players have played their entire careers with the Yankees, a rarity in these days of free agents and high priced contracts. They may be willing to take a pay cut to stay in New York.
Yankee management had few qualms in letting last year’s World Series MVP walk out the door, and even let Joe Torre go. Could the same poor treatment be in store for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera? Jeter has had a tough year, but October has always been his month to shine. The Yankees spent the 2010 season putting together a solid record, yet Jeter only batted around .270 and produced less then his usual over 100 RBI,with only 67 RBI tallied. During the post season his numbers have always been good. Jeter will need prove that he is still capable of performing at the level that he has been known for.
Mariano Rivera will be 41 years old in the upcoming 2011 season. There is no question about whether he can still pitch the high level he is known for. Rivera had a 1.80 ERA for the 2010 season which is about the norm for Mariano Rivera. He picked up 33 saves which is down a few games when compared to other seasons. Expect Rivera to ratchet his pitching up another notch for the playoff 2010 run.
Like Jeter, Rivera’s time shine is in October. No other closer in Major League Baseball history has dominated the post season like Mariano Rivera. Rivera owns an 8-1 record with a 0.74 ERA in the post season. It really comes down to whether Rivera can continue to throw one pitch, his cut fastball. Rivera’s bread and butter pitch,the cut fast ball has shown no sign of waning throughout the past season and he should be able to continue to fulfill the closer role at least though next year, and maybe a few more seasons beyond.