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Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time, there's no doubting that. 44 saves and a 1.91 ERA this past year also help, in addition, Rivera is the all-time saves leader.
What Rivera isn't going to be is the best closer of 2012, and for a couple of reasons.
First, the man is 42 years old. That's pretty old for a closer, in fact, he's the oldest closer of the 30.
Second, at 42, Rivera should start slowing down. He's not invincible, and he's eventually going to have to break down, so odds are 2012 starts his descent.
Third, there is the chance he gets hurt this year, by which chance he will be replaced by Rafael Soriano. Although it's not likely to happen, Rivera should start worrying about his health.
I don't harbor any hatred towards Rivera, and I most certainly think he is the greatest closer of all time, however, it's going to take a 45-save season to convince me he's not on the decline.
Nonetheless, Rivera will have a good year. He has an excellent supporting cast behind him, and doesn't have to worry about losing leads. He'll be great, but not the best this year.