Mariano Rivera may have told New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman that he intends on pitching in 2013, but that still doesn't change the fact that he is currently without a contract for next season.
There's nearly no chance that he plays anywhere else, though, so it's really only a matter of the Yankees and Rivera agreeing on a deal.
According to CBSsports.com's Jon Heyman, that deal could potentially be worth less than the $15 million he earned last season.
The Yankees are expected to ask Rivera to take a significant pay cut from last season. Heyman believes a potential deal could be worth around $10 million, plus performance-based incentives.
At 43 years old, Rivera should be inclined to take this deal.
He's never pitched for anyone but the Yankees, and he has won multiple World Series championships with the team. The only thing stopping Rivera from retirement is his persistence to prove to himself that he can still go out there and pitch.
With that sort of mindset, he need not push for anything more than $10 million.
Rivera is coming off season-ending knee surgery after suffering a nasty torn ACL shagging pre-game fly balls at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium earlier last season. He pitched in just nine games.
While $5 million may not seem like a lot, it could mean the difference between re-signing Ichiro Suzuki or going out there and potentially upgrading with a guy like Torii Hunter. Or, it could be the money needed to sign a potential bullpen piece to strengthen an already deep 'pen.
Rivera is coming back to prove something to himself and to give the fans one last glorious season of watching his mastery in pinstripes. This season will be marveled with awe and congratulations for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer, and there's no doubt in my mind that the two sides will work out a deal.
The only question is, how much will it be worth?
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