How Close Was Mariano Rivera To Signing with the Boston Red Sox?

James Stewart-MeudtCorrespondent IIDecember 17, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 6-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It's been a disappointing offseason for the New York Yankees. Normally a lock to sign the best free agents available, the Yankees whiffed on Cliff Lee, despite having the larger offer. Reliever Kerry Wood then signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, leaving a big hole in the Yankees' bullpen.

It's still only December, so there's plenty of time for the Yankees to make some quality moves to bolster their team for 2011.

There is one move however, which would have turned the Yankees' offseason from "disapointing" to "disaster."

A few weeks ago, the Yankees agreed on a two-year, $30 million deal with the greatest closer in baseball, Mariano Rivera.

Rivera, 41, has played his entire career in the Bronx and no one could envision him playing anywhere else.

But soon after the Yankees announced their deal with Rivera, it was reported that the Boston Red Sox had made an offer to Rivera to come pitch for them in Boston.

While most immediately assumed that their offer was simply to drive up Rivera's price tag, which of course it did, Boston's offer was very real and almost enticed Rivera enough to abandon his ninth-inning post with the Yankees.

When asked about going to Boston, Rivera said, "I was thinking about it...It was a hard decision."

A hard decision!?

Rivera has played his entire career with the Yankees, has won five World Series Championships and holds the major league record for postseason saves (42) and is second only to Trevor Hoffman in regular season saves (559), and when offered a chance to pitch for the Yankees' most hated rival, the Boston Red Sox, Rivera had to think about it to the point where it was actually a difficult decision?

So exactly how close was Rivera to pitching in Boston?

"It was close," Rivera said. "I had to think about it."

As a free agent, Rivera has the right to pitch anywhere he wants. If he is unhappy and wants a change of scenery, that's one thing. But it's impossible to think that Rivera is unhappy with the Yankees.

He didn't say, "I heard their offer and decided I wanted to stay in New York."

He said he thought about it, and it was actually a difficult decision. That's just crazy to think about; Rivera in Red and White, closing out a clinching Game 7 in the 2011 ALCS against the New York Yankees.

Just imagine that. Mariano Rivera gets Derek Jeter looking to send the Red Sox to the World Series.

It's enough to make any Yankees fan throw up their arms and become a Mets fan.

In the end, Rivera of course stayed with the Yankees.

"My heart is here," Rivera said. "My family is here...In the end I don't think I would've been able to do it."

You don't think you'd be able to do it or you love the Yankees and want to stay there?

Apparently, Rivera just loves the $15 million he'll be making in each of the next two seasons.