As befitting an aging king preparing to abdicate his throne, Rivera -- according to a source with intimate knowledge of the negotiations -- chose his own successor.Very interesting. I guess Mo saw the same problems with this bullpen as most of us did and didn't want to spend next season getting 4 and 5 out saves. A smart move considering he's now 41-years-old and doesn't need any unnecessary wear and tear on that arm of his.
He chose Rafael Soriano. More importantly, he convinced his bosses to choose Soriano.
And just like that, a team with huge holes in both its starting rotation and bullpen comes up with a waterproof patch. Suddenly, a question mark becomes an exclamation point. A shaky bullpen becomes one of the best in the league.
And without Mariano going to bat for Soriano, giving him the vote of confidence the Yankees needed to hear and agreeing to take him under his wing, to groom him for the most difficult succession since Larry Holmes tried to follow Muhammad Ali, maybe it doesn't happen at all.
According to the source, who insisted upon anonymity because he is not authorized to speak until Soriano passes his physical and the deal is official, Rivera played no small role in that.
In fact, it appears that he played a huge role. "Mariano knows this kid very well,'' the source said. "All those issues the Yankees were concerned with came up in the negotiations, but Mariano spoke to Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner and convinced [them] that he had matured and was worth getting. He told them he would look after the kid as a Yankee, bring him along so that in two years, he'll be ready to close for them.''
Also, to those of you out there complaining about the money, please stop acting as if you're the one spending it. Sure, it's a lot of money for a setup man, there's no denying that. But the bottom line is the move makes the Yankees a better baseball team, and when your pockets are as deep as the Yankees' are, that's all that matters. Like Andrew Marchand said last night, this contract won't stop the Yankees from doing anything.