The news that Mariano Rivera could decide to call it quits is almost as distressing as the New York Yankees being swept out of the playoffs.
Rivera vowed to return to the Yankees in 2013 after his unfortunate injury brought his 2012 campaign to an early end. But it seems that Mo may be backing off of that pledge despite the knee apparently responding well to his intense rehab program. Perhaps Mo enjoyed his time away from baseball with his family more than he thought and is leaning toward retirement. Or maybe he planned to retire after the 2012 season anyway (he was hinting at such a move during spring training) and decided to stick to that plan, even though it must sting his pride as an athlete for his career to end on such a note.
As great as Rafael Soriano was this year during the regular season, and he was terrific (I even advocated for an All-Star spot for him), he wasn’t really tested in a save situation in October due to the Yankees inability to secure a lead for their pitchers. He did pitch pretty well in all the tie games, but there will always be doubt about how fully he can fill Mo’s shoes until he proves he can save big games in the playoffs. Plus, Soriano is expected to opt out of his contract and his agent Scott Boras is going to want the moon, especially if he knows Mariano is not coming back and the Yankees have a gaping hole at the closer spot.
But everything revolves around Mariano and whether he wants to play another year of baseball. Who knows what he will decide. He could always pull an Andy Pettitte and come back in a year. Like with Andy, the Yankees would welcome Mo back with open arms.