New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has said that he’ll retire at the end of this season. That would make it 19 years of MLB service for the All-Time closer. My question is, why not make it an even 20?
Rivera wants to win one more World Series with the Yankees this year before he calls it quits. However, if they don’t win, I think there’s a good chance he’ll stick around for another year. The 43-year-old hasn’t shown any signs of aging, nor has last year’s ACL tear slowed him down. Rivera is leading the league lead in saves this year, despite being 19 years older than second place holder Addison Reed.
Last year’s injury was probably the only indication that Rivera is even mortal. Some thought that the tear might’ve been the end of his illustrious career, but Rivera’s proved critics wrong so far. He hasn’t lost much velocity on his fastball, if any, and his cutter is as deadly as it’s ever been.
I think that it all depends on the Yankees’ performance this year. It seems to me that Rivera wants to go out on top, something like what Ray Lewis did with the Baltimore Ravens this past year. Lewis’ impending retirement gave the team a strong motivation to go all the way, a sort of “win it for Ray” mentality.
I think Rivera is trying for a similar outcome here. Aside from Derek Jeter, he’s the longest tenured player on the team, and his teammates (and everyone around the league) have a great deal of respect for him. If everyone thinks that this is his last run, they’re going to play harder.
However, if the Yankees don’t win it all, don’t be surprised to see Rivera taking the mound again next year.