Putting Jeter Aside, What About Mo?

Somehow, lost in all the chatter about what Jeter wants and what Jeter will get, hardly anybody is talking about signing Mo. Yes, Hal or Cashman or both have “reached out” to his agent, but let’s focus, people: The Yankees are not the Yankees without Mariano Rivera.
You can talk about Jeter’s iconic status 24/7, but there wouldn’t be all those championships without Mo, plain and simple. And, unlike Jeter, he did not have a “down” year. He had his usual bumps during the season, but he was mostly as lights out as ever and the one constant in the pen.
How many years should he get on the new contract? As many as he wants. He’s not the type of player who will hang on too long and embarrass himself. No worries about having to move him around the infield or DH him, as with Jeter. He’ll just go out and save games until he can’t do it anymore, and I trust him to know when his time is up. 
How much money should he get? As much as he wants. If the Yankees so much as try to nickel and dime him, I’ll get very angry. And I won’t be the only one. 


  1. wetfeet

    I have enjoyed your blog this year, it great to see someone that really loves their team! My RANGERS got to the big show but did not get to lift the trophy, maybe next year!

  2. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Total agreement. As they sing in ‘Damn Yankees’ — “whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.” That’s how I feel about Mo…me and a few million others.
    Now there is, of course, plenty to worry about. A writer named Wallace Mathews on ESPNNewYork.com has written a long piece called “How Much Mo’ of Mo?” or something like that…he compares Mo’s age and projected longevity to his great contemporary closers…and the prognosis ain’t good. In particular, he cites Trevor Hoffman — he is/was that lock- down, lights-out closer for so many years in the NL — and had a great year in ’09 — but the bottom fell out in ’10. People said it became painful to watch. Once you pass 40, 41…that tank is flashing empty, so saith all the scribes. May it NOT be so for Our Mo. But let’s give it a go…

  3. bgalaxy@verizon.net

    i was thinking the same thing when i couldn’t sleep this morning. what if someone throws buckets of money at mo? would he go? i doubt it but it would hurt to see him in another uniform–particularly one with red sox. i assume he will be back but maybe it’s because i can’t bear the alternative.
    the off season is so odd. i miss the yankees like crazy but i enjoy going to bed really early and watching other sports without angst and reading even more than usual. still, it still seems way too long until we see the games again. who will win the cy young just doesn’t grab me the same way as who will win the game

  4. Jane Heller

    Your Rangers did get to the WS, wetfeet. And while they came up short, they showed the world they could compete with the best. Good job!

    Wally Matthews wrote a piece about Jeter yesterday too, Dave, and how the Yankees want three years and he wants a minimum of four – maybe even five or six. The money isn’t an issue, but they’re apart on that aspect and, while I know the deal will get done, I worry. As far as Mo, yes, Trevor Hoffman broke down last year but he’s not Mo, whose smooth, repetitive delivery and the great care he takes of himself should preserve him well. I do not worry about him – not one bit.

    Mo isn’t about the money, Barbara, and he’s not going anywhere else. That’s not to say he isn’t a proud man who wants and deserves to get paid for his services, but I would think he and his agent would be reasonable. That said, the Yankees need to make him a priority and sign him already. Like today. Without him, we don’t have a closer, period.

    I agree about the playoffs, Paul, but I don’t think the Yankees would survive without him in the regular season either. Who’s closing instead? Robertson? Joba? Not happening.

    That’s why I said in the post that the Yankees wouldn’t have won all those championships without him, Jeff. And yes, he’s a gentleman but they’d better sign him or we could see a less gentlemanly side fairly soon.

  5. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    Now we know where the phrase comes from……….
    “MO MONEY, MO MONEY, MO MONEY”. He deserves whatever he can get. He is the ultimate Yankee – in terms of performance, longevity, personality and the way he carries himself. There is no Yankee out there – no, not even Yogi or Jeter – who surpasses him in terms of what he has brought to the pinstripes.

  6. Jane Heller

    I agree with every word, Diane. If they had a closer in waiting, that would be one thing. But there’s nobody. And who would want a replacement? I say they should sign Mo for whatever he wants and then start grooming somebody to take over instead of just waiting for one of the kids to step up.

  7. James Buxton

    How you put a price and a deadline to a God? Mariano Rivera should get all the time he wants and the money he asks. I’m pretty sure he’ll do anything to go on as a Yankee, to retire as the greatest closer the game has ever had and he wants to do it as a Yankee. I know it is difficult being a GM, but there are some things that should not be decided as a business, but with the heart. Mo, The Captain, and Andy are mucho more than stats or rings or contracts, they are the heart and soul of the Yankees, and the reason why they are such a good team, they are Old School, Gentlemen, classy, and they love what they do, not just the $$$.
    Jane, if Brian Cashman gets fired soon, I hope The new boss gives you a call. You´ll be an excellent GM, because, as we all readers of this blog, you Love the Yankees.

  8. Jane Heller

    Thanks, James, but I don’t think I’d make a very good GM. lol. I only know that while getting Cliff Lee is important, the Yankees should have made the guys they already had a priority. Starting pitchers come and go, but there’s only been one Mo and he needs to get signed.

  9. raysrenegade

    The Yankee brass has already sectioned off a huge spot for Rafael Soriano’s name in the complex world of contract negoiations.
    I think Mo should be given an opportunity to retire and play his last game wearng pinstripes, but the “Boss” is no longer in charge or even pulling any secondary strings.
    More and more I think his “Boys” do not have the right stuff to honor and protect those same players their father considered foundations of the Yankee modern legacy.
    Jeter and Mo have to be keystones in that plan, or Soriano will swoop in and take the prize away.
    BTW, Soriano will not sign to be a future closer, he wants the job from the get-go…

    Rays Renegade


  10. Jane Heller

    I don’t think the Yankees are in play for Soriano, Renegade, partly because of what you mentioned: he wants to be a closer now. We already have one and his name is Mariano Rivera. I’m sure he’ll retire in pinstripes, but I can’t understand why he doesn’t seem to be getting attention – at least not that I’m hearing about. It’s as if it’s all about Cliff Lee, Jeter and then Mo.

  11. devilabrit

    There are some players who are the heart and soul of a team, there are some who are the cheerleaders, Mo is the backbone of the Yankees, he is the reason they had a chance to win late or get a walk off.
    They should give him a non-expiring renewable contract that only expires when he wants it too or when his numbers drop off….

    After Mo retires he is the one they could name an award after for closers.


    Phillies Outside

  12. Jane Heller

    Two more years sounds about right, Randy. But I disagree that it’ll get ugly. I may want Mo and Jeter signed right away so they’ll be safely back in the fold and the whole subject will go away, but who knows how long the negotiations will take. There’s no doubt that both will be signed with enough left in the budget for Cliff Lee. Not Crawford or another big money free agent though.

  13. Jane Heller

    LOL on your PR geek-out, blithescribe. I know the feeling, having been in PR for ten years. It’s hard not to analyze these sorts of situations. I think you’re right and Jeter gets more attention simply because he’s Jeter – and because he’s an everyday player who’s become the face of the franchise. Mo quietly goes about his business, but that’s what bothers me; the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. I think he should have their upmost attention because of what he means to the organization, quiet or not. As for Posada, his contract isn’t up so he’s a different story. Anyway, rumor has it everybody expects these negotiations to take awhile so I guess I’d better augur in.

  14. theheirloom

    My take is simple, Jane: The Steinbrenners must sign Mo – if for two more years considering age and ability. There’s no question that’s on the back of Hal’s and Brian Cashman’s minds – aside from the lack of top shelf closers in the market.

    Which begs the question as to who is the real franchise player in The Bronx? Can you save some coin by offing one or the other? What can the Yanks do with the money they save? Go after Crawford or Cliff Lee? Then, what kind of loss/gain would you have by offing either Mo or Jeter for Lee or Crawford?

    One thing I want to know would be the kind impact a Mo-less or Jeter-less Yankees will have on you and the rest of the faithful?

    I’m not watching this – this could get ugly.

    – Randy

  15. blithescribe

    This is completely an occupational bias but I think it’s PR related and driven by the external media. The Yankees front office would probably love to keep everything quiet until all decisions are final, as any team, and in truth any corporation, would. But they can’t keep quiet about Cliff Lee because of all of the media interest in anything Cliff Lee related. Keeping quiet in the face of so much discussion about what other teams are doing to land Lee might give Yankee fans the wrong idea – that their team isn’t doing enough, especially if it later turns out that Lee does sign with someone else.
    I think it’s a similar situation with Derek Jeter. Jeter doesn’t seem to invite the media attention at all, but he’s got it regardless. Once the press starts in on his impending contract negotiations, the Yankees front office has to respond in some way or they look too indifferent to the fans. Mo is a really quiet guy and though the media loves him, for whatever reason they just don’t seem to be as obsessed with his every move they way they are with Jeter and some of the other players. I think the Yankees view re-signing Mo as a foregone conclusion and assume that the fans understand this. So if the media isn’t going to force the story, the Yankees front office won’t either.

    I notice that they handled things very differently with Posada, who apparently is not a foregone conclusion, almost trying to cushion the blow for fans with some very respectfully worded, well placed quotes that seemed spontaneously offered by the Yankees rather than compelled by the media (though my interpretation of who drove this story could be wrong). Sorry for the long winded response. I tend to “geek out” over marketing/PR puzzles.


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