The big news in Yankee Universe today is that Mariano Rivera has informed General Manager Brian Cashman that he wants to come back and pitch in 2013.
This news comes just days after Rafael Soriano informed the team he is opting out of the last year of his contract to test the free agent market.
Rivera, as many know, tore the anterior cruciate ligament, or better known as his ACL, in his right knee while chasing a fly ball during batting practice back in early May. Almost immediately after the injury, Rivera declared he would come back and pitch in 2013 putting all Yankee fans at ease. That is until recently, after the series with the Detroit Tigers where the Yanks were swept. All of a sudden reports came out he needed time to contemplate his future coupled with Soriano opting out, the Yankee bullpen was looking to be more and more in trouble.
608, the number of saves Rivera has, will always be the first thing people mention with Mo and rightly so. It’s the most saves in Major League history. But it’s the constancy that is Rivera’s most impressive feat. Since becoming the Yankee closer in 1997, he saved less then 30 games only once in 2002. Rivera, in his 18 year career, has struck out 1119 major league hitters, and in that same span, he has only walked 277 men, giving him a strike out per walk ratio of over 4 and these are just his regular season numbers.
Rivera’s dominance in the postseason has been unmatched in history. He has an 8-1 record with 42 saves. In 141 innings, he’s struck out 110 batters while only walking 21.
The stability and calming affect Rivera has on the team can’t be understated. When the song “Enter Sandman” by Metallica booms through the PA system at Yankee Stadium everyone in the stadium knows the game is all but officially over.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the Yankees right now with Swisher, Soriano and Kuroda not certain to come back, it is big news to have the greatest closer in baseball history coming back to the Bronx.