Last night before game time, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was shagging fly balls in the outfield like he has been doing for his entire career. He does it to keep in shape, the 42-year-old closer says. Last night however shagging fly balls seemed to be detrimental to his health instead of keeping him healthy. He fell on the warning track in Kaufman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, and grabbed his leg in pain. Much like Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert did last weekend except those two are in their early 20’s no their early 40’s. Rivera went in for an MRI last night which revealed a torn ACL. A huge blow was taken to the Yankee bullpen whom had Rivera cemented in the closer spot for years and is arguably the greatest closer Major League Baseball has ever witnessed.
Rivera was interviewed earlier today with tears in his eyes. It isn’t known whether or not he will return this year or at all. I know that all Yankee fans are hoping for a smooth recovery as this is not the way they envisioned one of the greatest Yankees of all time to go out. I’m no Yankee fan, actually I’m quite the opposite, I’m a Mets fan. That being said though, I’m not your typical Mets fan who hates the Yankees. I don’t boo Jeter when he steps to the plate against the Mets. Jeter is too great a player and person for me to be disrespectful in that aspect. I won’t say he “Jeter Sucks!!!”, because quite frankly that’s far from the truth. As for Mariano Rivera, there is no denying that he is probably the greatest closer to ever record a save. His postseason resume speaks volumes of his work and his adjusted ERA over the last 100 years with at least 1000 inning pitched ranks 1st all-time. The two pitchers he is ahead are Pedro Martinez and Walter Johnson, not too shabby of company.
SO what does this mean for the Yankees? Joe Girardi said that he’s leaning towards Robertson taking over Rivera’s role and using Soriano as the setup man, but he said he’ll have to sleep on it. Soriano has some closing experience and Robertson does not. Robertson has been one of the better bullpen arms in the past 2 years and probably deserves that role, but I don’t think it would be wise to rush him into it. Plus the Yankees paid Soriano $35 million so they might as well get some good use out of him. After that the Yankees bullpen seems to be wearing thin because they also lost Joba Chamberlain earlier in the year. The Yankee pitching rotation besides C.C. Sabathia has been all but consistent. Ivan Nova is probably their second best pitcher, but he’s young and like all young players can be inconsistent. Michael Pineda was traded for catching prospect Jesus Montero to help bolster the rotation, but is out for the season with an injury. If you don’t think the Yankees rotation is thin, the Yankees signed Andy Pettitte who hasn’t pitched in two years to help them. That right there is a sign that they need some rotation help and who knows how he will perform when he comes back. The Yankees are struggling right now as far as Yankee standards go and the loss of Mariano Rivera doesn’t help.
If you are a baseball fan, no matter what team you root for, you want to see Mariano Rivera go out on his own terms. Not due to injury, especially not one that wasn’t sustained during an actual game. I get the sense from seeing Mo speak that he might be done. He has had a great career no doubt, but I envisioned him leaving on his own two feet. He deserves that one last standing ovation, standing on the pitcher’s mound, dawning a Yankee uniform. Mo is 42-years-old and a speedy recovery and rehabilitation are not likely although, if he wants to make a return I’m sure he will work as hard as he can to make it back and throw one last cutter like nobody else has. Whatever happens I’m glad I got to see him pitch and I hope we all get to see him on the mound one last time before he calls it a career, a Hall of Fame one at that.