With the tug of staying home with his family and his dedication to his church, I think this will be Mariano Rivera's final season.
Rivera has told Yankees GM Brian Cashman that he will return for 2013. Now, Cashman and Rivera's agent, Fern Cuza, will bang out the final details. My guess is that Rivera will receive a $10 million or $11 million deal with incentives that could push it to around $15 million.
After '13, Rivera, the undisputed king of closers, will likely call it a career. Last week, we were told Rivera was "probably" returning, even though Rivera had informed Cashman he was having second thoughts. Rivera had a chance to remain at home this season, allowing him to spend time with his children in the summer -- something he has basically never been able to do before.
Players have great lives, making gobs of money, playing a kid's game, but it is taxing on family life. They are out of town four months of the year between spring training and road games. When the team is at home, they usually arrive at the ballpark between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They get home between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. During the season, it is not an ideal life for a family.
Rivera, 43 this month, got a glimpse of what retirement will be like. I don't think he was ever that serious about leaving the game on a cart in Kansas City, but I do think he has now experienced life after the demands of a major league schedule are gone.
Mo could come back and be the same old Rivera, and I don't think it would be wise to bet against the greatest closer of all time. Or he may not be the same Rivera, finally regressing to pedestrian levels.
Either way, I think this is it for Mo.
QUESTION: What do you think? Is this Mo's final year?