TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and
Mariano Rivera's agent met Tuesday, talking about a possible deal
that would keep the closer with New York through 2007.
Rivera is heading into the final season of a $39.99 million,
four-year contract. He's eligible for free agency after this season
and would like a three-year extension.
Agent Fernando Cuza and Cashman talked for a while in the lunch
room at Legends Field while the Yankees worked out.
"It was a preliminary discussion," Cashman said. "We did not
extend any offers. It was just a nice, comfortable situation.
"Mo has expressed an interest in staying and we'd like to have
him," he said. "The willingness of both parties is there."
Cashman said he hoped the sides would talk again in about 10
days after Cuza returns from Arizona. Should there be a deal,
Cashman would prefer to complete it before opening day.
"It's hard to predict," he said. "If it works, let's get it
done. If not, let's shut it down. Normally, I don't negotiate
during the season. I have, but I normally don't."
Rivera posted a career-low 1.66 ERA last season and was
successful on 40 of 46 save chances. He was 5-2, and did well after
missing the first 25 games because of a groin injury.
Rivera was the MVP of the AL championship series against Boston.
He earned two saves and then was the winner in Game 7 with three
The Yankees have been Rivera's only team. He made his major
league debut with them in 1995 and has a team-record 283 saves,
becoming a five-time All-Star.
The right-hander with the superb cut fastball has helped the
Yankees win four World Series championships and was MVP of the 1999
sweep over Atlanta and last year's seven-game AL championship
series win over Boston.