There was never as much drama as there was with "Core Four" counterpart Derek Jeter, but Mariano Rivera will be back in the Bronx after agreeing Saturday to a two-year, $30 million contract with the Yankees. The deal will not be formalized until he passes the requisite physical, scheduled to take place either Monday or Tuesday. Rivera said the talks with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman were brief and fruitful.
"I wanted it to go smooth and that's exactly what happened," Rivera said. "I met with Cash, we talked a little bit and a few hours later, it was done." Rivera "appreciated" being courted by the rival Red Sox in the days before he signed a new contract with the Yankees. Dismissing how Boston's overture may have dialed up the rivalry between the American League East powers, Rivera said, "I have to thank God and be grateful for that, that they were thinking of me." The 41-year-old closer raised the likelihood to the New York Daily News that his latest contract with the Yankees will be his last. "I wanted two years," Rivera said. "That will be fine. I think maybe that might be the last two years." While there was nothing particularly revealing in that comment -- Rivera has been conceding the possible end of his durable career seemingly with every new contract he has signed this decade -- Boston's overture to pry him out of the Bronx certainly was new. The Red Sox contacted Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, before negotiations with the Yankees really got going, making a two-year offer before he formally heard the same from Cashman. "They talked to Fern, they were interested," Rivera said. "I really appreciate that. I know there was interest and I respect that. I respect the organization and the front office of the Red Sox. It was respect. The rivalry we have against each other and the tremendous organization. Just take it in consideration, and the Yankees did what they were supposed to do, and that's the end of that." Rivera will start the 2011 season, his 17th, with a career total of 559 saves, second on the all-time list to the 601 of Trevor Hoffman who, at 43, is still considering returning for his 19th season. When he reaches 43, Rivera doesn't anticipate still answering Sandman calls in the ninth inning. "Maybe. I don't know," he said. "I've been saying it since 2000, I think, you know? But I'm glad everything went fine and that everything got done."