Mariano Rivera had some Yankee fans ready to jump out of their seats in his recent interview with Michael Kay for YES Network’s “CenterStage.”
According to Christian Red of the New York Daily News, when Kay gave the scenario of GM Brian Cashman reaching out to Mo to come back an pitch for the Yankees this year, the answer was not surprising at all. “I can do it, but would I do it?” Rivera said with that smile Yankee fans were so accustomed to. “No. I’m enjoying what I’m doing now.”
This report could not have come at a better time as the New York Yankee bullpen imploded again in a 9-7 loss to the cross town rival New York Mets. With Shawn Kelley hitting the DL, the Yankees thin bullpen became even thinner. Matt Thornton is struggling with a 5.40 ERA making the bridge to closer David Robertson difficult.
Take a step back for a second; what if Mo did come back? The Yankees would not only feel the upgrade at closer (although Robertson has done a great job this year), but they would fix their biggest weakness: 8th inning set up man.
Robertson was lights out in that role the past four years and would push the current duo to the less important role of the 7th inning.
The better decision in my opinion would be to move both Kelley and Thornton out of the set up man role and give Dellin Betances a shot. In 20 innings this year, Betances has a 1.80 ERA to go along with 33 strike outs. Should these stats continue, it will be hard to keep him away from a more prominent role.
Mariano Rivera’s tease brings a lot of “what if” scenarios to mind. Unfortunately, he’s not coming out of retirement any time soon.