The bargaining table is a bit crowded these days. Mariano Rivera and his agent Fern Cuza are sitting across from Brian Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner, but there are also 29 other owners looking over their shoulders.
According to reports, the Yankees have been “admonished” and “chastised” by baseball executives for offering Rivera the three-year, $45 million deal that is currently on the table.
Rivera and Cuza are clearly outnumbered because the Major League Baseball Players Association seems unwilling to challenge the owners on anything from leaking players’ personal medical records to this type of outright collusion.
That’s really too bad because Rivera’s contract isn’t just about what he’ll be paid for the next three years or four years. It’s about what Francisco Cordero will be paid this year, too. And it’s about what Francisco Rodriguez might be paid next year. It’s also about Jonathan Papelbon and Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz and Joakim Soria and Manny Corpus and every other reliever that trudges in from the bullpen when they can barely lift their arm.
This is about economic justice for players that work just as hard and endure just as much, but may never be the greatest closer in baseball. Rivera owes them this fight.
There’s talk that Rivera is unhappy with the Yankees for not adding another year to their offer, but he has to understand that he’s not dealing with the Yankees anymore. This is a negotiation between him and the Baseball Industrial Complex.
The richest men in the room have laid down the law and they expect the son of the Panamanian fisherman to bow. Rivera apparently didn’t get that message and if there is any justice in the world he will deliver one of his own.
Cutter, up and in.