This was the first week of baseball’s offseason. The Giants wrapped up a World Series sweep last Sunday, and winter started on Monday. Of course, as always, developments have been slow at this point. A lot of formalities and predictable decision making.
Most important of those early decisions: Mariano Rivera’s decision to return for one more season.
It was a late development this week, with Rivera telling Brian Cashman on Friday that he’d like to pitch next year. Previously this winter, Rivera had indicated that he was considering retirement, but Rivera has now made it clear that he’ll be back, and that helps clarify the Yankees late-inning situation.
A few more highlights from the past week:
• Friday was the deadline to make qualifying offers to free agents, and the Yankees made three of them. Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher are expected to decline, but there’s a chance Hiroki Kuroda could accept his one-year, $13.3-million offer within the next week. If he does, it would likely be the Yankees first major signing of the offseason.
• Of course, before Soriano could get a qualifying offer, he had to opt out of his current deal. He did that on Wednesday, bringing a quiet end to his two-years with the Yankees. On Monday, Swisher, Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Derek Lowe, Pedro Feliciano and Andruw Jones all became free agents.
• The Yankees picked up their options for Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and David Aardsma.
• Cano and Mark Teixeira won Gold Glove awards. It was Teixiera’s fifth and Cano’s second.
• Brian Cashman confirmed plans to keep Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral on the roster and give him another chance to make the team next spring. Cabral’s elbow injury opened a spot for Clay Rapada this year.
• Third baseman Casey McGehee and Rule 5 pick Brad Meyers were both taken off the roster and out of the organization this week.
• There was a report that the Yankees are considering shifting Brett Gardner to center field and Granderson to left field next season.
• The Yankees continued their pitching development shakeup by hiring Gil Patterson as their minor league pitching coordinator and reassigning Nardi Contreras within the organization.
• Former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert is among the candidates on the Pre-Integration Era Hall of Fame ballot. Voting results will be announced at the Winter Meetings next month.
• Former Yankees pitcher Pascual Perez was killed during an apparent home robbery.
• As the East Coast recovered from this week’s storm, the Yankees donated $500,000 and sponsored a blood drive. Major League Baseball and the Players Association pledged $1 million to help with relief.
Associated Press photo