Source: Yanks 'hopeful' to sign Mo this week
A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Yankees are "hopeful" to sign Mariano Rivera before the Winter Meetings, which start next Monday in Nashville.
With Andy Pettitte about to sign a new contract for nearly $11 million, the Yankees are aiming to finish Rivera's new contract soon so they can focus fully on figuring out right field and catcher. Rivera, who turns 43 on Thursday, made $15 million last year. He did not finish the season after tearing ligaments in his right knee in May.
Rivera has already informed Yankees general manager Brian Cashman that he plans on returning. Cashman and Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, have been discussing the parameters of a new deal. Rivera is expected to sign a one-year contract in what could be the final season of his career.
At catcher, the Yankees' first choice is Russell Martin, but thus far the two sides are way apart. The Yankees are willing to give Martin, 29, a multiyear contract to return. A source said that Martin's initial asking price was four years and $9-10 million per season.
A source said the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox have all shown interest in Martin. Martin's agent, Matt Colleran, said Monday that Martin has visited multiple cities to feel out his comfort level. Colleran declined to say which teams.
Besides catcher, the Yankees also must figure out right field for next season. Nick Swisher is not expected to return. Ichiro Suzuki's agent told the New York Post that Ichiro's first choice is to return to the Yankees. Ichiro could be the Yankees' right fielder with Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner holding down the other two outfield spots. The Yankees have discussed moving Granderson to left and Gardner to center.
In the midst of each of his negotiations, Cashman is trying to restructure the team's payroll to drop under $189 million by 2014. This has been mandated by owner Hal Steinbrenner to take advantage of opportunities to reduce luxury tax payments in the new collective bargaining agreement.
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