Someday Mariano Rivera will stop making the ninth inning look easy, stop making best hitters in the world look overmatched. Someday will come. Eventually. Of course, naysayers have been predicting that someday would arrive any day now for the last five or six years.
We know, of course that someday has not arrived yet for the amazing 41-year-old Panamanian born Rivera. He is the best to ever do what he does, and there has never been anyone quite like him.
Name: Mariano Rivera
Date of Birth: Nov. 29, 1969
Contract Status: Signed thru 2012, 2 yrs/$30M
2010 Stats: 3-3, 1.80 ERA, 60 IP, 2.81 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 1.65 BB/9, 1.7 WAR
2010 in Review: Rivera just kept on doing what he does better than anyone else in 2010. He doesn't blow hitters away with 95+ heat any longer, but he hasn't done that for years now. He still places the ball better than anyone else, more often than anyone else. Hitters had a measly .183 average and a .222 BABIP against him, and his WHIP was 0.833, second-lowest of his 16-year career. What he does to hitters is still, most of the time, almost unfair.
The Good: He is still a New York Yankee. The Yankees lost Andy Pettitte and did not get Cliff Lee. But, when they get Rivera the ball they are going to win games. As long as Rivera can keep putting the ball where he wants to put it he will keep on being Rivera.
The Bad: When you find something you let me know. Other than the fact that every year brings the Yankees closer to life without Rivera I have no clue what to say about Rivera that fits this category.
2011 Outlook: I would expect more of the same from Mo. No reason to expect anything different. With Rafael Soriano in front of him you would have to think eighth-inning appearances will be an extreme rarity, so his innings may continue to decline (60 in 2010 was the second-lowest of his career). I doubt the results will be much different, though.