Monday, February 12, 2007

Mo Knows Dough. Marty Gets The Axe.

Mariano Rivera's contract will be up following the 2007 season. In what has become a bargain price - particularly when taken in context with the absurd financial explosion of the 2006 offseason - Mariano's $10 million per year salary may take a slight raise in 2008 and beyond. Rivera is too big a professional to make any contractual discussions (or lack thereof) a distraction for the rest of the team, but it would be nice to have his situation resolved before he takes the field April 2nd.
If they want to talk, we're willing to listen," Rivera said Monday following a pre-spring training workout. "But I'm going to bring nothing to the table. I'm just going to focus on what I have to do and see what happens. I have a contract for this year. That's what matters. All I have to do is focus on this season. I just have to worry about being able to help the team as much as I can."

"I know that I have one more year, that is this year," Rivera said. "After that year, I don't know what's going to happen. Definitely I want to finish my career here, but if they don't give the respect that I deserve, I have to move on.

"The Yankees always give me the respect," Rivera added. "When the time comes, if they want me back, they want me back. Otherwise, I'm not going to sit in my house crying. I have to move on."

There is little doubt that Mariano will be shown the respect he deserves. The Sandman sure simplifies things for Yankee management. Basically, as long as the contract offer is reasonable, the team will retain one of the top-10 individual weapons in baseball history. Don't forget there are relievers not near Mariano's equal who boast bigger contracts. Ahem, Billy Wagner.

General Manager A.J. Smith and the San Diego Chargers fired recently extended head coach Marty Schottenheimer. Team president Dean Spanos expressed to ESPN football "guru" Chris Mortensen that serious differences between the head coach and the GM incited the move.
"Our fans deserve to know what changed for me over the last month," Spanos said in the statement. "When I decided to move ahead with Marty Schottenheimer in mid-January, I did so with the expectation that the core of his fine coaching staff would remain intact. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case, and the process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager. In short, this entire process over the last month convinced me beyond any doubt that I had to act to change this untenable situation and create an environment where everyone at Charger Park would be pulling in the same direction and working at a championship level."
As of right now, the Chargers have absolutely no coaching staff in place for the upcoming season. With the firing of Schottenheimer, the exodus of Cam Cameron (and countless assistants) some creative maneuvers from Smith will be required should the Chargers again challenge for AFC superiority.

No word on which young promising athlete ex-wife Ana currently has her tentacles wrapped around, but Kris Benson has been officially deactivated for the 2007 season. An MRI exam revealed a torn rotator-cuff, which means another swell year for the Orioles RHP.

Matsuzaka arrived in Tampa today, sending a typically boring airport into a Beatles-type frenzy.

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