The New York Yankees have officially offered closer Mariano Rivera a 3-year, $45 million contract to remain with the club for presumably the remainder of his career. The 38-year old closer would become the fifth highest paid pitcher in baseball and the highest paid closer by $3.25 million per year (over Billy Wagner). Only Carlos Zambrano ($18.3 million), Barry Zito ($18 million), Jason Schmidt ($15.3 million), and Mike Hampton ($15.1 million) would make more next season. The Yankees option for Andy Pettitte, which he turned down, would have been worth $16 million.
Rivera is widely recognized as one of, if not the, best closers in the history of the game. He is currently third on the all-time save list with 443 and has an additional 34 in the post season. His 0.77 ERA in 117.1 post-season innings is a baseball record.
The $15 million per season seems like a lot of money for a closer who is clearly three years away from finishing his career. Why the Yankees would find it necessary to overpay him by so much is beyond me. Though the Yankees have made it very clear that they would prefer to have Joba Chamberlain as a starter, there are clearly cheaper closer options out there than overpaying Rivera by this much.