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Yankees Sign Mariano Rivera To 1-Year Contract

Mariano Rivera, perhaps the most dominant closer in baseball history, finalized a one-year deal with the New York Yankees reportedly worth a guaranteed $10 million with incentives that could drive his paycheck close to the $15 million he was paid last year if, at 43 years old, he can stay healthy all season.

Rivera torn the ACL in his right knee on May 3 in Kansas City, cutting short his season after just nine appearances. He was carted off the field.

“Like I’ve been saying, I didn’t want to go out like that,” Rivera said in a statement released by the team. “I didn’t want that to be the last image.”

To make room for Rivera on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated Jayson Nix  for assignment.

In Rivera’s absence last season, Rafael Soriano stepped in and saved 42 games in 46 opportunities. But Soriano opted out of the final year of his contract and is now a free agent, leaving the Yankees with one option: The man who has saved more games (608) than any closer in the history of baseball and a pitcher widely considered to be the best at his job in the history of the game.

Likewise, Rivera had made it clear that he had no interest in pitching for any other team but the Yankees, for whom he has pitched his entire 17-year major league career.

Last spring training, he had dropped broad hints that 2012 would be his final season, but the day after his injury, he stated definitively that he would attempt a comeback for 2013.

“But it wasn’t an easy decision because there’s more than just baseball with me,” Rivera said. “I have to consider my family and the church, too. But I feel like we have a great group of guys and a team that can compete for a championship. I’m not just coming back to play. I’m coming back to win.”

Before last season, Rivera had strung together four straight seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA, and his career ERA of 2.21 is the second-lowest in baseball history among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched since the stat became official in 1913.

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