Mariano Rivera is, by far, the greatest closer the game has ever seen. I don't think this comes as a surprise to any of you. Discussing his career accomplishments would probably take a couple thousand words, but I am here to discuss how this impacts fantasy owners for 2013 and beyond.
For 2013, there is no impact on Rivera's fantasy owners, as he is healthy and should put up solid save totals this season. We ranked him as our 5th ranked fantasy closer in our 2013 Consensus Reliever Rankings back in mid-January. I think he should be the same old Mariano Rivera in 2013, saving 35+ games with a low ERA and WHIP.
But, for those of you in auction keeper leagues, you have a decision to make now. How much are you willing to spend on Rivera this season. He went for $46 in my AL-only keeper league last season, but the league includes several Yankee fans, and it is a 4 x 4 league, so the top closers usually bring a heavy price on draft day.
Is $30 too much to bid on him this season? Maybe not. In addition to what you are willing to bid on Rivera, those of you in keeper leagues have to think about who is the next in line to close games for the Yankees beyond 2013. David Robertson? Mark Montgomery? Or, will the team go after one of the 2014 free agent closers? There is a lengthy list of free agent closers to choose from as well:
Knowing the old Yankees, they will sign an established closer via free agency, but there seems to be a sea change occuring in the Yankee front office, where they are being a bit more cost conscious for the first time in many years. That, and teams are realizing with the high volatility of closers, it doesn't pay to sign one to a long term contract.
If they are available in your keeper league drafts this month, bid that extra dollar or two on David Robertson or Mark Montgomery with the chance of drafting a really cheap closer for 2014 and beyond.
For Yankee fan reaction to the Rivera retirement announcement, check out Pinstriped Bible.