Monday, April 7, 2008

Interesting Rivera tidbit

Over lunch today, I happened upon Buster's blog from yesterday, comparing another pitcher to Mo Rivera. What made me say "really?" was this (emphasis mine):

Rivera was a mediocre starting prospect in the mid-'90s for the Yankees, needed major arm surgery, and after he returned, the Yankees were thinking about trading him to the Detroit Tigers -- until, quite suddenly, Rivera's velocity jumped from the high 80s to the mid-90s, quite literally in the span of a couple of weeks, and little more than a year later, Rivera was serving as an imperturbable set-up man for John Wetteland.
I can't remember the rumor mill from 15 or so years back and certainly that was mostly pre-Internet days (no MLBtraderumors.com yet), but I found that really wild. Imagine the Yanks without Mo. I can't. Talk about one of the best trades never made, eh?

Also interesting in that one little paragraph is how Rivera's velocity jumped "from the high 80s to the mid-90s" in a few weeks. Just sayin'...how cynical have I become that my first thought was to wonder if anything was taken/given to Mo to give him that boost.

Suffice it to say that Mo is probably the main reason why the Yanks had that incredible mid-/late-90's run (along with Jeter; don't get upset Jeter-philes). Imagine if he wasn't human and hadn't blown the save in '97 to get them to the W.S. and the Game 7 save in 2001....coulda been six straight. Oh well, four in five years was still transcendent!

1 comment:

Nick said...

Yea, I actually first heard that rumor in Joel Sherman's book "Birth of a Dynasty". If I remember correctly, the deal was all but agreed with Detroit for David Wells but out of nowhere Mo started throwing gas. They put the deal on hold to see if the velocity was for real (it obviously was), and sure enough, they kept him. I think Wells then got sent to Cincinnati but I could be wrong about that. Sherman then said that Rivera was almost dealt again in spring training to Seattle the following season for middle infield help since Steinbrenner didn't trust Jeter. Funny how things work out right?