Mariano Rivera‘s final season has been a farewell tour for the ages, with teams around the league putting on unique tributes for No. 42, but there’s one man in pinstripes who doesn’t think it’s time for Rivera to hang up his cleats quite yet.
Manager Joe Girardi believes that the 43-year-old closer would be just as dominant if he were to return for another season or two, and through discussions he plans to have with him this season, he hopes to convince Rivera to reconsider his retirement, Girardi told ESPNNewYork.com
“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t,” Girardi said. “He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do.”
Rivera announced his retirement plans during spring training, and although he has shown no signs of having a change of heart about leaving the game, Girardi isn’t ruling a comeback out.
“I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason,” Girardi said, “and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, ‘Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.’”
The hardest part in returning may be for Rivera to face all of the teams who have given him such heartfelt goodbyes, but the Yankees manager had an answer to circumvent that obstacle, as well.
“Well, I would tell him there’s probably three National League cities we’re going to next year that we didn’t go to this year.”