posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 11:38 AM
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera remains hopeful a deal on a three-year contract extension can be completed before the team leaves for Japan next
Fernando Cuza, Rivera's agent, and New York general manager Brian Cashman met for three hours Friday. Cuza was believed to have made a $33 million,
three-year proposal. The Yankees are thought to be looking at a two-year deal with a team or vesting option for the third season.
"We made an offer to the Yankees and I think it's a fair offer," Rivera said before Friday night's game against Detroit. "They're talking back and
forth. We want to do it as easy as possible."
Cashman said he would have nothing to announce Friday night, but planned to talk again by phone with Cuza.
"It's entered a stage where we're either going to get something done or we're not," Cashman said. "I understand their issues and they understand our
issues. It's time for both sides to make a decision one way or the other."
Rivera is hopeful the negotiations can be completed before the Yankees depart Thursday for a season opening two-game series March 30-31 in Tokyo
against Tampa Bay.
"I think so, yes," he said. "Hopefully they will."
The Yankees career saves leader is in the final season of a $39.99 million, four-year contract and would like to work out an extension with Yankees
that runs through 2007.
Rivera again said he will not talk about an extension once the regular season begins.
"We have to shut off talks," Rivera said. "I have to concentrate on the season."
Cashman agreed with Rivera's position.
"There's no doubt it will get done or not get done before the season starts," Cashman said.
Rivera, 34, is coming off another stellar season, going 5-2 with a career-low 1.66 ERA. He had 40 saves in 46 chances, increasing his career total to
283 -- all after missing the first 25 games because of a groin injury.